Copper has been in use for the longest time in cookware, electronics, and jewelry. What’s fascinating is that it’s becoming increasingly popular and, this time, because of its biological functions. This trace mineral (required by the body in small quantities) has been proved to be extremely useful in nutrition because of its role in fat metabolism. It moves fat from cells called adipocytes (cells that store fat) into the bloodstream so that it can be used as energy. The best way to add it to your diet is to eat foods that are rich in it. Research suggests that foods with copper can be used to treat obesity and diabetes.1
Here are 6 foods that boost your copper intake.
6 Foods With Copper You Can Add To Your Diet
1. Eastern Oysters
Eastern oysters have a fairly high concentration of copper and are one of the best things you can eat if you want to add copper to your diet. They contain more than the recommended daily intake of copper for an adult. It’s best to eat these when they’re just cooked rather than when fried. Wild, cooked eastern oysters have about 3.7 mg of copper in 3 ounces.2 You could also try Pacific oysters, but they contain much lesser copper than the eastern variants. Other shellfish are also good sources.
2. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are great for you if you’re trying to add fat-burning copper to your diet. The best way to consume them is in the unsalted, dry roasted form for reduced fat intake. If you want some flavor, you could toss them in a little olive oil and throw in some cayenne pepper. 100 g of toasted sunflower seeds gives you about 1.8 mg of copper.3 You could also eat pumpkin and squash seeds instead of sunflower seeds for copper.
3. Dark Chocolate
If you’re looking to add copper to your diet while eating something yummy, you’ll be surprised to know that dark chocolate is abundant in it.4 It is rich in cocoa, which is the actual source of the copper in chocolate. You could also try cocoa powder. 1 ounce of 70–85% dark chocolate contains about 0.5 mg of copper.5 Remember to limit your intake of dark chocolate to about 3 ounces a day to reduce fat consumption.
Nuts are an excellent source of a number of essential minerals including copper. Not just that, they also fulfill your requirement for iron. If you’re looking for just one nut to provide all the copper you need, try cashews – they are the richest in copper. 100 g of cashew contain 2.19 mg of copper.6 Hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are some other nuts you can eat. Pop some in your mouth after every meal, and eat them plain – without salt or any sort of flavor.
Millet is great if you’re looking for a source of fat-burning copper that’s light and can soothe your stomach. You can either eat it in the form of a porridge or eat cooked millet with vegetables. 100 g of cooked millet has about 0.16 mg of copper.7 However, keep in mind that eating too much millet could affect the functioning of your thyroid.
This green and leafy vegetable not only contains vitamins K and C but is also a rich source of copper. The best way to preserve most of its copper content is to boil and drain it before you eat it. 100g of cooked, boiled, drained kale contains 0.15 mg of copper.8
Apart from these sources, you can also eat beans, legumes, organ meats like kidneys and liver of animals, and prunes for increased copper intake.9
Tips To Remember When Including Copper In Your Diet
- If you’re trying to increase the amount of copper you consume, reducing your zinc intake might help. However, ensure that you do this only after consulting with your physician.
- Avoid cooking foods containing copper for too long; it reduces the copper content.
- Avoid the use of dietary supplements to include copper in your diet; include food sources of the mineral instead.
Consult your nutritionist before you add copper to your diet. The amount you need may vary depending on your age. Once you do that, you can enjoy the benefits of this amazing trace mineral.