8 Foods High in Zinc – What Are Their Benefits?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on


Zinc is necessary for many of the body’s processes and most people are chronically deficient in this vital mineral. It is an active agent in our body’s ability to metabolize food and nutrients. It is also involved with triggering over 100 differing internal enzymes required for many metabolic actions. Zinc is also crucial for the health of the human immune system. It aids growth through its role in protein building and synthesis, and is therefore particularly needed in pregnant and lactating women.

It also plays a role in the body’s ability to heal itself after an injury. Zinc supports your sense of smell and is commonly linked to healthy eyes, skin and hair. We must ensure that we get enough zinc in our diet, potentially from zinc supplements, as the body does not naturally have a zinc storage system.

There are many foods that contain zinc, but the following list of foods possess the highest amounts of naturally-occurring zinc. These foods would be a great addition to any diet.

1. Pumpkin seeds

Not only are they extremely high in zinc, pumpkin seeds also play a role in the prevention of prostate cancer. Pumpkin seeds also support immune system health. For maximum zinc-intake, the seeds should be eaten raw, as roasting them can deplete zinc intake.

2. Dark Chocolate

The occasional indulgence in a square of dark chocolate may offer a boost to your zinc levels. One hundred grams of unsweetened dark chocolate has up to 9.6mg of zinc. Cocoa powder has 6.8mg.

3. Garlic

This pungent bulb offers moderate levels of naturally occurring zinc, and is easy to incorporate into almost any meal. Garlic is also a great food for detox that contains high levels of manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C and selenium.

4. Sesame Seeds

Raw, toasted or ground into tahini butter, sesame seeds hold around 10mg of zinc per 100g serving. Try incorporating more hummus (a tahini-butter-based Middle Eastern dip) into your diet, or even consider replacing wheat flour with sesame seed flour in your baked goods or breads.

5. Watermelon Seeds

It may seem strange, but dried watermelon seeds have 10mg of zinc per 100g serving.

6. Wheat Germ

An excellent additive to sprinkle on your salad, toasted wheat germ offers 17mg of zinc per 100g serving. This is over 100% of the recommended daily allowance.

7. Squash Seeds

Another popular Middle Eastern seed, squash seeds contain around 10mg of zinc per 100g serving. You can remove the seeds directly from the squash and eat them raw, or dry or roast them in your oven. I prefer raw.

8. Chickpeas

A 7 ounce serving contains about 2.8mg of zinc. They also contain folate and are high in protein and dietary fiber.

Other Sources of Zinc

Aside from the foods listed above, there are many other ways to get zinc in your diet. If you don’t eat any of the foods above, I recommend supplementing your diet with a zinc supplement.

If you decide to take a zinc supplement, then be sure to do your research on the different types of zinc supplements. They are not all created equal. Personally, I would only use and recommend zinc orotate.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • dan

    did you say chocolate? I love that, and to give me reasons why it is healthy just makes it even better!

  • Anita

    Thank you- i was looking into different ways to help my hair get healthier!

  • Miley Smith

    This is such a good list of foods which are high in zinc. Hey I did not know that dark chocolate has also a good amount of zinc. It is good that you have given some information with all foods.

  • Lindy Combs

    Thank you for posting this about zinc in pumpkins seeds.

  • toheed

    superb Info tanx man!

  • I found that taking zinc supplements also prevents colds, specially over winter šŸ™‚

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  • cygus

    You forget to mention that the minerals in these seeds are bound by phytic acid – a serious anti-nutrient that will drain your body of minerals. All of these seeds need to be soaked or fermented to be of any use, otherwise they are useless (and damaging) sources of zinc.


    Of course you left out oysters.

  • mhikl

    Must be a vegan site. Zinc from plant sources are difficult to assimilate. Sorry, but tis true. Specifically, it is very easy to get too much micronutrient copper. Mineral zinc, however, is in vast amounts is necessary to balance copper, and can only be obtained in large amounts from animal foods, in particular eggs and red meats. It is wrong to mislead people.

  • sjdla

    Regarding the bioavailability of zinc, on the NIH website, vegans/vegetarians simply need to eat more foods with zinc for optimal health. Eating bread (a leavened product) and soaking your own beans before cooking, as well as eating sprouted beans – sprouted lentils are widely available at health-conscious grocers, can eliminate the concern of the people who for some reason can’t stand the vegan/vegetarian mentality. Moreover, many people who eat meat are still deficient in zinc, this in a country gorging itself on animal protein. Considering the high cholesterol, fat, gmo-fed, antibiotic use with growth hormone shots along with other drugs administered in the highly profitable agro-meat industry, the less animal products consumed today, the better. And we haven’t even touched on the dangerous by-products of our high meat-consuming culture on the environment – worse than the pollution from our cars. If our seas and soil are contaminated with chemical pollutants, then so too are the animals who are facing the worst of these conditions- meaning humans are getting not one, but two doses of these chemicals when we consume them.

  • carol

    Carol I have psorsis on my leg n in my hair its also flares up in other places. Have been told that lacking zinc in diet a cause.

  • Alan Ross

    I was told that beans drain your body of zinc. Is this true?

  • Haven’t heard that, where did you read it?

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  • John Pierre

    These Food they can reserve the effect of masturbation you will feel stronger as well

  • The answer

    Warning Do not conumme chocolat for zinc he have high copper and high phytate content…

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