Foods to boost zinc

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for adults is:

women     8mgmen    14mg

Zinc absorption is lower from vegetarian diets, so intakes need to be 50 per cent higher for people not eating meat: that’s up to 12mg for women and 21mg for men.

Zinc has numerous functions within our bodies: it’s essential for growth and development and to maintain a healthy immune system.

Meat is a good source of zinc, with darker meat being a richer source. Other sources include dairy products, eggs and some seafoods, nuts, seeds, whole grains and dark leafy vegetables. Each of these will provide around 1mg of zinc.

  • ½ oyster
  • 1½ tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • ¾ cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 slices grainy bread
  • 20g beef steak
  • 100g tofu

For sources of information for this article, see page 109.


Did you know? Eating high amounts of zinc from foods doesn’t appear to have any ill effects, but high intakes from supplements can cause stomach cramps, depress immune function and reduce absorption of copper and iron.

First published: Jun 2010

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