Sulfur is one of the main elements in the environment. Well, it’s all around you, including in the soil where food grows, making it a key element of many fresh produces. The human body uses sulfur for several important bodily functions including building and repairing DNA, as well as safeguarding the cells against damage. Hence, it is essential to add an adequate number of sulfur-rich foods into your diet for optimal health and well-being.
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Read this article to understand the science-backed evidence on whether foods with sulfur are valuable or should be avoided.

What Is Sulfur?

Sulfur, calcium, and phosphorus are the three most vital minerals plentifully present in the human body. Sulfur holds a significant role in vital processes in the system, like making proteins, regulating gene expression, building, and repairing DNA, and supporting the normal metabolic processes.

This mineral is also important for making and recycling glutathione- one of the body’s key antioxidants that lessen inflammation and avert cell damage caused due to oxidative stress. Aside from this, sulfur also supports maintaining the integrity of connective tissues like skin, tendons, and ligaments.

Several food sources and beverages like drinking water from certain origins contain sulfur. Additionally, certain medications and supplements, such as antibiotics, analgesics, and pain remedies, contain varying proportions of this mineral.

Also Read: 6 Key Minerals Functions And Sources - Infographic

Food Sources Rich In Sulfur

Sulfur is naturally present in a wide range of foods, some of the chief sources include:

  • Legumes: Soybeans, black beans, kidney beans, peas and white baeans
  • Nuts/Seeds: Almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts, walnuts and pumpkin and sesame seeds
  • Dried Fruit: Apricots, figs, sultanas, and dried peaches
  • Vegetables: Mainly asparagus, red cabbage, leeks, onion, radishes, turnip, and watercress
  • Grains: Pearl barley, oats, wheat, and flour obtained from these grains
  • Beverages: Apple cider, wine, coconut milk, grape and tomato juice
  • Spices: Mustard, curry powder, ground ginger, and horseradish
  • Dairy: Cow’s milk and cheese

Non-Vegetarian Sources

  • Meat: Chicken, duck, turkey, and organ meats
  • Seafood: Most types of fish, shrimp, scallops, mussels, and prawns
  • Eggs

Also Read: Calcium: Functions, Food Sources, Supplements, Deficiencies And Toxicity

Health Benefits of Sulfur

Sulfur is one of the most vital minerals in the human body and the main part of several amino acids including methionine and cysteine. Some of the potential health incentives of sulfur include relieving arthritis pain, treating skin problems and augmenting Liver health

The main sulfur-containing compounds present in cruciferous vegetables, known as glucosinolates, contribute to a lower risk of heart disease.

Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a sulfur-containing element present in plant- and animal-based foods and dietary supplements. Medical experts believe that adding MSM may lower inflammation and decrease joint and muscle pain.

Glucosinolates compounds have remarkably shown to lessen the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Sulforaphane rich foods are effective against amyloid beta-induced oxidative damage which contributes to the development of neurodegenerative diseases.

Also, it is largely used in several dietary supplements, mainly for people with arthritis. This element may help ease pain and inflammation. Glutathione, a potent antioxidant made with sulfur, holds a vital role in liver detoxification. Foods like garlic and cruciferous veggies rich in sulfur can shield the system against diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and age-related brain loss function.

Thus, adding sulfur-rich foods can help meet the sulfur needs of the system. Furthermore, restricting the intake of this food very drastically is not recommended, but if taking sulfur-rich diet is causing bowel discomfort, then seek advice from a nutritionist to make sure that a low sulfur diet helps to meet daily needs.

Side Effects

Though sulfur is important for survival and found in human cells, there are a few potential dangers of eating excessive amounts of sulfur.

While a few people may not be tolerant or allergic to sulfur. Though sulfur is low in toxicity, however, eating too much can cause diarrhoea and gut inflammation. People sensitive to sulfites, a sulfur derived preservative added to packaged foods and beverages should avoid having these foods.


Sulfur is needed for performing several bodily processes and functions. The latest research also suggests a positive impact between the intake of sulfur-rich foods and a lower risk of chronic health conditions. Allium, cruciferous vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds and animal protein are some of the chief dietary sources of sulfur. Well, there is no recommended daily allowance of sulfur, but consuming a balanced diet and adding a variety of sulfur-rich foods ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of sulfur in your meal plan.