Food consists of various essential compounds and nutrients. One of the essential nutrients is copper. This type of nutrient is important to boost your health. People who a have problem with red blood cells can try to eat food with a high level of copper. Indeed, copper has a lot of benefits for your body. Let’s discuss copper in food, food high in copper, and its benefits for your health.

About Copper in Food

Copper is one of the most important essential minerals in the body. Due to its important role, copper is available in all body tissues. Copper is also in your liver, brain, heart, kidneys, and skeletal muscle.  The main role is to make red blood cells. That’s why people who lack red blood cells should eat food contain copper.

This mineral also has an important role to maintain nerve cells and boost the immune system. You should eat food high in copper is you feel exhausted. This nutrient will boost your energy back. You can also increase the level of collagen by eating food with copper. Copper can also help your body metabolism to absorb iron maximally. The combination of copper and iron creates red blood cells faster.

The Health Benefits of Copper

Prevent High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, and Heart Failure

Copper has a lot of benefits for your health. It is not only producing red blood cells but also good for all parts of the body. Based on research, the normal level of copper in the body can reduce the risks of high cholesterol, heart failure, and high blood pressure. Commonly, people with high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure have low copper levels.

Fight Against Infectious Diseases

This essential nutrient is also useful to fight against infectious diseases. Copper work by adding white blood cells or neutrophils. You will have a good immune system if your body has enough neutrophils levels. The better your immune system, the stronger your body to fight against infectious disease. On the other hand, lack of copper triggers a deficiency of white blood cells. It means you are suffered from neutropenia that weakens the immune system. The weaker the immune system, the easier your body attacked by infectious diseases.

Reduce the Risk of Osteoporosis

If you want to have healthy bones even in your elderly period, you should eat food consists of copper. Keep your body has enough copper because it reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Having enough copper means that your bones have enough essential minerals. It keeps your bones healthy. People with osteoporosis often lack copper and low mineral density. 

Boost Collagen Production

Most people want to have glowing and healthy skin, right? The key to achieving glowing and healthy skin is keeping the collagen and elastin levels in the skin. One of the ways to keep the collagen and elastin in the skin is by keeping the level of copper in the body. This beneficial nutrient may have antioxidant properties to boost the growth of collagen and elastin. As a result, your skin looks clean with fewer wrinkles, dark spots, acne, and other skin problems.     

Protect Your Body with Antioxidant

Free radicals are a serious health issue. It triggers cells and DNA damage. The more cells and DNA damage in your body, the higher the risk of suffering from cancer and other deadly diseases. You can prevent the impacts of free radicals by using antioxidants. Copper is the source of antioxidant that helps to prevent free radicals and its negative effects.

Good for Brain

The brain has a specific amount of copper, especially in the basal ganglia, hippocampus, cerebellum, and synaptic membranes. That’s why a lack of copper has negative impacts on the brain. Just eat food that rich in copper to keep your brain healthy. A healthy brain works well, especially on oxidative metabolism. It is the process where your brain consumes oxygen. This process needs enough copper, iron, and zinc.

Boost Energy

Copper helps your body to produce ATP or Adenosine Triphosphate. This is the energy of the cells. This essential nutrient will go to mitochondria and boost your energy. At the same time, copper helps to build cytochrome c oxidase or COX. It is a large protein complex in mitochondria. COX forms the last step of the electron transport chain and produces energy.

Food High in Copper

Foods High in Copper

You can eat food high in copper to fill the need for this essential nutrient a day. Here, we show you some ingredients that have a high level of copper. Those ingredients can fulfill copper in your body to improve your immunity and metabolism.

1. Oysters

Those who love to eat seafood will be familiar with Oysters. This is healthy food due to its essential nutrients and compounds. This ingredient is rich in zinc, selenium, and Vitamin B12. Another good side of this food is its calorie level. Oysters are good for diet because it has low calories level. How about the copper level? Oysters are also a good source of copper. Anytime you eat around 100 grams or 3.5 ounces it means you get up to 7.6 mg of copper.

The drawback is that oysters have a high level of cholesterol, so you still have to maintain the portion while eating it. Due to the cholesterol level, Oysters are good for people who want to raise their blood cholesterol levels. Some restaurants serve oysters as one of their signature dishes. You can eat this ingredient raw or cooked. Just be careful with the poisoning effect.

2. Shiitake Mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most popular edible mushrooms, especially in east Asia. The main character is on its strong umami flavor. This ingredient has various essential compounds such as calories, fiber, selenium, manganese, zinc, folate, and vitamins B1, B5, B6, and D.  You only need to eat around 15 grams or 4 dried shiitake mushrooms to fulfill the need of copper a day. It is a good alternative for those who don’t like seafood, but you have to increase the level of copper in the body.

3. Lobster

Oysters are not the only seafood that boosts your copper level. Lobster is also the source of copper. You can eat this ingredient if you want to find a slice of healthy meat. The truth is that lobster has low a level of fat. On the other hand, it is the source of protein, vitamin B12, minerals, and selenium. Indeed, lobster also contains copper. Just serve 85 grams or 3 ounces of lobster to fill the copper level in your body a day. Just watch out on the high cholesterol level. You must maintain the portion if you include this seafood on your menu.

4. Leafy Greens

It doesn’t matter if you are a vegan. You can still fill the level of copper by eating leafy greens. You can eat some vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. Those vegetables are also rich in fiber, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and folate. A cup of leafy greens or 173 grams a day is enough to achieve the sufficient copper level. You can enjoy leafy greens as a salad.

5. Dark Chocolate

Interestingly, dark chocolate is also a good ingredient for those who need to boost copper in the body. Dark chocolate is a little bit different than regular chocolates, especially on the level of milk and sugar. Dark chocolate has less milk and sugar and higher amounts of cocoa solids. Because of the composition, this ingredient consists of antioxidants, fiber, and other essential nutrients.

Eating a bar or around 100 grams of dark chocolate can increase copper in your body significantly. It triggers antioxidants in the body. It is believed that dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease risk factors. Just be careful with the calorie and fat levels.

6. Seeds and Nuts

Besides consuming leafy greens, you can also eat seeds and nuts. 1 ounce of seeds and nuts gives you up to 519 mcg of copper. You can get this valuable nutrient from sunflower, cashews, peanut butter, almonds, and hazelnuts. That’s why dieters often consume seeds and nuts in their diet plan, especially for healthy snacks.

7. Beans        

Vegans can also eat beans to fill the need for copper in the body. You can eat various beans such as chickpeas, lentils, pinto beans, and white beans. Beans provide enough fiber and protein for your body. Indeed, this ingredient will also keep your copper level normal. A cup of beans or around 100 grams produces around 125 mcg up to 305 mcg or even 1.000 mcg of copper. It depends on the type of beans you eat.

8. Potato Skins

Don’t clean the potato skin from now. Just cook potatoes with their skins. This is because potato skins are the source of copper. Just imagine that 100 grams of potato contain up to 900 mcg of copper. You will get an extra 300 mcg from the skins.

9. Avocados

For those who love to eat fruit, don’t miss to eat avocado. This fruit is considered one of the superfoods. It has various essential nutrients and compounds, including copper. A medium avocado provides you with approximately 400 mcg of copper.         

10. Sundried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes have a lot of benefits for your health. This ingredient is the source of magnesium, potassium, iron, and copper. A cup of sun-dried tomatoes fills up to 768 mcg of copper a day. You should buy organic and unsalted to get the benefits maximally. It is better not to buy sun-dried tomatoes with oil because it is low in nutrients. You can enjoy this ingredient along with pasta, salad, or pizza.

11. Quinoa

Those who find a healthier option of rice substitution can eat quinoa. This ingredient is even a better option than rice. Every 100 grams of cooked quinoa provides 192 mcg of copper. You will also get more benefits that you can’t get from rice.

12. Spirulina

It is a blue-green alga and made from cyanobacteria. The best part of this ingredient is that you will get copper and other nutritious compounds. At the same time, it is a low calories ingredient. You can add spirulina in smoothies or other healthy beverages. It is not only boosting the health benefits but also the flavor. Spirulina makes your smoothies taste more delicious than before.  

Copper-Related Disorder

You still have to maintain the level of copper in your body, although this compound is good for your health. Too much copper triggers various disorders. At the same time, the lack of copper can also lead to various diseases. So, you have to make sure that your body has a normal copper level.

The Risk of Too Much Copper in the Body

Here, we show you the risks if your body contains a lot of copper or higher than the standard.

Wilson’s Disease

People can be suffered from Wilson’s Disease if they have higher copper levels than standard, especially on the brain, liver, and corneas. As a result, they will suffer from liver disease and central nervous system dysfunction. You have to go to the doctor right away. Let the doctors treat you to lower the copper level back to the normal level.

The risks of Copper Deficiency

– Menkes Disease

If your body only has little copper, you can be suffered from Menkes Disease. The lack of copper triggers the mutation of the ATP7A gene. This mutation disturbs the copper distribution. Because of that, people with Menkes Disease often sparse, have kinky hair, a problem with their nervous system, and lack of collagen.

– Celiac Disease

People who suffer from Celiac Disease often have a copper deficiency. They only have less than 70 mcg/dL in men and less than 170 mcg/dL in women. The characteristic of this disease is the intestinal malabsorption. They have to go to the doctor to get copper supplements to boost the level back to normal.  

– Other Health Problems

Copper inadequacy strongly related to several health problems. People who lack copper will suffer from anemia, hypopigmentation, hypercholesterolemia, connective tissue disorders, osteoporosis, abnormal lipid metabolism, ataxia, and infections.

The Normal Standard of Copper in the Body

So, how much copper you should have in your body? Your body needs approximately 70 up to 140 mcg/dL. If the level is higher than 140 mcg/dL in your blood, it means you are suffered from copper toxicity. You will suffer from several symptoms such as headaches, fever, passing out, feeling sick, throwing up, black poop, and yellowing of eyes and skin or Jaundice.

Sometimes, this condition affects your mental. You feel more anxious, hard to concentrate, overwhelmed, sad, and depressed. You have to seek help immediately otherwise, it triggers serious health problems, including kidney and liver failures, heart failure, and brain failure. Your doctor will suggest you to take several tests. You have to take blood tests, urine tests, and tissue sample or biopsy.

Those who are diagnosed with copper toxicity should take several treatments such as chelation, gastric lavage, medications, and hemodialysis. Let say, the doctor will inject chelators into your bloodstream. This process helps to bond copper in your blood. In gastric lavage or stomach pumping, the doctor pumps the copper in your stomach using a suction tube. the doctor also suggests you take oral medications such as penicillamine or Cuprimine or dimercaprol or BAL in oil. For those who take hemodialysis, it means you have to remove the blood and filter out waste. The clean blood is pumping back to your body.  

On the other hand, if your copper level is below 70 mcg/dL it means you are suffered from copper deficiency. You will also feel some symptoms if you lack copper in the body. Let say, you feel exhausted and weak. This is because your body can’t absorb iron well. As a result, your body is unable to carry enough oxygen to its tissues. You will also have a problem with your immunity. It makes you get sick frequently. You may have difficulty to walk because enzymes can’t support the spinal cord maximally. If you are sensitive to cool temperatures, you may suffer from copper deficiency.

The lower the copper level, the lower the level of zinc. Copper and zinc have an important role in maintaining the thyroid gland function and thyroid hormones. People with a copper deficiency often have pale skin. This is because the skin doesn’t produce enough pigment melanin due to the lack of copper in the body.

You may also have a problem with vision. Commonly, it happens when you don’t treat this problem for so long. The main problem is that it attacks your nervous system. The treatment depends on the level of copper in your body. You only have to stop zinc supplements if your body contains too much zinc. The doctor also suggests you consume copper supplements such as copper gluconate, copper sulfate, and copper chloride.

You only have to consume 2 mg of copper per day to increase its level back to normal. You can eat food contains copper to boost the result. You should do the treatment around 4 up to 12 weeks.Now you know the importance of copper for the body. You only have to make sure that the copper level is normal. Too much copper triggers copper toxicity whereas too low copper triggers copper deficiency. The good thing is that you can control the copper level by eating food high in copper.