Copper is an essential mineral that plays a critical role in numerous bodily functions. Although it is required in trace amounts, copper is vital for the proper functioning of the immune system, red blood cell production, and collagen formation. In this article, we will discuss the benefits, sources, and recommendations for copper intake.
Benefits of Copper
- Boosts the immune system: Copper is essential for the production of white blood cells that help to fight off infections and keep the immune system healthy.
- Helps with iron absorption: Copper helps the body to absorb iron, which is necessary for the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Aids in collagen production: Copper is involved in the production of collagen, a protein that is essential for the health of connective tissues such as skin, bones, and cartilage.
- Supports brain function: Copper plays a role in maintaining the health of the nervous system, which is critical for cognitive function.
Sources of Copper
Copper is found in a wide variety of foods, including:
- Shellfish: Shellfish such as oysters, crabs, and clams are excellent sources of copper.
- Nuts and seeds: Cashews, almonds, and sesame seeds are good sources of copper.
- Whole grains: Whole grains such as quinoa and buckwheat are a good source of copper.
- Dark leafy greens: Spinach and kale are good sources of copper.
- Chocolate: Dark chocolate contains copper.
- Organ meats: Liver is an excellent source of copper.
Recommendations for Copper Intake
The recommended daily intake of copper varies depending on age and gender. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily intake of copper for adults is 900 micrograms per day.
While copper is essential for good health, too much copper can be toxic. Copper toxicity is rare, but it can occur in individuals who consume high amounts of copper through supplements or contaminated water. Symptoms of copper toxicity include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Copper is a vital mineral that plays a critical role in various bodily functions. It is essential to consume adequate amounts of copper through a healthy and balanced diet to maintain good health. If you are concerned about your copper intake, speak with a healthcare professional who can provide you with personalized recommendations.