Most of us know that copper is a chemical element and important metal. However, copper is also an essential trace element vital to the health of living things. Humans require copper for their metabolic processes and organs to function properly. Like other essential elements and minerals, too much or too little copper in the diet can lead to adverse health. Copper cannot be made in the body and it must be obtained through the diet. The Institute of Medicine recommends a minimum of 900 mcg/day for adults over 18, 890 mcg/day for those between 14-18 years of age, 700 mcg/day between the ages of 9-13, 440 mcg/day between 4-8 years, 340 mcg/day between 1-3 years, 220 mcg/day between 7-12 months of age and 200 mcg/day between birth and 6 months. Copper can be obtained though supplements, but it is recommended that copper comes from the diet.
List of foods high in copper
The very best sources of copper are:
- Shellfish and other seafood
- Organ meats (offal), such as liver and kidneys
- Whole grains (wheat, rye, oats, barley etc)
- Legumes (beans and lentils)
Good sources of copper are:
- Dark leafy greens
- Red Meat
- Many Fruits
- Dried Fruits
- Black Pepper
Rice, chicken and tea are low in copper, but can become an important dietary source if they are consumed in larger than average quantities.
Most people get enough copper through their diet each day. Supplements should not be used without consulting a medical professional!
Did you know?
Copper is naturally found in the Earth’s crust. This means that copper is often found in drinking water and this alone can make up 20-25% of the copper needed each day. Copper tubing has long been used in plumbing, and a small amount of copper may come from this tubing for the first few years.
Infants obtain all of their copper needs through breastmilk. This means that breastfeeding mothers may require more copper during this time.