needed for reproduction, growth, wound healing, sexual maturation and for maintaining a healthy immune system

While it is found widely in plant foods, its absorption is reduced by phytates found in wheat bran, wholegrains and legumes.


Processing a food by soaking, fermenting or sprouting can reduce the phytate level and make zinc more readily available.


Women 19-50 years - 12mg Women over 51 years - 14mg

Pregnancy - 15-16.5mg

Breastfeeding - 16.5-18mg

Men - 21mg

Tips for meeting your zinc needs:

  • Eat legumes, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, and wholegrains regularly

  • Soak legumes before cooking, then drain and cook in fresh water

  • Use sprouted legumes (e.g. mung beans) in salads and sandwiches

  • Avoid using large quantities of unprocessed wheat bran, which is high in phytates

Source: Dr Kate Marsh BSc, MNutrDiet, PhD, Grad Cert Diab Edn & Mgt Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian