Skip to content


For a better browsing experience, this site has been optimized for Chrome on your device.


Are you sure you want to empty your cart?

What You Need To Know About Zinc


  Retour vers HealthBites

What You Need To Know About Zinc

Here's information on what zinc is beneficial for and a list of zinc-rich foods.

What Are The Benefits of Zinc?

Zinc is needed for various functions in your body. It's good for your immune system health, wound healing and other roles in the body.

Some of zinc's many roles in the body include:
  • Maintaining a healthy immune system
  • Required for normal growth and development
  • Helping your body use carbohydrates, protein and fat
  • Helping heal wounds
  • Assisting in activity of numerous enzymes
  • Having a function in normal fetal development
  • Required for making genetic material
  • Maintaining your sense of smell, taste, and vision
Le Zinc

Common Food Sources of Zinc

See the table below for the zinc content of some common foods:

Food GroupFoodServing sizeZinc (mg)
Vegetables and FruitThis food group contains very little of this nutrient
Grain Products
Wheat germ30 mL (2 Tbsp)2.4
Cereal, bran30 g1.7
Wild rice, cooked125 mL (½ cup)1.2
Milk and Alternatives
Cheese (ricotta)125 mL (½ cup)1.8
Cheese (cheddar, Swiss, gouda, brie, mozzarella)50 g (1.5 oz)1.8
Milk (homogenized 3.3%, 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate, buttermilk)250 mL (1 cup)1.0
Yogurt (plain, fruit bottom), regular or low fat175 mL (¾ cup)0.9
Meat and Alternatives
Oysters, eastern, farmed, cooked75 g (2.5 oz)33.9
Oysters, Pacific, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)24.9
Beef, various cuts, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)6.3
Veal, lean, various cuts, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)4.9
Liver (beef, chicken, lamb, pork), cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)4.5
Lamb, various cuts, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)4.0
Crab, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)3.8
Pork, various cuts, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)3.3
Lobster, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)3.0
Mussels, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)2.0
Anchovies, canned75 g ( 2.5 oz)1.8
Turkey, various cuts, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)1.8
Chicken, various cuts, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)1.8
Shrimp, all varieties, cooked75 g ( 2.5 oz)1.2
Non-Meat Sources
Pumpkin or squash seeds60 mL (¼ cup)4.4
Baked beans, canned175 mL (¾ cup)2.6
Lentils, cooked175 mL (¾ cup)1.9
Sunflower seeds, without shell60 mL (¼ cup)1.8
Peas (chickpeas/garbanzo, black-eyed/cowpeas, split), cooked 175 mL (¾ cup)1.6
Nuts (pine, peanuts, cashews, almonds), without shell60 mL (¼ cup)1.4
Soybeans, dry, roasted60 mL (¼ cup)1.4
Eggs, cooked2 large1.2
Refried beans, canned175 mL (¾ cup)1.1
Tofu, firm150 g0.9

How Much Zinc Do You Need?

The body absorbs 15% to 40% of the zinc present in food. The recommended daily requirement of zinc depends of your gender, age and lifestage. It's important you don't exceed 40 mg per day from foods and supplements combined.

Zinc daily requirements:

  • Females
    • 14 to 18 years of age: 9 mg
    • 19 years of age and older: 8 mg
  • Males
    • 14 years of age and older: 11 mg

Who might have a zinc deficiency?

A zinc deficiency is rare if you eat a variety of foods and you don't have any health conditions.

People who may have increased zinc requirements include:

  • Individuals recovering from surgery on their digestive system
  • Individuals with ulcerative colitis, Crohn's or chronic liver disease
  • Individuals on a protein-restricted diet (e.g. vegetarians not eating a variety of plant-based protein sources with zinc)

What if you don't get enough zinc?

  • May weaken the immune system
  • May cause poor wound healing
  • May cause impaired sense of taste and smell and vision problems

Zinc Supplements

It's always better to get zinc from your food than supplements. If you are eating a variety of food and you don't have any health conditions then you likely don't needs a zinc supplement. If you have been advised to take a zinc supplement, take the the dose recommended by your healthcare professional.

Signs of zinc toxicity include:

  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea

The information in this resource is for general information purposes only and is not intended to replace informed medical advice. Consume foods according to any dietary guidelines you have been provided from a health care professional. Metro Ontario Pharmacies Limited assumes no legal liability for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of the information.

Metro pharmacy aisle

Visit your local pharmacy for more information

Find a Metro Pharmacy
Metro pharmacist

See all the services offered by your pharmacist

Find out more about your Metro Pharmacy

Reserve your timeslot now!

Sorry, our online services are not available for this postal code. Please try another postal code or visit us in store.

Sorry, we encountered a problem.

Please try again later.