Zinc In A Vegan Diet

What are the best vegan zinc sources? We explain all below.

Unidentified person holding a bowl of raw spinach - a key source of iron for vegans
Image Credit: Unsplash

What is Zinc?

Zinc helps our bodies grow new cells, promotes healing and aids with processing carbohydrates. We need zinc for our bodies to carry out various functions, so it is important for vegans to get sufficient zinc from our diets.

how much do we need?

Zinc is a trace element, which means we don’t need much – just 9.5mcg a day for men and 7mcg a day for women, though vegans may need a little more because zinc from plant foods does not absorb quite as easily.

Although some studies found that vegans had less zinc in their bloodstream than meat-eaters, it was still within the healthy range, and deficiency is rare.

Vegan Zinc sources

We can get all the zinc we need from a varied vegan diet, and since small amounts absorb best, it’s a good idea to eat foods that contain zinc throughout the day. Here are some plant-based foods which contain zinc:

  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oats
  • Wholegrains
  • Leafy green vegetables

should i supplement?

There are health risks associated with taking too much zinc, so it is better to get all you need from a healthy balanced diet. If you believe you have difficulty absorbing zinc, your doctor can identify the problem, and may prescribe supplements.

For more support with plant-based nutrition, check out Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen checklist.

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