By Jennifer Poindexter
If you spend much time looking up health information on the Internet, you know that our bodies typically lack certain trace minerals.
Zinc is one of these minerals. I enjoy reading, especially about my health, and I see many authors encourage people to include more of this mineral in their diet.
You should speak with your doctor or do your own research before deciding to be intentional about adding more zinc into your daily life.
However, if you deem that your body needs more zinc (and you’re interested in growing the foods that could help you consume more of it), I’ve prepared a list.
Here are the herbs and vegetables which are naturally higher in zinc:
What You’ll Learn:
- The significance of zinc as a trace mineral in our body and its multiple functions.
- The recommended daily intake of zinc according to the National Institutes of Health.
- The common sources of zinc and the benefits of plant-based options.
- A list of 15 plants that are rich in zinc, with a brief on their growing conditions and the amount of zinc they contain.
The Importance of Zinc
Zinc is a trace mineral which helps our bodies do many of the important functions that we perform each day without even noticing.
According to the National Institutes of Health, you should consume between 2mg and 13mg of zinc per day. This number varies due to age, gender, and pregnancy.
Zinc helps our bodies create DNA, build proteins, and supports our immune system. Zinc is also known for helping our cells grow and assisting our bodies in healing damaged areas.
Zinc can be consumed in a variety of ways. It’s common in red meats, shellfish, and dairy. Yet, some people don’t enjoy these foods or consume them regularly.
In that case, you may be interested in learning about the plant-based options. Let’s discuss plants which are higher in zinc which may deserve a space in your garden.
Plants Which Are High in Zinc
Planning your garden around nutrients and minerals you’re intentional about adding to your diet, could be a good way to ensure you eat the right foods.
Here’s a list of herbs, fruits, and vegetables that may have a space in your garden if you’re interested in growing plants higher in zinc:
I enjoy using lentils in the place of meat in a sloppy joe. If you enjoy lentils, you’ll be pleased to know they can be incorporated into your garden.
Lentils tend to grow well in planting zones four through eleven. These plants enjoy rich, well-draining soil. Plus, they love full sunlight.
If you’re trying to incorporate more zinc into your diet, lentils provide around 2mg of zinc in each cup.
2. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have become one of my new favorite snacks, and I love adding them to my salads for added crunch and saltiness. Plus, they’re relatively inexpensive at some discount grocery stores.
If you’d like to grow your own pumpkins (and enjoy the seeds as an added bonus), you’ll be glad to know the seeds are higher in zinc.
Pumpkins grow well in planting zones six and higher. Be sure to provide a growing location with plenty of sunlight and nutrient-dense soil. Pumpkins grow best during warmer portions of the year. In turn, an ounce of pumpkin seeds may provide 2mg of zinc.
3. Mustard Seed
Mustard seed is an enjoyable (and tiny) spice that I use mainly when I’m making homemade pickles. If, like me, you enjoy mustard greens and mustard seed, then you might be interested in how to produce both around your home.
Mustard greens do well in planting zones six through eleven. They’re a cold-weather crop and can withstand some frost. These plants enjoy full to partial sunlight and soil that’s loamy and well-draining.
If you let some of the greens go to seed, they’ll produce mustard seeds. One tablespoon provides around .5mg of zinc in each.
Oregano is great for anything from making sauces to using in herbal teas. If you’d like to grow oregano around your home, it remains hardy in planting zones four through ten.
Be sure to provide your oregano with a growing location that consists of ample sunlight and soil that drains adequately.
In turn, anticipate oregano providing around 1/8mg of zinc in one teaspoon.
Avocados have become a fan-favorite in recent years. They’re great for making dip, enjoying on toast, or eating by themselves with Everything But the Bagel seasoning on top.
Most people may find it difficult to grow avocados as they’re only hardy in planting zones nine and higher. These trees prefer growing locations with lots of sunlight and mild temperatures.
They can also handle some humidity. Avocados provide around 1mg of zinc in each cup of this delicious fruit.
This is another option which may have to be purchased for most, but if you enjoy the flavor of cocoa powder, you’ll be glad to know it’s high in zinc.
Cacoa trees only grow in planting zones nine and higher. These trees need protection from strong winds, soil that drains adequately and is high in nitrogen, and steady temperatures.
Plus, the trees enjoy humidity and plenty of rain. In turn, 100g of cocoa powder has around 6mg of zinc.
Cardamom isn’t one of the most well-known spices. It’s a close relative of ginger and is used regularly in Indian cuisine.
If you’re a fan of cardamom, you’ll be glad to know it may be overwintered indoors, grown in a greenhouse, or in a container. You may have to take special care to keep the plant alive over winter unless you live in planting zones ten and higher.
You should also supply a growing location with temperatures above 70-degrees Fahrenheit, consistently damp conditions, and provide plenty of humidity. In turn, 100g of cardamom contains around 7mg of zinc.
Peaches are a sweet, delicious fruit that many people enjoy fresh or as part of a dessert. Peach trees come in dwarf varieties, so they may be grown in containers and overwintered indoors if you live outside of their hardiness zones.
Peaches remain hardy in zones four through nine. They enjoy a growing location with plenty of sunlight and soil that’s nutritious and well-draining.
Expect peaches to provide approximately .2mg of zinc per 100g of the fruit.
Mushrooms are a great plant to produce because they can be grown from a kit, they don’t require hardly any space, and they can be used in a variety of recipes.
Expect mushrooms to remain hardy in planting zones two through ten. They can thrive in various temperatures which range from 40- degrees Fahrenheit to almost 90-degrees Fahrenheit.
Mushrooms prefer a damp growing location and, ideally, prefer milder temperatures. One cup of mushrooms contains around .3mg of zinc.
Dill is a cool-weather herb that’s great for use in a variety of recipes. Its most common use is when making pickles.
Many people don’t realize how sturdy of a plant dill is. This herb is hardy in planting zones two through eleven and can survive in lower quality soil.
It does best when provided well-draining soil, ample sunlight, and prefers temperatures between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit. Dill contains up to approximately 5mg of zinc per 100mg depending upon variety.
Thyme is another common herb that many people use to season their foods. You won’t need to grow a lot of this plant as a little goes a long way.
Thyme contains approximately 1mg of zinc per 100mg. This plant remains hardy in zones five through nine.
It also enjoys a bright growing location filled with soil that’s well-draining and aerated.
Peas are a vining plant that don’t need much room to produce a harvest. You may grow peas in a container, raised bed, or traditional garden plot. Trellising them helps to keep the growing location tidy.
When growing peas, provide a space with full sunlight and loamy, well-draining soil. Green peas may be grown in planting zones two through eleven.
They’re also a decent source of zinc as 100mg contains approximately 1mg of zinc.
Spinach is a delicious leafy green that’s great for growing in containers or by utilizing other gardening methods. It also makes a wonderful cool-weather crop.
If you’re interested in growing spinach, be sure to provide nutrient-dense soil and ensure it drains adequately. You should also keep the soil evenly damp and try to grow spinach when temperatures are around 50-degrees Fahrenheit.
This plant also enjoys a growing location with full to partial sunlight. In turn, 100g of spinach can provide approximately 1mg of zinc.
There’s nothing that compares to homegrown blueberries. They’re sweet, a little sour, and make a great snack or dessert.
Blueberries need a growing location with full to partial sunlight and soil that’s both nutritious and well-draining.
You may grow blueberries in containers or by planting in a traditional garden plot. You should receive approximately .2mg of zinc from 100g of blueberries.
Apricots are another wonderful fruit to grow around your home. These plants remain hardy in planting zones four through nine.
They prefer a growing location with soil that’s nutritious, well-draining, and able to hold onto necessary moisture. Grow apricot trees in areas with cold winters and shorter springs. If you have a warm spell in the middle of winter, it could cause the tree to come out of dormancy.
This plant needs full sunlight to thrive. Then enjoy the harvest and as you munch on an apricot, know that each piece of fruit provides .7mg of zinc.
As you can see, zinc is thought to be a vital mineral. It can be acquired by eating various foods. If you’d like to ingest more zinc in your diet, you now have fifteen different fruits, vegetables, and herbs to choose from.
Hopefully, you’ll find the right combination to ensure you consume your recommended daily amount of zinc and enjoy each bite throughout your day.
- Zinc plays a crucial role in our body, aiding in DNA creation, protein building, supporting the immune system, cell growth, and healing damaged areas.
- The daily recommended intake of zinc can vary between 2mg and 13mg depending on age, gender, and pregnancy.
- While red meats, shellfish, and dairy are common sources of zinc, there are numerous plant-based alternatives for those who don’t consume these.
- Some of the top plants rich in zinc include lentils, pumpkin seeds, mustard seeds, oregano, avocados, cocoa, cardamom, peaches, mushrooms, dill, thyme, peas, spinach, blueberries, and apricots.
- Introducing a diverse range of zinc-rich plants in your diet can help ensure you get your recommended daily intake, catering to both health and taste.
Plant-Based Sources of Zinc Quick Reference Chart
|Key Growing Conditions
|Zinc Content (per specified amount)
|Rich, well-draining soil; Full sunlight
|Sunlight; Nutrient-dense soil
|Full to partial sunlight; Loamy, well-draining soil
|Ample sunlight; Well-draining soil
|Lots of sunlight; Mild temperatures
|Protected from winds; High in nitrogen soil
|Above 70°F; Damp conditions; Humidity
|Sunlight; Nutritious, well-draining soil
|40°F to 90°F; Prefer milder temperatures
|Well-draining soil; 60°F to 70°F
|Up to 5mg/100mg (depending on variety)
|Bright location; Well-draining, aerated soil
|Full sunlight; Loamy, well-draining soil
|Nutrient-dense, well-draining soil; 50°F
|Full to partial sunlight; Nutritious soil
|Cold winters; Full sunlight