Best Zinc Rich Foods, Fruits and Vegetables For Vegetarians

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

General Physician

7 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Your body cannot store zinc which is why it important to have zinc-rich foods
  • Eating foods high in zinc content will help improve your immune system
  • Legumes, herbs and nuts are some rich sources of zinc to your diet

With the ongoing pandemic, you may have tried to adopt healthy food habits. This is a great step forward! It is crucial for you to keep the importance of balanced diet in mind and ensure that you eat right. To boost your immune system during this pandemic and stay safe from infections, eating zinc rich foods zinc helps a lot. 

Zinc is a mineral that plays an essential role by activating around 100 enzymes in your body. There are several other vital functions of zinc such as:

  • Helping in healing wounds
  • Aiding in cell growth and division
  • Synthesizing DNA and proteins
  • Helping in the development and normal growth of fetus
  • Preventing the formation of acne

Unlike proteins, your body cannot store zinc, making it vital that you eat foods high in zinc regularly. Here are a few zinc rich foods that can help you ward off infections by boosting your immunity.


Legumes like lentils, beans and chickpeas are some zinc rich foods that can help you reach your daily intake needs. Around 100 grams of cooked legumes contain approximately 12% of the daily recommended intake. But legumes contain phytates that may not allow your body to absorb zinc and other minerals. You can reduce their effects by processing the legumes you eat. You can either soak, ferment, heat, or sprout them to increase your body’s absorption of zinc [1]. 

Additional Read: Food for Strong Immune SystemRecommended Zinc intake for Diet infographics


Cashews are one of the best nuts high in zinc. They offer you a great way to boost your zinc intake as 28 grams contain around 15% of your daily value. Apart from cashews you can also eat peanuts, almonds, or pine nuts. Other than giving you zinc, these nuts also reduce your risk of diseases like cancer, heart conditions and diabetes [2].

Seeds like hemp, sesame, pumpkin, squash, and flax are also some zinc-rich seeds that you can have. About 30 grams of hemp seeds contain 43% and 31% of the daily recommended intake for women and men respectively. These seeds are also known for health benefits like lowering blood pressure and controlling cholesterol. You can add them into your diet by putting them in salads, yogurts or soups.

Zinc Rich Vegetables and Zinc Rich Fruits

If you do not eat meat, adding zinc-rich vegetable and fruits to your diet is a good way to increase your intake. Though most vegetables are a poor source of zinc, potatoes and green beans contain a good amount. The zinc content in potatoes is approximately 1% and in green beans it is approximately 3% of the daily recommended value. 

Avocados, pomegranates, guavas, apricots, peaches and blueberries are some zinc-rich fruits that you can include in your diet. One cup of these can provide approximately 12% of the daily recommended intake. Having a diet rich in vegetables and fruits will also reduce your risk of certain chronic conditions.

Herbs as Oregano and Thyme

Oregano is one of the richest sources of zinc when it comes to herbs. It provides around 33% of the daily recommended zinc intake. Thyme and chervil are also some herbs high in zinc. They provide approximately 16 and 12% of the daily intake. Adding herbs to your diet may also help you prevent and manage heart conditions and type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Additional Read: Basil Leaves Health Benefits

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is a zinc-rich food that also comes with its own benefits and disadvantages. A 100-gram chocolate bar with 70-85% of dark chocolate will give you around 30% of your daily recommended intake of zinc. However, this amount of chocolate also contains 600 calories. So, be mindful about how much you have! Keep in mind that dark chocolate with 50-70% of cocoa may help lower blood pressure, especially in people with hypertension. It can also increase the HDLs and decrease the LDLs present in your body [3].


Shellfish is not only one of the best sources of zinc, but also has significantly lower calories. Oysters, in particular, are one of the richest sources of zinc. About 6 medium oysters may provide around 290% of the daily recommended intake. Crabs and shrimps may provide 69 and 14% of the recommended intake respectively. Being low in calories and high in protein rich, shellfish also help in promoting the health of your immune system, heart, and brain.

Include Meat in Diet

Meat is one of the zinc-rich foods you should not miss eating if you are a lover of non-vegetarian dishes. While zinc-rich vegetables and fruits provide an adequate amount of zinc, meat is also loaded with this essential mineral. Be it lamb, beef, or pork; zinc is present abundantly in these meats. However, ensure that your diet contains a mix of vegetables, fruits, and meat so that you have meat in moderate amounts.

Best Zinc Rich Foods-51


Whether fried, scrambled, poached or as an omelet, having eggs regularly ensures that your recommended daily zinc intake is achieved. One large egg has approximately 5% DV of zinc. Apart from zinc, egg also contains other nutrients like selenium and B vitamins. With so many vital nutrients in eggs, include them in your daily meals alongside zinc-rich vegetables and zinc-rich fruits.

Add Whole Grains

You’ll be surprised to know that whole grains like oats, quinoa, and wheat contain a moderate amount of zinc. Though you cannot consider whole grains as the main source of zinc, you can have them in your meals along with zinc-rich fruits and vegetables. The only concern here is your body may not be able to absorb zinc because of phytates. The way you can make the most of zinc in this food is to soak them before cooking. You can also ferment or sprout them for better health and higher zinc absorption!


If you are a seafood lover, oysters are one of the best zinc-rich foods you must have. Oysters contain zinc minerals in large quantities along with other essential nutrients like selenium and vitamin B12. If you want to build your immunity, cook oysters and have them regularly. A raw oyster contains approximately 5.5mg of zinc. No wonder nutritionists suggest including oysters in our diet!


If you want to have low-calorie vegetables rich in zinc, mushrooms are one of the best options for you. A cup of mushrooms, chopped raw, provides around 0.36mg of zinc. Add mushrooms grilled or stir-fried in your rice, sandwiches, soups, or salad, and keep your calories low while you make your meal more nutritious.

Dairy Products

Milk and yogurt are packed with calcium that helps strengthen your bones and muscles. But did you know that dairy products are zinc-rich foods too? A cup of low-fat yogurt provides 2.2mg of zinc, and a cup of low-fat milk contains 1.05mg of zinc. Make sure to include low-fat dairy products in your meals to meet recommended zinc levels.

Eat Ricotta Cheese

Amongst different cheese varieties, ricotta is one of the healthiest varieties as it is rich in micronutrients like zinc and healthy fatty acids. Very similar to Indian paneer, you can eat ricotta cheese regularly due to its low sodium content. Half a cup of ricotta contains 1.4mg of zinc. Increase your zinc levels by including zinc-rich foods like ricotta.

Now that you are familiar with the benefits of zinc-rich foods, do include them in your daily meals. Another way to take zinc is by taking multivitamins like Z Becosules capsules. They contain all essential micronutrients like vitamin C, B complex and zinc. 

The best way to go about adding zinc and other immunity boosting foods in your diet is to go for nutrition therapy. For this, you can connect with top nutrition experts on Bajaj Finserv Health. If you are unable to meet them in person, book an online doctor consultation and resolve all your queries from the comfort of your home. This way you can add zinc-rich foods to your diet with the right expert advice!

Published on 25 Jan 2022Last updated on 5 Apr 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the foods rich in zinc. Eating these zinc-rich foods regularly can boost your immunity. • Oysters • Dairy products • Poultry • Beans • Crab • Lobsters • Nuts • Pumpkin seeds • Avocados • Eggs • Spinach • Lentils • Hemp seeds

It is vital for your body to get the desired amounts of essential nutrients. While macronutrients can be obtained in plenty, it remains a challenge to provide sufficient micronutrients to your body. If you are a vegan, this becomes even more difficult. Here are a few zinc-rich vegetables you should include in your meals. • Garlic • Mushrooms • Okra • Zucchini • Broccoli • Spinach

Zinc is an essential nutrient responsible for the production of many enzymes. So, make sure that your body is getting a sufficient amount. Among zinc-rich fruits, avocadoes, pomegranates, and blackberries contain high quantities of zinc. Around 100g of avocado contains 0.6mg of zinc, while a 100g of pomegranate has 0.4mg of zinc.

Zinc is an essential mineral that can heal your wounds quickly. Apart from improving your immune mechanism and metabolism, zinc promotes good vision. It also helps you reduce acne and inflammation in the body. Overall, adequate zinc levels help in cell division and growth, tasting and smell, and the production of protein.

Zinc is a micronutrient, but it plays an important role in various chemical reactions. From helping cells grow to build proteins, zinc is necessary during adolescence, pregnancy, and childhood. Zinc is also involved in improving your sense of smell and taste.



Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rajkumar Vinod Desai

, MBBS 1


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