Copper is found throughout your body. With its help, iron produces red blood cells. Your body picks up copper from your diet and only a little is needed. But if you have a copper deficiency (in rare cases), you could have anemia, irregular heartbeat, thyroid problems, loss of pigment in the skin, and a bunch of other medical issues.1
Why Do You Need Copper?
Along with the production of red blood cells, copper helps to make collagen and promotes efficient nerve functioning. But that’s not all. Here are a few benefits of copper.
- For strengthening the immune system: A deficiency in copper could lead to neutropenia, a condition with inadequate white blood cells (WBC), and this makes you prone to infections2
- For reducing signs of aging: Copper is an antioxidant, a feature that is useful to reduce wrinkles and age spots3
- For bone health: Since copper helps to produce collagen, it promotes stronger and healthier bones4
FDA recommends a daily intake of 2 mg copper.5
14 Foods Rich In Copper
1. Veal Liver – Cooked, Braised
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 slice (80 g)|
|14.94 mg (747% DV)||11.952 mg (597.6% DV)|
Health Tip: Liver goes great with pungent foods like onions and garlic. Top if off with herbs like thyme or sage for added flavor.
2. Seaweed Or Spirulina – Dried
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 cup (112 g)||Copper in 1 tbsp (7 g)|
|6.1 mg (305% DV)||6.832 mg (341.6% DV)||0.427 mg (21.35% DV)|
Health Tip: Make sure to soak dried seaweed in a bowl of warm water before eating. This is to make it tender.
3. Wild Eastern Oyster – Cooked, Moist Heat
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 6 pieces (42 g)||Copper in 3 oz (85 g)|
|5.707 mg (285.35% DV)||2.397 mg (119.85% DV)||4.851 mg (242.55% DV)|
Health Tip: If you are looking for a healthier and low-fat option, do not eat fried or breaded oysters.
4. Sesame Seeds – Whole, Roasted, And Toasted
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 oz (28.35 g)|
|2.47 mg (123.5% DV)||0.7 mg (35% DV)|
Health Tip: Roasted sesame seeds can be crushed and sprinkled over salads.
5. Dark Chocolate – 45-59% Cacao Solids
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 bar (162 g)||Copper in 1 oz (28.35 g)|
|1.028 mg (51.4% DV)||1.665 mg (83.25% DV)||0.291 mg (14.55% DV)|
Health Tip: Dark chocolate is perfect for a sweet tooth. If you find it too bitter to eat directly, grate a bar into your oatmeal, muffin, or even on top of fruits.
6. Mace – Ground
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 tsp (1.7 g)||Copper in 1 tbsp (5.3 g)|
|2.467 mg (123.35% DV)||0.042 mg (2.1% DV)||0.131 mg (6.55% DV)|
Health Tip: Add mace to your soups and sauces for a burst of flavor.
7. Cashew Nuts – Dry Roasted, Without Salt Added
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 oz (28.35 g)||Copper in 1 cup, halves and whole (137 g)||Copper in 1 tbsp (8.6 g)|
|2.22 mg (111% DV)||0.629 mg (31.45% DV)||3.041 mg (152.05% DV)||0.191 mg (9.55 %DV)|
Health Tip: If you are roasting cashew nuts at home, make sure to do it at 160-170°F for about 20 minutes. This preserves all the nutritious oils present in the nuts.
8. Raw Kale
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 cup (16 g)|
|1.499 mg (74.95% DV)||0.24 mg (12% DV)|
Health Tip: Steaming kale for 5 minutes is a good option. It helps to preserve copper and other nutrients. Other cooking methods can diminish the nutrients.6
9. Sun-Dried Tomatoes
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 piece (2 g)||Copper in 1 cup (54 g)|
|1.423 mg (71.15% DV)||0.028 mg (1.4% DV)||0.768 mg (38.4% DV)|
Health Tip: If you made sun-dried tomatoes at home, store them in a jar with olive oil in the refrigerator for added flavor.
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 cup (165 g)||Copper in 1 fruit, without refuse (55 g)|
|0.23 mg (11.5% DV)||0.38 mg (19% DV)||0.127 mg (6.35% DV)|
Health Tip: If you aren’t eating fresh guava within four days after purchase, store them in a plastic wrap in the freezer. They should be fine for eight months. But we know, you would eat them before that.
11. Edamame – Frozen, Prepared
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 cup (155 g)|
|0.345 mg (17.25% DV)||0.535 mg (26.75% DV)|
Health Tip: You could steam edamame for a healthier choice. Sprinkle them with spices and there you go!
12. Wheat Bran – Crude
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 cup (58 g)|
|0.998 mg (49.9% DV)||0.579 mg (28.95% DV)|
Health Tip: Add one tablespoon of wheat bran to your breakfast cereal or smoothie.
13. Shiitake Mushrooms – Cooked, With Salt
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 cup (145 g)||Copper in 4 pieces (72 g)|
|0.896 mg (44.8% DV)||1.299 mg (64.95% DV)||0.645 mg (32.25% DV)|
Health Tip: When cooking with shiitake mushrooms, don’t throw away the stems. You could add the stems to a vegetable stock for an extra dose of nutrients.
14. Sunflower Seeds – Dry Roasted, Without Salt
|Copper in 100 g||Copper in 1 cup (128 g)||Copper in 1 oz (28.35 g)|
|1.83 mg (91.5% DV)||2.342 mg (117.1% DV)||0.519 mg (25.95% DV)|
Health Tip: Sunflower seeds are very versatile. You could add them to salads, cereals, baked goodies, and into smoothies.
Stick to the recommended amount of copper and don’t over do it. Happy healthy eating!
*All data has been sourced from the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
|↑1||Copper – Medical Reference Guide. University of Maryland Medical Center|
|↑2||Lazarchick, John. “Update on anemia and neutropenia in copper deficiency.” Current opinion in hematology 19, no. 1 (2012): 58-60|
|↑3||Ganceviciene, Ruta, Aikaterini I. Liakou, Athanasios Theodoridis, Evgenia Makrantonaki, and Christos C. Zouboulis. “Skin anti-aging strategies.” Dermato-endocrinology 4, no. 3 (2012): 308-319|
|↑4||Price, Charles T., Joshua R. Langford, and Frank A. Liporace. “Essential nutrients for bone health and a review of their availability in the average North American diet.” The open orthopaedics journal 6 (2012): 143|
|↑5||Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide. FDA|
|↑6||Kahlon, Talwinder Singh, Mei-Chen M. Chiu, and Mary H. Chapman. “Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage.” Nutrition research 28, no. 6 (2008): 351-357|