Despite zinc not being found in large amounts in plant food, it tends not be an issue for vegans – studies have shown that we’re getting enough. However, if you’re looking to increase your intake, we’ve got some tips for you.
We need 8-11 mg of zinc per day, though the Institute of Medicine has suggested that vegans with high intakes of unrefined grains might need 50% more zinc than recommended. While there is no guidance as of yet to support this, there is also no harm in upping your intake to 12-16.5 mg a day. The reason for this is due to the fact that plant foods, particularly unrefined grains such as wholemeal bread, pasta and rice, are high in phytates, which can block zinc absorption.
Luckily, vegans eat many zinc-containing foods, meaning we still tend to absorb enough. Tofu, tempeh, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and fortified products (like breakfast cereal and meat substitutes) are all good and varied sources of zinc.
To increase the uptake of zinc you can toast nuts and seeds, choose risen bread over flatbread and drink orange juice with each meal. While unrefined grains tend to be higher in phytate, wholegrain bread’s higher zinc levels make up for its poor absorption – so you don’t have to give up on the other nutritious benefits wholegrain provides.
For more information on zinc, why it’s important and how to increase its uptake, check out our fully referenced article here.
Since you're here...
...please join us as a member and support the vegan movement from just £2 a month. Since 1944, our members have been integral to supporting us as we spread the vegan message, help vulnerable vegans in need and work with institutions and governments to turn the world vegan. As a reward, you'll receive over 120 vegan-friendly discounts, The Vegan quarterly magazine, access to a community of vegans and much more.