11 Amazing Health Benefits Of Copper You Should Be Aware Of
In this article, we’ll discuss some amazing health benefits of copper.
Apart from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, the human body needs certain essential elements for survival. Such elements are often required in fewer quantities, hence making their presence all the more crucial. Copper is one such essential element with several beneficial properties.
Health Benefits Of Copper
- Production Of Red Blood Cells: Copper is utilized by the body to produce hemoglobin, the component which gives blood its trademark red color. Hemoglobin is also the chief component of red blood cells henceforth leading to its increased production in the body.
- Healthy Nervous System: Copper is essential for the production and maintenance of the myelin sheath, a protective covering that insulates the nerve cells. It thereby improves brain functioning by aiding in smoother signal transmission through nerve cells.
- Support For The Immune System: Due to its antioxidant and immune cell-building properties, copper helps in the prevention of cell damage and unnecessary cell production. Therefore, it is also currently being researched as a potential cure for cancer.
- Forms Collagen: Copper is responsible for the maturation of collagen cells, the main structural protein responsible for connecting skin tissues.
- Helps Absorb Iron: Copper deficiency can be the major cause of low iron retention in the body. This leads to fatigue, weakness, and iron deficiency.
- Aids In Metabolism: Research suggests that copper helps to break down fat cells for the body to utilize as energy. Consequently, it also helps in monitoring weight gain and helps in the smooth functioning of the digestive system; making it of the best health benefits of copper.
- Lesser Diseases: The properties of copper lowers the chances of many diseases such as low red blood count, bone loss, arthritis, inflammation of the prostate, etc. It is also found to be a possible treatment for many neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
- Heart Health: Copper helps in lowering blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, the two leading causes of major heart diseases.
- Important For Fetal Growth: Right from the mother’s womb, copper levels are crucial in the development of many cognitive functions in the baby such as verbal reasoning, perception, memory, and motor functioning.
- Skin Protection: Copper is found to be a component of melanin, a group of natural pigments present in the skin. Melanin is responsible for protection against the harmful effects of the sun thus preventing many skin diseases like skin cancer.
- Antimicrobial Properties: Using copper vessels to drink water and cook meals can be a great way to maintain hygiene as copper is proven to have germ-killing properties.
The adult human body contains 1.4 to 2.1 milligrams of copper. To supplement this amount, doctors recommend 1-3 milligrams of copper per day on an average. Further, deficiency of copper in the body can be identified by the following symptoms – fatigue, skin disorders such as sores and inflammation, frequent sickness, feeling cold, sore muscles, etc. This can be corrected by including the following items in your diet which are rich in copper.
Foods Rich In Copper
- Mushrooms especially shitake mushrooms are found to be excellent sources of copper and other essential nutrients and fiber.
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashew nuts, and sesame seeds are packed with a host of nutrients especially copper.
- Seafood including lobsters, crabs, oysters, clams, shrimp, etc. are low-fat, high protein sources of many vitamins and minerals – one of them being copper.
- Green leafy vegetables of all kinds are readily available sources of copper and other essential elements for the body.
- Dark chocolate in limited quantities can fulfill all of the body’s copper requirements in one quick sweet fix.
- Offal (organ meats) especially the liver is massively packed with copper, iron, and vitamin B.
- Soy products such as tofu, soy milk, soybeans also contain copper in them.
- Root vegetables, mainly sweet potatoes, are packed with copper and iron.
- Legumes in the type of chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, white beans, etc. contain copper in the required body limit. Sprouted lentils have a higher copper content as well.
- Fatty fishes rich in Omega 3 fats such as tuna, sardines, and salmon are also rich in copper and zinc.
- Fresh fruits such as pineapple, kiwis, guava, avocado, etc. are rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals especially copper.
- Sun-dried tomatoes can not only fix your Italian recipes, they are a great source of copper, magnesium, iron, and potassium.
- Whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, etc. are healthy sources of copper and fiber which can be used to make porridges and other healthy recipes.
- Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that gives a lot of smoothies and cocktails their signature aqua blue color. This form of cyanobacteria is a typical source of copper with a strong taste.
Health Conditions Related To Excess Copper In The Body
As much as copper deficiency can prove fatal, an excess of copper in the body can have similar levels of detrimental effects.
- Copper Toxicity: An excess of copper in the human body can lead to copper toxicity characterized by vomiting (sometimes even blood), low blood pressure, jaundice, gastrointestinal issues, etc. Copper toxicity can be caused due to excessive intake of copper supplements, drinking contaminated water, or being exposed to fungicides containing copper sulfates.
- Wilson Disease: Another disorder caused by excess copper levels in the body is the Wilson disease which prevents the liver from storing copper in the body and discharging it via excretory processes.
- Other Issues: Excess copper can accumulate in the kidney, brain, and eyes and cause nerve damage. It also interferes with the absorption of zinc and iron into the body leading to other deficiency disorders.
In the case of taking copper supplements, a maximum of 10mg can be taken orally by adults daily. As little as 1 mg of copper sulfate intake can prove to be fatal.
Children can be permitted to take 3 to 8 mg of copper supplements orally based on their age.
Patients undergoing hemodialysis or suffering from Menkes disease (genetic disorder leading to copper deficiency in the body) may need extra copper supplements than recommended for the average adult.
June 15, 2020 Sam Bell