Zinc in Dairy

Article by Diet Bites

Dairy Foods That Contain Zinc

When we think of zinc - often seafood and other animal proteins generally pop to mind. But surprisingly, many healthy dairy selections are also rich in this vital mineral.

Dairy foods which contain zinc include: evaporated milk, malted or regular milk shakes, whole milk cheese, whole milk and eggnog.

To view the amounts within these foods see our data table posted below.

While zinc is a healthy benefit found in foods - all of the above selections are exceptionally rich in fatty acids which contribute to our blood serum cholesterol readings, in addition to weight gain when daily energy values exceed the amount necessary to the body.

Low Fat, Healthier Dairy Choices for Zinc Benefits

The healthier examples of dairy food choices include reduced fat selections. However, there are drawbacks for many individuals.

Whole Milk Texture, Creamy Goodness vs Watery, Milky Liquid Which Tastes Bland or Off-Putting

Many dieters prefer whole milk because it is thick, has a creamy flavor and an excellent texture. In comparison, a cup of zero-fat may taste like two Tablespoons of whole milk added to a cup of water.

If you fall into this category, try moving from whole to 2%. Once you adjust, then move to 1% and so forth. If you can't adjust, then enjoy your regular full-blown variety and be sure to account for those calories at day's end.

Zinc's Purpose in the Human Body

What is it? What is its function?

Zinc is a nutrient found within the cells of the human body. It assists the immune system of the body, fighting bacteria and viruses which attempt to invade the body. It is necessary to the production of proteins and DNA - the genetic material in cells. It also works in wound-healing and is vital for the proper senses of taste and smell.

During pregnancy, lactation, childhood, times of illness, life-phases and extreme intervals of stress, the amount of zinc required by the body will differ.

How Much Zinc Do You Need?

Life Stage

Recommended Milligrams

Safe Upper Limits

Birth to 6 months



Infants 7 to 12 months



Children 1 - 3 years old



Children 4 - 8 years in age



Children 9 - 13 years old



Teen Boys, 14 - 18 years old



Teen Girls, 14 - 18 years old



Adult Men



Adult Women



Pregnant Teens


per doctor

Pregnant Women


Breastfeeding Teens


Breastfeeding Women


Too much zinc can cause significant health issues. The FDA has set the 'safe upper limits' as noted above. For pregnancy and lactation, refer to your doctor. Signs of toxicity include: nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, loss of appetite, diarrhea and headaches. Over time, excessive zinc intake can impact copper levels, lower immunity and lower good cholesterol in the body.

Long term use of nasal sprays containing zinc have resulted in loss of smell.

In addition, denture creams and adhesives containing zinc have created health issues.

And if you're taking a prescription drug - particularly quinolone, tetracycline, Cipro, Achromycin, Sumycin, penicillamine, a Thiazide diuretic such as chlorthaidone, Hygroton, hydrochlorothiazide or an over the counter medication - be sure to check with your doctor before taking a zinc dietary supplement due to possible interactions.

In addition, ask which foods you should avoid while taking these medications. Keep in mind that multi-vitamins contain zinc.

Tips for Cutting Calories in Regular Dairy Selections

We'll be brutally honest. We don't like the textures or flavors of the reduced fat dairy products. They are bland - and at times, taste more like paste than food. In addition, there is that watered-down effect that we touched upon above.

As long as your daily eating plan isn't mined with more caloric values that your body will use AND as long as you're not filling your menus with foods which are extreme in fatty acid content, then more likely-than-not you can enjoy the regular products as recommended per the American Food Pyramid Guidelines.

While there are five basic food groups housed within the Pyramid, the official guidelines also allow for minimal fat in the daily diet.

Snack Time Offers Opportunity for Healthy Snacks Containing Zinc Values

Rather than obtaining fat from candy bars, chips, cakes and pies - getting it from an ounce of Cheddar cheese or cottage cheese or milk makes a much healthier choice. These products not only contain zinc benefits - they also contain other nutritional elements, such as calcium.

Best Sources for Zinc

The best source is oysters. Other excellent choices include: fortified breakfast cereals, red meat, poultry, crab, lobster and other seafood. Good food selections include: beans, nuts, whole grain foods - and dairy products.

As we can see, dairy is a good source but pales considerable in comparison to oysters.

To compare, 3 ounces of Eastern oysters which have been fried and breaded contain 74.06 milligrams. Six medium raw Eastern oysters contain 33.01 milligrams.

Dairy Foods: Rich Sources of Zinc Content

MG = Milligrams

Food Selection: Based on 1 Ounce Unless Stated


Milk, canned, evaporated, with added vitamin D and without added vitamin A - 8 fluid ounces


Shake, fast food, vanilla, 16 fluid ounces


Milk shakes, thick chocolate - 10.6 fl oz


Cheese, Swiss


Milk, reduced fat, fluid, 2% milk fat, with added vitamin A and vitamin D


Eggnog per cup


Milk, chocolate, fluid, commercial, low fat, with added vitamin A and vitamin D per 8 ounces


Chocolate milk - whole with added A and D vitamins per cup


Cheese, cottage, low fat, 2% milkfat per cup


Cheese, provolone


Cheese, camembert per wedge


Milk, whole, 3.25% milkfat, with added vitamin D - 1 cup


Cheese, cheddar



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