Copper is a nutrient that is needed in trace amounts to maintain a healthy body. While copper is found in most foods, only a few foods are good sources of copper. Most people in the US do not get enough copper in their diet, and low levels of copper can lead to anemia, as copper is a necessary component in the uptake of iron. Copper deficiency can also lead to irregular melanin production, leading to sunburn, and poor dopamine production, leading to depression. It can also suppress your immune system.
Try not to eat eggs or milk with foods containing copper as the proteins in those foods can block absorption of the mineral. Also, try to cook foods as little as possible, using the minimum amount of water for boiling vegetables, to avoid leaching the copper into the water. Here are 6 foods that contain copper:
Beef liver is a rich source of copper as well as other nutrients. One hundred grams of liver will provide 80% of the RDA of copper. Chicken or turkey livers are also a good source of copper, as are other organ meats such as kidneys. Steaming the liver is the best way to cook it for a healthy meal.
Oysters are one of the best sources of copper and can provide up to 500% of the RDA per 100 grams. This does depend on the type of oyster, as some have up to 8 times more copper than others. Copper can also be found in clams, lobster, crab and calamari. A seafood stir fry with lots of vegetables is a good way to prepare a nutrient-rich meal.
Nuts and Seeds
Sesame seeds are high in copper and a great way of eating them is in tahini, or sesame seed butter. Cashews, hazel nuts, walnuts and Brazil nuts are also high in copper, as are sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Eating small amounts of nuts or seeds as snacks is a great way to keep up your copper intake, or add them to a salad.
Copper is found in cocoa, providing around 95% of RDA per 50 grams. Thus, copper is also found in chocolate. Dark chocolate is the best source, as it not only has a higher concentration of copper, it also contains less milk.
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Sun dried tomatoes will provide around 40% of copper's RDA per cup. These are great for using as a pizza topping or in a serving of antipasto. They can also be added to savory muffins or meatloaf.
Beans and lentils are good sources of copper. They can be included in your diet through soups and salads, as well as burritos.
Some other sources of copper include black pepper, mushrooms, dark leafy vegetables, barley and prunes. Consuming a wide variety of these foods in your diet will ensure that you get enough copper to keep you healthy and well nourished.