23 High Zinc Foods for Vegans and Vegetarians

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN

Zinc is an essential nutrient required by the body for creating over 300 enzymes, and it is the most abundant metal in the body after iron.

Health benefits of zinc includes enhanced immune function, reductions of the common cold, and faster wound healing. Beyond this, zinc is vital for the proper functioning of the human body in general. Zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss, impotence, diarrhea, delayed wound healing, abnormal taste, and mental fatigue.

Vegans and vegetarians need to be especially aware of zinc since zinc availability is lower in plant foods than animal foods. Further, the amount of zinc found in vegetables and other plant foods can vary greatly depending on how much zinc is in the soil where they were grown.

Do phytates harm zinc absorption?

While phytates, which are present in whole-grain breads, cereals, legumes, and other foods do somewhat inhibit absorption of zinc, these foods are still a good source of zinc. Vegans and vegetarians should be aware of this and aim to consume 200% of the DV to compensate for the bioavailability of zinc.

Vegan and vegetarian sources of zinc include wheat germ, fortified cereals, beans and legumes, seeds, nuts, oatmeal, tofu, spinach, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, and zucchini. The daily value for zinc is 15mg per day. Below are 23 vegan and vegetarians foods high in zinc, for more, see the extended list of less common foods high in zinc.


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What in a field

1. Toasted Wheat Germ - 18.9mg (125% DV) per cup (113g)

4.7mg (32% DV) in 1 oz (28g)
16.7mg (111% DV) in 100 grams
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Cereal

2. Fortified Cereals - 15mg (100% DV) in 3/4 cup (29g)

51.7mg (345% DV) in 100 grams

Full list of 300 cereals high in zinc.
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Soybeans on a plate

3. Dry Roasted Soybeans - 4.5mg (30% DV) per cup (93g)

4.8mg (32% DV) in 100 grams

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Hemp Seeds

4. Hemp Seeds - 3mg (20% DV) in 3 tbsp (30g)

9.9mg (66% DV) in 100 grams

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Squash Seeds

5. Pumpkin and Squash Seeds - 2.9mg (20% DV) in 1 oz (85 seeds) (28g)

6.6mg (44% DV) per cup (64g)
10.3mg (69% DV) in 100 grams
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Chickpeas

6. Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans, Bengal Gram) - 2.5mg (16% DV) per cup (164g)

1.5mg (10% DV) in 100 grams

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A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries

7. Oatmeal - 2.3mg (16% DV) per cup (234g)

1mg (7% DV) in 100 grams

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A block of tofu

8. Tofu (Hard) - 2.1mg (13% DV) in 1/4 block (122g)

1.7mg (11% DV) in 100 grams

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Lima Beans

9. Lima Beans - 1.9mg (13% DV) per cup (188g)

1mg (7% DV) in 100 grams

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Kidney Beans

10. Kidney Beans - 1.9mg (12% DV) per cup (177g)

1.1mg (7% DV) in 100 grams

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Pine Nuts

11. Pine Nuts - 1.8mg (12% DV) in 1 oz (167 kernels) (28g)

8.8mg (58% DV) per cup (135g)
6.5mg (43% DV) in 100 grams
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Cashews

12. Cashew Nuts - 1.6mg (11% DV) in 1 oz (28g)

7.7mg (51% DV) per cup (137g)
5.6mg (37% DV) in 100 grams
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Spinach Leaves

13. Spinach - 1.4mg (9% DV) per cup (180g)

0.8mg (5% DV) in 100 grams

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White Button Mushrooms

14. White Button Mushrooms - 1.4mg (9% DV) per cup pieces (156g)

0.1mg (1% DV) in 1 mushroom (12g)
0.9mg (6% DV) in 100 grams
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Pecans

15. Pecans - 1.4mg (10% DV) in 1 oz (28g)

5.1mg (34% DV) in 100 grams

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Chia Seeds

16. Chia Seeds - 1.3mg (9% DV) in 1 oz (28g)

4.6mg (31% DV) in 100 grams

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Tips of Asparagus

17. Asparagus - 1.1mg (7% DV) per cup (180g)

0.4mg (2% DV) in 4 spears (1/2" base) (60g)
0.6mg (4% DV) in 100 grams
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Shiitake Mushrooms

18. Shiitake Mushrooms - 1mg (7% DV) per cup sliced (97g)

0.2mg (1% DV) in 1 piece whole (19g)
1mg (7% DV) in 100 grams
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Almonds

19. Almonds - 0.9mg (6% DV) in 1 oz (22 whole kernels) (28g)

4.6mg (30% DV) per cup whole kernels (138g)
3.3mg (22% DV) in 100 grams
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Brown and Crimini Mushrooms

20. Mushrooms (Brown, Crimini) - 0.8mg (5% DV) per cup sliced (72g)

0.2mg (1% DV) in 1 piece whole (20g)
1.1mg (7% DV) in 100 grams
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Peanuts

21. Peanuts - 0.8mg (5% DV) in 1 oz (28g)

4.1mg (28% DV) per cup (146g)
2.8mg (19% DV) in 100 grams
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A stalk of broccoli

22. Broccoli - 0.8mg (5% DV) per cup (156g)

0.9mg (5% DV) in 1 stalk, medium (7-1/2" - 8" long) (180g)
0.5mg (3% DV) in 100 grams
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Zucchini

23. Zucchini - 0.5mg (4% DV) per cup, sliced (180g)

0.3mg (2% DV) in 100 grams

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High zinc foods for vegans and vegetarians include wheat germ, fortified cereals, beans, legumes, oatmeal, tofu, seeds, nuts, spinach, mushrooms, and asparagus.
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Whey Protein Powder Isolate - 7.5mg (50% DV) in 3 scoop (86g)

8.7mg (58% DV) in 100 grams
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Natto - 5.3mg (35% DV) in 1 cup (175g)

3mg (20% DV) in 100 grams
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Kanpyo (Dried Gourd Strips) - 1.6mg (11% DV) in 1/2 cup (27g)

0.4mg (2% DV) in 1 strip (6g)
5.9mg (39% DV) in 100 grams
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Soy Protein Concentrate - 1.2mg (8% DV) in 1 oz (28g)

4.4mg (29% DV) in 100 grams
Click to see complete nutrition facts.


Balsam-Pear (Bitter Gourd) - 1mg (6% DV) in 1 cup (1/2" pieces) (124g)

0.8mg (5% DV) in 100 grams
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Waxgourd (Chinese Preserving Melon) - 0.8mg (5% DV) in 1 cup, cubes (132g)

34.2mg (228% DV) in 1 waxgourd (5700g)
0.6mg (4% DV) in 100 grams
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Sunflower Seed Butter - 0.8mg (5% DV) in 1 tbsp (16g)

1.4mg (9% DV) in 1 oz (28g)
4.9mg (33% DV) in 100 grams
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Taro Shoots - 0.7mg (4% DV) in 1 cup slices (140g)

0.5mg (3% DV) in 100 grams
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Jute Potherb (Mulukhiyah) - 0.7mg (4% DV) in 1 cup (87g)

0.8mg (5% DV) in 100 grams
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Parsley - 0.7mg (4% DV) in 1 cup chopped (60g)

1.1mg (7% DV) in 100 grams
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Poppy Seeds - 0.7mg (5% DV) in 1 tbsp (9g)

0.2mg (1% DV) in 1 tsp (3g)
7.9mg (53% DV) in 100 grams
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Sesame Seeds - 0.7mg (5% DV) in 1 tbsp (9g)

11.2mg (75% DV) in 1 cup (144g)
7.8mg (52% DV) in 100 grams
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Bamboo Shoots - 0.6mg (4% DV) in 1 cup (1/2" slices) (120g)

0.7mg (4% DV) in 1 shoot (144g)
0.5mg (3% DV) in 100 grams
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Mung Beans - 0.6mg (4% DV) in 1 cup (124g)

0.5mg (3% DV) in 100 grams
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Caraway Seeds - 0.4mg (2% DV) in 1 tbsp (7g)

0.1mg (1% DV) in 1 tsp (2g)
5.5mg (37% DV) in 100 grams
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Anise Seeds - 0.4mg (2% DV) in 1 tbsp, whole (7g)

0.1mg (1% DV) in 1 tsp, whole (2g)
5.3mg (35% DV) in 100 grams
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Ground Turmeric - 0.4mg (3% DV) in 1 tbsp (9g)

0.1mg (1% DV) in 1 tsp (3g)
4.5mg (30% DV) in 100 grams
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Miso - 0.4mg (3% DV) in 1 tbsp (17g)

2.6mg (17% DV) in 100 grams
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Cocoa Powder - 0.4mg (2% DV) in 1 tbsp (5g)

5.8mg (39% DV) in 1 cup (86g)
6.8mg (45% DV) in 100 grams
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Paprika - 0.3mg (2% DV) in 1 tbsp (7g)

0.1mg (1% DV) in 1 tsp (2g)
4.3mg (29% DV) in 100 grams
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Alfalfa Sprouts - 0.3mg (2% DV) in 1 cup (33g)

0.9mg (6% DV) in 100 grams
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Broccoli Raab - 0.3mg (2% DV) in 1 cup chopped (40g)

0.2mg (1% DV) in 1 stalk (19g)
0.8mg (5% DV) in 100 grams
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Yeast Extract Spread (Marmite) - 0.3mg (2% DV) in 1 tsp (6g)

4.2mg (28% DV) in 100 grams
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Flaxseeds - 0.3mg (2% DV) in 1 tbsp, ground (7g)

0.1mg (1% DV) in 1 tsp, ground (3g)
4.3mg (29% DV) in 100 grams
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Endive - 0.2mg (1% DV) in 1/2 cup, chopped (25g)

4.1mg (26% DV) in 1 head (513g)
0.8mg (5% DV) in 100 grams
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Coriander (Cilantro) Leaves - 0.1mg (0% DV) in 1/2 cup, chopped (16g)

0.1mg (1% DV) in 9 sprigs (20g)
0.5mg (3% DV) in 100 grams
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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.