Find out the top food sources of zinc—and recipes for each.

Lauren Wicks; Nutrition review by Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D.
March 06, 2020

Zinc is a popular ingredient in cold and flu medications, as it can help boost immunity, keep inflammation at bay and shorten the duration of a cold. However, zinc is also found in a wide variety of foods that will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape.

It's recommended that women should aim to get 8 milligrams of zinc per day, while men should get 11 milligrams. All of these nutritious foods have more than 10% of your daily zinc recommendation per serving and will help you get a variety of other nutrients as well.

Related: How to Actually Boost Your Immunity and Not Get Sick

1. Oysters

Oysters are the best food source of zinc, as a 3-ounce serving of cooked oysters offers nearly 500% of the daily recommendation. They are one of the most widely known aphrodisiacs, and zinc is also linked to higher sperm count.

Our Oysters Au Gratin with Spinach & Breadcrumbs is the perfect way to try cooking oysters at home. This dish is crispy, cheesy and has a hint of spice—and it only requires 35 minutes of prep work.

2. Crab and Lobster

Seafood lovers will likely get their fair share of zinc, as crab and lobster are also top food sources of the mineral. 3 ounces of cooked Alaskan king crab has 43% of your daily zinc recommendation, while 3 ounces of cooked lobster has 23%.

Our Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms are an easy and delicious finger food appetizer, while our Lobster Ravioli is the perfect main dish to serve for a fancy date night at home.

3. Meat and Poultry

Omnivores have the best chance of getting all the zinc they need from food. Besides seafood, beef, pork and chicken are all excellent sources of zinc. A 3-ounce serving of chuck roast gives you the most zinc, with 47% of your daily need, while a 3-ounce beef patty offers 35%. Pork chops offer 19% and dark meat chicken boasts 16% in a 3-ounce serving.

Our Mediterranean Chuck Roast is sure to please a crowd and pairs perfectly with one of our favorite Mediterranean salad recipes. The best part is that it cooks while you're at work so you can come home to a delicious meal in minutes.

Related: 6 Foods with More Vitamin C Than an Orange

4. Legumes

Don't worry vegetarians, there are several good sources of zinc that will help keep your immunity up too. Legumes are a top vegetarian source of zinc, with a cup of baked beans offering 38% of your daily recommendation. A cup of cooked chickpeas also offers 18%.

Legumes are one of our favorite plant proteins, as they are rich in fiber, B vitamins, iron and several other essential nutrients. Try our Pressure-Cooker Baked Beans or our Pressure-Cooker Hummus for low-maintenance, zinc-rich sides.

5. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are another incredibly nutrient-dense food. Sometimes called pepitas, which are pumpkin seeds without a hull, these seeds pack 15% of your daily zinc recommendation in one ounce while also offering fiber, protein, magnesium and antioxidants.Talk about a superfood!

We love using pumpkin seeds in our Super-Seed Snack Bars for a convenient breakfast or snack. These bars are also a great meal-prep option and will stay good for up to a week in the fridge.

6. Yogurt

Dairy products are another important food source of zinc. Yogurt offers the most, with 11% of your daily recommendation in an 8-ounce serving. Yogurt is also packed with probiotics, which can help keep your immune system strong.

We love to start our day with yogurt and fruit, and these genius Yogurt Sundaes in Granola Cups help make your morning meal feel a little more special. This is another great make-ahead option for busy mornings.

7. Cashews

Cashews are a good source of fiber, magnesium and zinc to help keep your body's defenses strong. Just an ounce of dry-roasted cashews has 11% of your daily zinc recommendation.

Try using cashews in our magical Vegan Mac & Cheese—you won't miss the dairy at all! They are also delicious in our Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Basil & Cashews.

Related: Eat These Herbs and Spices to Boost Immunity

Nutrition Source: National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements

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