Zinc Nutrition – Foods High in Zinc

Oysters - an excellent source of dietary zinc

Oysters - an excellent source of dietary zinc


Data Zone

Classification: Zinc is an essential mineral
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs):
Men: 11 mg
Women: 8 mg
Male youths 14 – 18 years: 11 mg
Female youths 14 -18 years: 9 mg
9 – 13 years old : 8 mg
4 – 8 years old: 5 mg
Best Foods: oysters, beef, fortified cereals
Tolerable Upper Adult Intake Level : 40 mg
Zinc Supplements available as: zinc gluconate, zinc sulfate, and zinc acetate




Beef is an excellent source of zinc

Zinc Nutritional Facts

Dr. Doug Stewart

Zinc is an essential mineral in our bodies.

Ideally, we should eat some zinc every day, because we cannot store it in our bodies.

The recommended dietary allowance of zinc is:

• 11 mg for men
• 8 mg for women

Dietary allowances for all ages are shown in the Data Zone.

We need zinc in our bodies for:

• protein and DNA synthesis
• normal growth and development
• enzyme function
• immune system function
• good reproductive health in males
• wound healing
• our taste and smelling senses

As a dietary supplement, zinc is available in a variety of forms such as:

• zinc gluconate
• zinc sulfate
• zinc acetate

High doses of zinc can be harmful.

For example, excess zinc can reduce the amount of copper our bodies can absorb, causing anemia. (Our bodies need copper to facilitate hemoglobin synthesis.)

You can see a list of foods that are high in zinc by scrolling a little farther down this page.

The list shows the amount of zinc in a standard portion and also the percentage of recommended daily allowance.

Like iron, our bodies absorb zinc more easily from meat than from plant sources.

The reason for this is that plants contain substances which reduce zinc absorption a little – phytates, found in wholegrain bread, legumes, and cereals – and oxalates, found in leafy vegetables – reduce our ability to absorb zinc from food.

Despite this, these foods are still good sources of zinc.

Foods High In Zinc

Food mg of zinc per serving percent of daily value in serving
Oysters, cooked, breaded and fried, 3 ounces 74 mg 493%
Beef chuck roast, braised, 3 ounces 7 mg 47%
Crab, Alaska king, cooked, 3 ounces 6.5 mg 43%
Lamb lean shoulder, braised, 3 ounces 6.2 mg 41%
Duck, domesticated, meat only, cooked, roasted, ½ duck 5.75 mg 38%
Beef patty, broiled, 3 ounces 5.3 mg 35%
Fast foods, cheeseburger; double, regular patty; plain, 1 sandwich 4.3 mg 28%
Breakfast cereal, fortified with 25% of the daily value for zinc, ¾ cup serving 3.8 mg 25%
Lobster, cooked, 3 ounces 3.4 mg 23%
Pork chop, loin, cooked, 3 ounces 2.9 mg 19%
Baked beans, canned, plain or vegetarian, ½ cup 2.9 mg 19%
Chicken, dark meat, cooked, 3 ounces 2.4 mg 16%
Pork, lean, cured, ham, roasted, 3 ounces 2.2 mg 14%
Yogurt, fruit, low fat, 8 ounces 1.7 mg 11%
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce 1.6 mg 11%
Chickpeas, cooked, ½ cup 1.3 mg 9%
Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce 1.2 mg 8%
Pie, pecan, prepared from recipe, 1 piece 1.2 mg 8%
Atlantic sardines, canned in oil, drained solids with bone, 3 ounces 1.1 mg 7%
Oatmeal, instant, plain, prepared with water, 1 packet 1.1 mg 7%
Milk, low-fat or non fat, 1 cup 1 mg 7%
Almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce 0.9 mg 6%
Kidney beans, cooked, ½ cup 0.9 mg 6%
Chicken breast, roasted, skin removed, ½ breast 0.9 mg 6%
Cheese, cheddar or mozzarella, 1 ounce 0.9 mg 6%
Frankfurter, beef, unheated, 1 frank 0.9 mg 6%
Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt, 1 cup 0.7 mg 5%
Peas, green, frozen, cooked, ½ cup 0.5 mg 3%
Flounder or sole, cooked, 3 ounces 0.3 mg 2%


1. Office of Dietary Supplements – Zinc
2. USDA National Nutrient Database – Zinc

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More Nutrition Pages

1. Calcium Foods
2. Iron Foods
3. Magnesium Foods
4. Zinc Foods


This page is for information purposes only. It should not take the place of medical advice.

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