Zinc in Food: How You Can Support Your Health Naturally

Zinc in Food: How You Can Support Your Health Naturally

Zinc is involved in many important functions of your body. Read here if you want to know everything about the health benefits of zinc, how to best dose it and what side effects can occur.

Zinc plays many important roles in your body. For example, zinc can be a teammate for a strong immune system his. However, your body cannot produce zinc naturally, which is why you must get it through foods or supplements.


What is zinc

Zinc is a essential trace elementwhich means your body cannot make zinc on its own. In this context, this means that you should take zinc through your diet through certain foods or in the form of dietary supplements.

There are many ways to take zinc, either animal or plant-based foods.

avocado bread with lentils and tomato


This is how zinc works in the body

After iron, zinc is the most important second most common trace element in the body. It is in every cell in your body, but occurs there in only a very small amount at 2 g.1 There it is for the activity of more than 300 enzymes necessary. The trace element supports, among other things, these body processes:4

  • Metabolism
  • immune function
  • Skin, hair and nail health
  • wound healing
  • Protein synthesis
  • DNA synthesis
  • cognitive abilities


The health benefits of zinc

Let's take a closer look at the health benefits of zinc.

Zinc is related to yours Strengthen the immune system to be able to and to improve the wound healing process. Zinc is necessary for the function of the immune cells and the signal transmission of the cells. Preparations with zinc ensure that certain immune cells are stimulated and oxidative stress is reduced. You probably know that many medicines for colds contain zinc.5 

Did you know that zinc is also widely used in hospitals to treat burns, certain ulcers and other skin injuries?6 This is due to the crucial role in the synthesis of collagen, the immune function as well as the inflammatory response, which is necessary for good wound healing. If you suffer from zinc deficiency, it may be that if you have a wound, the healing process can take longer.

Woman is happy that she is healthy

Zinc also has an indirect impact on muscle building. Since you lose a certain amount of zinc while exercising, like sweating, for example, you need more zinc than someone who doesn't exercise. This ensures that you promote faster regeneration if you pay attention to your zinc intake and thus support your muscle growth.

It is estimated that almost 10% of people suffer from acne.7 This skin disease is caused by blocked glands, bacteria, and inflammation.8 People who have acne tend to have less zinc.9 Studies show that zinc treatment can effectively treat acneby reducing inflammation, inhibiting bacterial growth and suppressing the activity of the glands.10


Dosage: how much zinc can I consume?

The recommended daily dose is 10 mg for adult men and 7 mg for adult women.

Normally, with a balanced diet, you get enough zinc from food. However, there are some special features if you eat vegetarian or vegan: Plant-based zinc-containing food sources have a lower bioavailability than animal food sources.

hand reaches for a piece of beef


What are the side effects of too much zinc?

If you consume too much zinc, it can cause side effects. This can cause acute and chronic symptoms. However, this rarely occurs in the case of food intake. You would have to eat very large amounts. If you are taking zinc supplements and feel like you have taken too much zinc, the following side effects may occur:11

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • headache
  • reduced immune function

woman complains of a headache


How do I recognize a zinc deficiency?

Severe cases of zinc deficiency are rare, but milder forms of zinc deficiency occur. This is particularly the case with children in developing countries, where diets are often lacking in essential nutrients. People with gastrointestinal diseases such as Crohn's disease, vegetarians, vegans, pregnant and breastfeeding women, malnourished people or people with chronic kidney disease also tend to have an increased risk of zinc deficiency.12

Zinc deficiency can have a negative effect on your immune system or metabolic processes. Accordingly, the risk of contracting infections is then increased.


    Symptoms of zinc deficiency:13

    • diarrhea
    • decreased immune function
    • Hair loss
    • concentration problems
    • fatigue
    • listlessness
    • dry skin
    • brittle nails
    • impaired wound healing

    man falls asleep on the sofa


    Natural absorption of zinc through food: where is zinc found?

    Since zinc also plays a role in the immune system, it is also found in some nasal sprays, lozenges and other products for colds. In order to optimally strengthen the functions of your body, you can use these zinc-containing foods.


    The 10 best foods that contain zinc

    Zinc is inevitable for your health. Since your body does not store zinc, you should make sure that you take in the trace element through your diet every day. We introduce you to 10 foods that are high in zinc.


    Foods high in zinc:

    • Meat
    • Schalentiere
    • Legumes
    • Together
    • Nuts
    • dairy products
    • eggs
    • whole grain products
    • Vegetables
    • dark chocolate chips

    Shellfish oysters



    Meat is a good source of zinc, especially beef, lamb, and pork contain a sufficient amount of zinc. For example, raw ground beef contains 4,8 mg of zinc. It also contains other important nutrients such as iron, B vitamins and creatine.



    Shellfish are not only a healthy, but also a low-calorie source of zinc. For example, 6 oysters contain about 32 mg of zinc. Other shellfish are the crab with 7,6 mg zinc as well as shrimp and mussels.



    The zinc-containing legumes include, for example, chickpeas, lentils and beans. However, they also contain phytates, which inhibit the absorption of zinc and other minerals. In other words, zinc is not absorbed as well as it is from animal sources.14 Nevertheless, they are an important source of zinc. Especially for vegetarians and vegans. Bioavailability can be increased here by heating, soaking or fermenting.15

    red lentils in a jar



    A great way to include zinc in your diet is with pumpkin seeds, as well as hemp and sesame seeds. In addition to the trace element, they also contain fiber, healthy fats, Vitamins and minerals. They are ideal as an excellent topping for salads, bowls or in homemade bread.



    You can also include pine nuts, peanuts, cashews, and almonds in your diet to increase your zinc intake. They also contain other valuable nutrients for your body as well as healthy fats and fiber. You can also use nuts as healthy snacks Take with you on the go.


    dairy products

    Dairy products like cheese and milk provide a variety of nutrients, including zinc. They contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc and are ideal for your body to absorb.16 Other benefits include nutrients such as protein, calcium and Vitamin D.

    emmental cheese and bread on board



    You can also cover your zinc needs with eggs. Eggs are also an important source of choline and also contain healthy fats, many vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins and selenium.


    whole grain products

    Whole grains like wheat, quinoa, rice, and oats also contain some zinc. They are still a good source of many important nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins, Magnesium, Iron, phosphorus, manganese and selenium. However, they also contain phytates.



    Fruits and vegetables are generally not such good sources of zinc. However, some vegetables contain sufficient amounts and can add to your daily needs. This can be especially interesting if you don't eat meat. These include, for example, black beans, kidney beans and kale.

    dark chocolate chips

    For those with a sweet tooth, dark chocolate could be a surprising source of zinc. Dark chocolate contains 3,3 mg of zinc. Of course, you shouldn't cover your daily requirement with dark chocolate, as chocolate also contains a lot of calories.

    zinc-containing foods overview 



    Zinc is an essential mineral that your body cannot produce itself. It is involved in many important processes in your body and must be taken in through your diet. These can be dietary supplements or through adapted meals with foods containing zinc.

    For example, zinc is involved in your immune function, cell growth, enzyme reactions and DNA synthesis and protein production. Those who consume too much zinc can suffer from side effects such as diarrhea, headaches or abdominal cramps. As a rule, most people get their daily zinc intake through their diet.

    If you can find out more about the subject Mineral deficiencies want to know, you can find out everything in the ahead Academy


    [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3775249/

    [2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24506795/

    [3] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23914218/

    [4] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/%20Zinc-HealthProfessional/

    [5] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28515951/

    [6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4413488/

    [7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25597339/

    [8] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29193602/

    [9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4135093/

    [10] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20510767/

    [11] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17914213/

    [12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4476434/

    [13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820120/

    [14] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12498628/

    [15] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25369924/

    [16] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724376/


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