Copper is a trace mineral, meaning it is needed in a very small quantity. Its primary role is to help form hemoglobin and collagen in the body.
A deficiency in copper results in poorly formed red blood cells, known as anemia. It also is an antioxidant, helping with the elimination of free radicals.
Copper deficiency symptoms can include increased parasitic infections, weakness from anemia and leaky gut.
Copper must stay in balance with zinc and iron in the body as well and if you consume too much of one it can throw the others out of balance.
The RDA for copper is 900 mcg/day. The Daily Value is 2 mg.
Top 10 Copper Rich Foods List
1) Beef liver3 oz: 14 mg (over 100% DV)
2) Sunflower seeds¼ cup: 0.63 mg (31% DV)
3) Lentils1 cup: 0.5mg (25% DV)
4) Almonds¼ cup: 0.4 mg (20% DV)
5) Dried apricots1 cup: 0.69mg (34% DV)
6) Dark chocolate1 square: 0.9 mg (45% DV)
7) Blackstrap molasses2 tsp: 0.28 mg (14% DV)
8) Asparagus1 cup: 0.25 (12% DV)
9) Mushrooms1 cup: 0.43 mg (20% DV)
10) Turnip greens1 cup, cooked: 0.36 (18% DV)
Copper Health Benefits
Brain HealthHigh Copper foods stimulate higher-level thought processes and mental functioning. It has been called a “brain food” because it helps enable certain neural pathways that promote out of the box thinking. A lack of copper during growth may result in incomplete brain and nerve development.
Slows AgingCopper is a powerful antioxidant that protects cells against free radical damage. It can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, age spots, and even macular-degeneration.
Energy MaintenanceCopper plays a role in the synthesis of ATP, the primary molecule of energy storage in our bodies. Without adequate copper, the mitochondria (the cell’s energy producer) are unable to adequately produce ATP, leaving us feeling lethargic and tired. Also, copper helps us utilize iron properly, which helps reduce anemia that can also affect energy levels.
Top Food Sources of Zinc
High-protein foods contain the highest amounts of naturally occurring zinc. Here are the top 12 food sources of zinc, although keep in mind the absorption rate of zinc is best from foods that don’t contain any nutrients, which are usually animal-based as opposed to plant-based (percentages below are based on the average adult women’s RDI of 8 milligrams/day):
Vitamin D also helps with cell replication, and may play a role in the development of autoimmune conditions. The RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU/day and the Daily Value is 400 IU.
Top 10 Vitamin D Rich Foods
1) SunlightPromotes vitamin D synthesis from cholesterol in the skin.
2) Cod liver oil1 tsp: 440 IU (over 100% DV)
3) Sardines3 ounces: 164 IU (41% DV)
4) Salmon3 ounces: 400 IU (100% DV)
5) Mackerel3 ounces: 400 IU (100% DV)
6) Tuna3 ounces: 228 IU (57% DV)
7) Raw Milk1 cup: 98 IU (24% DV)
8) Caviar1 oz: 33 IU (8% DV)
9) Eggs1 large: 41 IU (10% DV)
10) Mushrooms1 cup: 2 IU (1% DV)
Top Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Weight managementVitamin D deficiency has been connected to obesity and difficulty losing weight. One study found that women who had higher levels of vitamin D on a calorie-controlled diet lost more weight than those with lower levels of the vitamin.
At this time, it is unclear if vitamin D deficiency causes obesity or if obesity leads to vitamin D deficiency. Overall, if you are having difficulty losing weight, you may want to consider getting your vitamin D level checked.
Nervous system and CancerSeveral studies have shown that people with lower levels of vitamin D perform poorly on standardized exams, may have poor decision making skills, and have difficulty with tasks that require focus and attention.
Also, several studies have found that healthy levels of vitamin D reduce cancer risk especially for cancer of the colon and breast.
Bone and Muscle HealthConsuming more high vitamin D foods plays a key role in calcium absorption and helps keep bones strong. It may also help maintain healthy muscles throughout life. Older adults with adequate vitamin D levels are more likely to be active, have improved muscle strength, and are less prone to falls.