Do Vegans Get Enough Zinc

Do Vegans Get Enough Zinc? (10 Foods Rich in Zinc)

Zinc is a very important mineral for good health. It supports your immune system, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, and the health of your senses of taste and smell. So, it’s essential to get enough of it each day.

If you’re a vegan, you might worry that you’re not getting enough of each essential nutrient as a result of not consuming meat. But is that true for zinc as well?

Do Vegans Get Enough Zinc?

  • There are various plant-based replacements that can help you prevent deficiencies, including zinc deficiency. In most cases, vegans are unlikely to suffer from significant zinc deficiencies as long as they follow a balanced diet. So, be sure to consume enough zinc-rich foods each day.

Are vegans prone to zinc deficiency?

Just like with other nutrients, sometimes it might be hard to consume adequate amounts of zinc. Still, there’s no need to become zinc deficient on a vegan or vegetarian diet since there are many zinc-rich foods you can consume.

The important thing when following a vegan diet is careful planning. When you do that, you can ensure that you’re consuming foods containing all the nutrients you need without leading to any nutritional deficiencies.

How can vegans maintain adequate zinc levels?

Zinc Levels

If you’re a vegan and you’re worried about getting enough zinc, simply make sure you’re consuming enough plant-based foods that are rich in this mineral. In fact, this isn’t very difficult as long as you plan out your diet carefully and stick to it.

To make it easier for you, below are the ten best dietary sources of zinc for vegans.

10 Foods Rich in Zinc for Vegans

1. Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpea
Roasted Chickpea

One cup of cooked chickpeas contains about 2.5 mg of zinc, which is around 17% of your daily recommended need for this nutrient

This amount makes chickpeas a pretty good source of zinc, especially since they also contain amino acids – nutrients that aid with the absorption of this mineral.

2. Lentils

A cup of cooked lentils contains around 2.5 mg of zinc, which equals 17% of your daily requirement for this mineral. What’re more, lentils, whether regular or pink, contain a lot of other nutrients as well, especially the type that contributes to zinc absorption.

As a result, including lentils in a diet aimed at getting enough zinc is a great idea.

3. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Seeds

A one-ounce serving of pumpkin seeds contains around 2.1 mg of zinc14% of how much you need per day. Pumpkin seeds also have a good dose of other minerals and vitamins, so eating them can help prevent other nutrient deficiencies. 

4. Quinoa

One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 2 mg of zinc13% of your daily need. This whole grain also contains a pretty good amount of powerful amino acids, which have a positive effect on how well your body absorbs zinc.

So, including quinoa on a vegan diet is a great idea.

5. Beans


One cup of black beans contains 1.9 mg of zinc 13% of your daily need for this mineral. In the same way, a cup of kidney beans contains 1.2 mg of zinc, and a cup of cooked pinto beans contains 1.7 mg of zinc.

In fact, all types of beans contain a lot of zinc, which makes them a great source of this nutrient for vegans and other people on plant-based diets.

6. Cashews

A one-ounce serving of dry-roasted cashews contains 1.6 mg of zinc, which corresponds to about 10% of your daily recommended need for this nutrient. Because of that, including this type of nut in a vegan diet can help you get enough zinc each day.

In addition, two tablespoons of cashew butter contain 1.6 mg of zinc. So, adding cashew butter to your diet can help you up your intake of zinc too.

7. Chia seeds

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are also pretty rich in zinc. A one-ounce serving contains 1 mg of zinc, which equals 7% of your daily need for this mineral. They’re also very rich in fiber and other minerals, so you can up your intake of other nutrients by eating them.

8. Walnuts

Just like most types of nuts, walnuts are an excellent source of all minerals, especially zinc. For instance, a one-ounce serving of walnuts contains about 0.9 mg of zinc6% of your daily recommended need.

In the same way, walnut butter and other foods containing walnuts also provide you with a lot of zinc.

9. Tofu

Homemade Tofu Stir Fry
Homemade Tofu Stir Fry

Different types of tofu contain different amounts of zinc, but all of them are rich in this mineral.

For example, the most common type of tofu, firm tofu, contains 0.8 mg of zinc in a 3.5-ounce (100 grams) serving. This is about 6% of your daily need for this mineral.

Other types of tofu include the following amounts of zinc in a 3-5 ounce serving:

  • Soft tofu: 0.6 mg of zinc (4% of your daily recommended need)
  • Hard tofu: 1.7 mg of zinc (11% of your daily recommended need)
  • Extra firm tofu: 1.1 mg of zinc (7% of your daily recommended need)
  • Dried-frozen tofu: 4.9 mg of zinc (33% of your daily recommended need)

10. Whole wheat bread

Whole Wheat Bread

Just one slice of whole wheat bread contains 0.5 mg of zinc3% of your daily need for this mineral. While this might not seem impressive, one slice of bread contains around 70 calories. So, by eating more, you can get even more zinc.

Should vegans take zinc supplements?

Fortunately, there are plenty of plant-based foods that contain a lot of zinc. So, unless you experience some symptoms of zinc deficiency, taking zinc supplements isn’t necessary.

Some of the most common symptoms of zinc deficiency include sudden hair loss, changes to your nails, diarrhea, loss of appetite, impotence, and eye problems.

As a result, if you experience any of these symptoms, you might want to talk to your doctor about treatment or supplement choices.


There are many zinc-rich foods that are suitable for a vegan diet. Because of that, vegans who follow a balanced, varied diet shouldn’t experience zinc deficiency.

Just be sure to consume a lot of different foods to get ahead of any deficiencies and stay as healthy as possible.

Sources: Nutrition Data, National Library of Medicine, Research Gate, and Science Direct