Young women's version of this guide

Zinc is a mineral that is important for your immune system. Zinc is also needed for wound healing and normal growth and development.

How much zinc do I need?

Because your body cannot make zinc, you must get it through your diet. The amount of zinc you need daily, or the recommended dietary allowance (RDA), depends on your age and gender. Boys age 9 to 13 years old need 8 milligrams of zinc each day. Boys age 14 to 18 years old need 11 milligrams each day.

What are some good sources of zinc?

There are many different foods that have zinc. Oysters contain the most zinc, but red meat and poultry are the most commonly eaten sources of zinc. Zinc is also found in:

  • Dairy products
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Legumes
  • Meat, poultry, and shellfish
  • Soy foods
  • Whole grains

Some foods rich in zinc are listed below:

FoodServingMilligrams (mg) of zinc per serving
Dairy Foods
Yogurt, plain, low-fat1 cup1.78
Ricotta cheese, part skim1/2 cup1.34
1% milk1 cup0.86
Cheddar cheese1 ounce1.0
Grains and Cereals
Brown rice, cooked, long grain1/2 cup0.7
Cheerios® cereal1/2 cup13.4
Life® cereal1/2 cup5.8
Wheat germ1 Tbsp2.4
Chickpeas1/2 cup1.4
Lentils1/2 cup1.2
Lima beans1/2 cup0.9
Meat, Poultry, Shellfish, and Eggs
Chicken breast3 ounces0.8
Egg, large1 egg1.2
Hamburger, 95% lean3 ounces3.1
Shrimp6 large1.6
Sirloin steak3 ounces5.7
Turkey3 ounces2.8
Oysters3 oysters66
Soy Foods
Soybeans1/2 cup1.1
Tempeh1/2 cup1.1
Tofu, firm1/2 cup1.6