Top 10 Vegetables Highest in Zinc

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN

Zinc is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining a sense of smell, keeping a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes, and creating DNA. Zinc also helps the cells in your body communicate by functioning as a neurotransmitter.

A deficiency in zinc can lead to stunted growth, diarrhea, impotence, hair loss, eye and skin lesions, impaired appetite, and depressed immunity. Conversely, consuming too much zinc can disrupt absorption of copper and iron, as well as create large amounts of toxic free radicals. It is easier to over consume zinc from animal foods and supplements where it is more readily available for absorption.

Vegans and vegetarians who primarily consume plant foods may have difficulty getting enough zinc since zinc is not as bioavailable in plants foods as in animal foods. This is partly because bean and legumes contain phytates which can inhibit absorption. Despite this, plant foods are a still a good source of zinc and there is no reason to eat meat or take a supplement.

The current daily value (%DV) for zinc is 15mg, but vegetarians and vegans should aim to eat 30mg a day. Vegetables high in zinc include soy beans (edamame), shiitake mushrooms, green peas, spinach, lima beans, lentil sprouts, asparagus, corn, okra, and broccoli. For more see the extended list of zinc rich vegetables, and list of high zinc foods for vegans and vegetarians.

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List of High Zinc Vegetables

A plate of green soybeans#1. Soybeans (Edamame)
1 cup (155g)200 calories (165g)100g
2.1mg (14% DV)2.3mg (15% DV)1.4mg (9% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Shiitake mushrooms#2. Shiitake Mushrooms
1 cup (145g)200 calories (357g)100g
1.9mg (13% DV)4.8mg (32% DV)1.3mg (9% DV)
Other mushrooms high in zinc (%DV per cup): White Button Mushrooms (9%), Crimini mushrooms (6%), Portabella (5%), Oyster (4%), and Matake (4%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Green peas#3. Green Peas
1 cup (160g)200 calories (238g)100g
1.9mg (13% DV)2.8mg (19% DV)1.2mg (8% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Spinach leaves#4. Spinach
1 cup (180g)200 calories (870g)100g
1.4mg (9% DV)6.6mg (44% DV)0.8mg (5% DV)
Other dark leafy greens high in zinc (%DV per cup): Beet greens (5%), Turnip greens (4%), and Swiss chard (4%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Lima beans#5. Lima Beans
1 cup (170g)200 calories (163g)100g
1.3mg (9% DV)1.3mg (9% DV)0.8mg (5% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Lentil sprouts#6. Lentil Sprouts
1 cup (77g)200 calories (189g)100g
1.2mg (8% DV)2.8mg (19% DV)1.5mg (10% DV)
Other sprouts high in zinc (%DV per cup): Pea sprouts (8%), Mung bean sprouts (7%). Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Heads of asparagus#7. Asparagus
1 cup (180g)200 calories (909g)100g
1mg (7% DV)5.5mg (36% DV)0.6mg (4% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Sweet corn#8. Corn
1 cup (165g)200 calories (247g)100g
1mg (7% DV)1.6mg (10% DV)0.6mg (4% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Sliecd okra#9. Okra
1 cup (184g)200 calories (690g)100g
1mg (7% DV)3.4mg (23% DV)0.5mg (3% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
Broccoli heads#10. Broccoli
1 cup (156g)200 calories (571g)100g
0.8mg (4% DV)2.6mg (17% DV)0.5mg (5% DV)
Click to see complete nutrition facts.
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Zinc is an essential mineral required by the body for maintaining a sense of smell, keeping a healthy immune system, building proteins, triggering enzymes, and creating DNA. Vegetables high in zinc include soy beans (edamame), shiitake mushrooms, green peas, spinach, lima beans, lentil sprouts, asparagus, corn, okra, and broccoli.
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Even More Zinc Rich Vegetables

#1. Heart of Palm 1.7mg (11% DV) in 1 cup (146g) 8.2mg (55% DV) in 200 calories (714g) Complete nutrition facts.
#2. Crimini Mushrooms 1mg (6% DV) in 1 cup (87g) 10mg (67% DV) in 200 calories (909g) Complete nutrition facts.
#3. Soybean Sprouts 1mg (7% DV) in 1 cup (94g) 2.6mg (17% DV) in 200 calories (247g) Complete nutrition facts.
#4. Summer Squash 0.7mg (5% DV) in 1 cup (180g) 3.9mg (26% DV) in 200 calories (1000g) Complete nutrition facts.
#5. Yellow Snap Beans 0.6mg (4% DV) in 1 cup (135g) 3.4mg (23% DV) in 200 calories (714g) Complete nutrition facts.
#6. Sweet Potato 0.6mg (4% DV) in 1 cup (200g) 0.7mg (5% DV) in 200 calories (222g) Complete nutrition facts.
#7. Potato 0.6mg (4% DV) in 1 medium (173g) 0.8mg (5% DV) in 200 calories (215g) Complete nutrition facts.
#8. Artichokes 0.6mg (4% DV) in 1 cup (168g) 1.6mg (11% DV) in 200 calories (444g) Complete nutrition facts.
#9. Bamboo Shoots 0.6mg (4% DV) in 1 cup (120g) 7.8mg (52% DV) in 200 calories (1667g) Complete nutrition facts.
#10. Brussels Sprouts 0.1mg (0% DV) in 1/2 cup (21g) 1.8mg (12% DV) in 200 calories (556g) Complete nutrition facts.
#11. Beets 0.3mg (2% DV) in 1/2 cup (85g) 1.6mg (11% DV) in 200 calories (455g) Complete nutrition facts.
#12. Carrots 0.5mg (3% DV) in 1 cup (146g) 1.9mg (13% DV) in 200 calories (541g) Complete nutrition facts.

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Data Sources and References

  1. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.