Zinc is one of the 9 essential nutrients needed on a vegan diet and one of the few that our bodies can not create ourselves it becomes vital to get sufficient intake from healthy foods with a large zinc supply.

Zinc is key to maintaining a healthy immune system and plays a pivotal role in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.

If the human body lacks sufficient zinc intake it can weaken your immune system defenses leaving you more susceptible to unwanted diseases.

There are many plant-based foods high in zinc but not all are created equally. Some foods with high zinc content have a large amount of phytates which although they have beneficial properties, they have the potential to hinder nutrient absorption.

Fortunately, the negative effects of high phytate foods can easily be suppressed by either heating, cooking, or soaking the food which then allows you to receive all the benefits without any drawbacks.

Read on to find out the best vegan foods high in zinc with the widest range of nutritional benefits.

Nuts and seeds highest in zinc

Pumpkin seeds

Nutrition per 1 oz (28g):

Macronutrients: Fat 13.9g, Carbohydrates 3g, Protein 8.6g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate) 16.5mcg – 4% DV, Vitamin E 0.6mg – 4% DV
Minerals: Iron 2.5mg – 14% DV, Potassium 229.8mg – 5% DV, Zinc 2.2mg – 20% DV

Health benefits and uses of pumpkin seeds

  • Pumpkin seeds, with their unique green color and unordinary seed shape, are one of the best seeds to add to your diet and are jam-packed with healthy nutrients. 
  • 1 oz of pumpkin seeds can provide up to 20% of your daily zinc needs as well as boosting your iron, magnesium, and potassium intake.
  • Each ounce of pumpkin seeds provides 17% of your protein daily protein needs making them a great vegan protein source.
  • Studies have shown pumpkin seeds to be beneficial for fighting inflammation thanks to the antioxidants contained within as well as having a positive effect on prostate health.
  • In the kitchen, there are many great uses for this healthy green seed, from being added to vegan cakes and breads or simply just roasting them with some tasty seasonings. If you are looking to boost your intake of essential nutrients, try out our roasted pumpkin seeds recipe.

Hemp seeds

Nutrition per 1 oz (28g):

Macronutrients: Fat 13.8g, Carbohydrates 2.5g, Protein 9g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate)31.2mcg – 8% DV, Vitamin E 0..2mg – 2% DV
Minerals: Magnesium 198.8mg – 47% DV, Zinc 2.8mg – 26% DV, Iron 2.3mg – 13% DV

Health benefits and uses of hemp seeds

  • Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritious seeds around and one of the best sources of zinc on a vegan diet, providing 26% of your daily needs with just 1 oz of seeds.
  • 1 oz of hemp seeds provides 18% of your daily protein, making it the number 1 seed for high protein and omega 3’s and magnesium combined. 
  • Studies have shown that hemp seeds have many benefits, from decreasing the risk of heart disease and lowering blood pressure through to reducing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and contributing to healthier skin.
  • Hemp seeds can be used in a protein shake to boost muscle recovery or in a fresh green smoothie to increase nutrient properties and nutritional balance to your diet.

Sesame seeds

Nutrition per 1 oz (28g):

Macronutrients: Fat 13.6g, Carbohydrates 7.3g, Protein 4.8g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate) 27.8mcg – 7% DV, Vitamin B1 0.2mg – 19% DV
Minerals: Zinc 2mg – 18% DV, Magnesium 101.1mg – 24% DV, Iron 4.2mg – 23% DV

Health benefits and uses of sesame seeds

  • Sesame seeds provide 18% of your recommended daily amount of zinc with just an ounce of sesame seeds. They can be an excellent addition to a tasty vegan salad or can be used to boost the nutritional profile of your favorite green smoothies.
  • Sesame seeds also contain 22% of your recommended calcium amount with a simple one-ounce serving. A healthy supply of calcium is essential to the development and maintenance of strong healthy bones so sesame seeds are a magnificent food source to add to a plant-based diet to easily boost calcium and zinc intake.

Vegetables highest in zinc

Soybean sprouts

Nutrition per 100g:

Macronutrients: Fat 7.1g, Carbohydrates 9.4g, Protein 13.1g
Vitamins: Vitamin C 12mg – 13%, Vitamin B9 (folate) 127mcg – 32% DV
Minerals: Zinc 2.1mg – 19% DV, Potassium 567mg – 12% DV, Magnesium 96mg – 23% DV

Health Benefits of soybean sprouts

  • Soybean sprouts are one of the most popular bean sprouts around, most commonly used in Korea. They are extremely high in protein as well as being one of the best sources of zinc.
  • Every 100 grams of soybean sprouts provides 19% of your daily zinc needs which aids in reducing inflammation and maintaining optimal immune function.
  • The lower phytic acid levels help to increase nutrient absorption while the high heme-iron content has been shown to help reduce symptoms of iron deficiency.
  • In the vegan kitchen, soybean sprouts are predominantly used in stir fry dishes and work fantastically in tofu vegetable stir fry.
  • Try out our favorite plant-based stir fry recipes today and add in some soybean sprouts for their protein and zinc benefits.

Shiitake mushrooms

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 0.3g, Carbohydrates 20.9g, Protein 2.3g
Vitamins: Vitamin D 1mcg(40.6iu) – 5% DV, Vitamin B9 (folate) 30.5mcg – 8% DV
Minerals: Zinc 1.9mg – 18% DV, Magnesium 20.3mg – 5% DV, Iron 0.6mg – 4% DV

Health Benefits of shiitake mushrooms

  • Provides 18% of your daily recommended zinc amount per every 1 cup serving.
  • Shiitake mushrooms are a good replacement for meat as they contain many of the same amino acids.

Green peas

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 0.6g, Carbohydrates 21g, Protein 7.9g
Vitamins: Vitamin C 58mg – 64% DV, Vitamin K 36mcg – 30% DV, Vitamin A 55.1mcg – 6% DV
Minerals: Zinc 1.8mg – 16% DV, Iron 2.1mg – 12% DV, Potassium 353.8mg – 8% DV

Health Benefits of peas

  • Green peas may be one of the most popular peas on the planet, used throughout a vast range of cultures in a variety of unique dishes. Green peas although not typically touted as a superfood, are highly nutritious and contain many of the essential minerals and vitamins needed on a plant-based diet.
  • They are a great source of zinc, providing 16% of your daily needs of zinc per cup, while also having a significantly large amount of protein, iron, and manganese.
  • Green peas are a low glycemic index plant food that can help to lower and regulate blood sugar levels. They are also high in fiber which helps to support long term digestive health.
  • Some fantastic uses for this versatile green vegetable are in vegan salads and vegetable stir-fries or if you are feeling creative why not try a vegan pea pesto to go along with your favorite choice of pasta.

Grains highest in zinc

Oats

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 10.8g, Carbohydrates 103.4g, Protein 26.3g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate) 87.4mcg – 22%, Vitamin B1 (thiamin) 0.2mg – 14% DV
Minerals: Magnesium 276.1mg – 66% DV, Zinc 6.2mg – 56% DV, Calcium 84.2mg – 6% DV

Health benefits of oats

  • Oats are one of the most popular grains in the world with such an amazing nutritional profile that it’s criminal not to have them as a staple in your plant-based diet.
  • Not only are oats high in complex carbs, heme-iron, and healthy plant-based protein, but each single cup of oats is able to provide over 60% of your daily fiber needs. 
  • When it comes to zinc content, oats are in the top 3 grains, with each 1 cup serving able to provide up to 56% of your daily zinc needs. 
  • The uses for oats, especially on a vegan diet, are endless. They are the base of the popular oat bowls you see everywhere, they can be used in breads, biscuits, as flour, and can even be added to vegan protein shakes to boost the vitamins and minerals within. Try to incorporate oats into your diet to reap all the fantastic nutritional gains from this amazing grain. 

Buckwheat

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 5.8g, Carbohydrates 121.6g, Protein 22.5g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate) 51mcg, Vitamin B1 (thiamin) 0.2mg – 14% DV
Minerals: Zinc 4.1mg – 37% DV, Iron 3.7mg – 21% DV, Magnesium 392.7mg – 94% DV

Health Benefits of buckwheat

  • Buckwheat, despite its name, is a gluten-free grain that contains some of the highest zinc content in plant-based foods. Each cup serving provides 37% of your daily recommended zinc intake.
  • It also boasts some of the best magnesium and iron content, two minerals that are vital to a healthy plant-based diet. 
  • Buckwheat also has one of the best amino acid profiles and provides 22.5 grams of plant-based protein with every 1 cup serving.
  • Studies on buckwheat have shown that its benefits are vast, from helping to lower blood sugar levels, through to decreasing blood pressure and supporting a healthy heart.
  • Some of the best vegan uses of buckwheat are in plant-based porridge and vegan pancakes. It can also be used as a replacement for rice to go along with a vegan bean curry or vegetable stew.

Kamut

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 1.4g, Carbohydrates 47.5g, Protein 9.8g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate) 18.9mcg – 5% DV, Vitamin E 0.4mg – 3% DV
Minerals: Zinc 3.2mg – 29% DV, Magnesium 82.6mg – 20%, Iron 3mg – 17% DV

Health Benefits of kamut

  • Kamut (Khorasan wheat) falls into the category of ancient grain similar to amaranth. It is well known throughout many countries for its beneficial nutrients and works exceptionally as a plant-based source of zinc.
  • Kamut provides 29% of your recommended zinc per cup, helping you to avoid zinc deficiency and reap the benefits that a healthy dose of zinc provides.
  • Kamut is high in selenium and manganese which are antioxidants that help to reduce the risk of heart disease as well as reduce cell damage.
  • Kamut also provides a sufficient helping of iron and magnesium 2 of the most essential nutrients needed to master a plant-based diet.
  • Some of the best vegan uses of Kamut are in a vegan Mediterranean salad or as a side dish to go with a vegetable curry.

Beans and lentils highest in zinc

Adzuki beans

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 0.2g, Carbohydrates 57g, Protein 17.3g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate) 278.3mcg – 70% DV, Vitamin B6 0.2mg – 13%
Minerals: Zinc 4.1mg – 37%, Magnesium 119.6mg – 28% DV, Potassium 1223.6mg 26% DV

Health Benefits of adzuki beans

  • Adzuki beans are an East Asian bean known for their high protein content, a fantastic range of nutrients and a fantastic plant-based source of zinc.
  • Each one-cup serving of adzuki beans is able to provide 37% of your daily zinc needs helping to maintain adequate zinc levels and avoid zinc deficiency.
  • They also provide a large number of b vitamins and minerals, including but not limited to vitamins b9, b6, fiber, iron, and magnesium. The magnesium content is one of the highest out of all plant-based food sources providing 28% of your daily needs with each cup which can help with cardiovascular health.
  • One of the best ways to incorporate these fabulous beans into your diet is with our tasty vegan black bean stew helping you boosting your magnesium, protein, and fiber all in one delicious dish.

Catjang beans

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 1.2g, Carbohydrates 34.7g, Protein 13.9g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate) 242.8mcg – 61% DV, Vitamin C 0.7mg – 1% DV
Minerals: Zinc 3.2mg – 29% DV, Magnesium 164.2mg – 39% DV, Iron 5.2mg – 29% DV

Health Benefits of catjang beans

  • Catjang beans are one the best vegan zinc foods, providing 29% of your daily zinc requirement with every cup serving.
  • They are also high in protein providing making them excellent for overall health and muscle repair.
  • Catjang beans go magnificently well with seasoned brown rice or can be used as a scrumptious base for a plant-based bean stew.
  • Catjang beans are also high in fiber fulfilling 25% of your daily needs with every cup. Fiber has been shown to help manage weight so catjang beans can be a good food source to keep the fat away.
  • Catjang beans go magnificently well with seasoned brown rice or can be used as a scrumptious base for a plant-based bean stew.
  • Try incorporating these wonderful beans into your vegan eating habits to boost your zinc content and bring further balance to your diet.

Lentils

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 0.8g, Carbohydrates 39.9g, Protein 17.9g
Vitamins: Vitamin C 3mg – 3% DV, Vitamin K 3.4mcg – 3% DV
Minerals: Zinc 2.5mg – 23% DV, Potassium 730.6mg 16% DV, Iron 6.6mg – 37% DV

Health benefits and uses for lentils

  • Lentils, the tasty seeds from the legume family are one of the best plant-based foods with zinc found in the vegan diet. For every 1 cup of lentils, you get 23% of your daily zinc needs as well as a healthy helping of iron, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Lentils are packed with polyphenols, which makes them a great food source for improving digestion and preventing neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Each 1 cup of lentils provides a whopping 63% of your daily fiber needs.
  • The high fiber content also helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and to manage optimal weight.
  • Some of the best lentil recipes for vegetarians and vegans include lentil soup, roti, and lentil curries.

Firm Tofu (fortified)

Nutrition per 100g:

Macronutrients: Fat 8.7g, Carbohydrates 2.8g, Protein 17.3g
Vitamins: Vitamin B9 (folate) 29mcg – 7%
Minerals: Zinc 1.6mg – 14% DV, Calcium 683mg – 53% DV, Iron 2.7mg – 15% DV

Health benefits and uses for firm tofu

  • Firm tofu is one of the most fantastic plant-based zinc foods in the vegan diet. It is typically fortified with extra nutrients like calcium to aid in nutritional balance while at the same time providing up to 14% of your daily zinc needs.
  • Tofu contains a large number of isoflavones, which are a beneficial plant compound that has been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Its also high in iron, magnesium, and protein which are all essential nutrients needed on a vegan diet.
  • Tofu is also one of the most versatile foods so it has an extensive range of using it in the kitchen. From an egg replacement in scrambled tofu through to seasoned crispy tofu strips to have with stir-fried rice or vegan salad. Tofu is a brilliant food source to ensure you get enough zinc, protein, and calcium in your plant-based diet.

Fruits highest in zinc

Avocados

Nutrition per 1 cup (cubed):

Macronutrients: Fat 22g, Carbohydrates 12.8g, Protein 3g
Vitamins: Vitamin C 15mg – 17% DV, Vitamin E 3.1mg – 21% DV, Vitamin K 31.5mch – 26% DV
Minerals: Zinc 1mg – 9% DV, Potassium 727.5mg – 15% DV, Magnesium 43.5mg – 10% DV

Health benefits and uses for avocados

  • Avocados are probably one of the top foods on every vegan’s top 10 list thanks to their creamy texture and delicious flavor.
  • They are also one of the best fruit sources of zinc, providing ~9% of your daily needs with 1 average-sized avocado.
  • Although avocados are high in healthy fats, the high level of soluble fiber is excellent for weight loss, weight maintenance, and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. 
  • The high monounsaturated fat content is great for heart health, reducing inflammation, and lowering the risk of cancer.
  • Avocados are an excellent addition to fruit smoothies and vegan protein shakes, helping to boost the zinc and healthy fat content while adding a creamy smooth texture that makes smoothies a joy to consume.

Wild blueberries

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 0.2g, Carbohydrates 19.4g, Protein 0g
Vitamins: Vitamin C 2.4mg – 3% DV, Vitamin E 0.4mg – 2% DV
Minerals: Zinc 0.9mg – 9% DV, Potassium 95.2mg – 2% DV, Iron 0.8mg – 5% DV

Health benefits and uses for wild blueberries

  • Blueberries are one of the most fantastic plant based zinc foods providing up to 9% RDA of zinc per cup of this delicious berry.
  • Research has shown that wild berries have many benefits, from being one of the best sources of antioxidants which help to reduce the overall risk of disease, through to being excellent for long term heart health.
  • Blueberries provide such a wide range of nutritional benefits that they should be a regular food source in any balanced diet. Some of the best ways to incorporate blueberries into your diet are through fruit smoothies, morning oat bowls, or simply as a snack throughout the day.

Pomegranates

Nutrition per 1 cup:

Macronutrients: Fat 2g, Carbohydrates 32.5g, Protein 2.9g
Vitamins: Vitamin C 17.7mg – 20% DV, Vitamin K 28.5mcg – 24% DV
Minerals: Zinc 0.6mg – 6% DV, Potassium 410.6mg – 9% DV, Magnesium 20.9mg – 5% DV

Health benefits and uses for pomegranates

  • Pomegranates, known for their vibrant color and delicious edible seeds are one of the best fruits for zinc intake. Each cup of pomegranates provides 6% of your daily recommended zinc needs as well as a healthy dose of potassium, iron and vitamin E.
  • Pomegranates are high in vitamin C which is very beneficial for optimal iron absorption helping to prevent iron deficiency while also being high in vitamin K which plays a vital role in calcium regulation and bone health.
  • On vegan and vegetarian diets pomegranates have multiple uses, from pomegranate salads that add a unique sweetness to the tastebuds through to toppings on your favorite granola or oat bowl.
  • Try adding some pomegranates to your plant-based diet today to see what creative ways you can use this unique fruit.

Zinc supplements

Vegan zinc supplementation is another way to bring balance to a plant-based diet. A quality zinc supplement will aid you in meeting your recommended daily amount and will have a high enough level of zinc bioavailability to allow for optimal zinc absorption. Zinc supplements should not be a replacement for plant-based foods but as a way to support your current eating habits. A vegan multivitamin also works well to aid you in reaching the recommended zinc requirements, while being supported with other essential nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D that are all essential to a healthy mind and body.

For a more in-depth look into all things zinc on plant based diets check out our comprehensive vegan zinc guide to learn everything, you need to master this essential mineral.

Feeling inspired?

Why not try some of our fantastic vegan recipes high in Zinc to help bring nutritional balance back to your diet.

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