Copper is one of those minerals your body needs but does not make. Hence, the only way to fulfill the daily requirement is to source it from the food you eat. To add, the excess is not stored in the body; it is eliminated. The role of this mineral in healthy growth and development cannot be overlooked. Here is a list of the health benefits of copper.
The Benefits of Copper
Relieves symptoms of arthritis
Calcium takes the credit as the bone mineral. However, copper has a role to play too. It maintains bone and tissue integrity by promoting collagen production. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it an effective cure for arthritis. It alleviates symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness.
A copper deficiency increases the risk of osteoporosis and can cause brittle bones.
Copper plays a key role in the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). It is a molecule that stores energy. When the body breaks down food, the nutrients – glucose, fat and amino acids get converted into ATP and are stored in the mitochondria. This is where your body gets the energy from to perform metabolic activities, cellular repair and regeneration and reproduction. It also speeds up the process by which molecular oxygen is reduced to water, a process that takes place alongside the synthesis of ATP. Thus, with the right amount of copper, your body will never run out of its fuel.
Iron Absorption and Anemia
Copper improves the absorption of iron from food sources. A deficiency results in a drastic dip in the iron levels leading to anemia. If you have anemia, you will feel lethargic, suffer impaired brain function, experience muscle aches and digestive problems. Copper teams up with iron to produce red blood cells and hemoglobin. In doing so, it increases your red blood cell count, preventing anemia.
Brain and Nervous Functions
Copper, in the right quantity, impacts neural pathways. The neurotransmitters control and support various functions such as maintaining energy levels, enhancing mood, improving focus and concentration, developing cognitive abilities and the likes. In other words, it stimulates your brain.
Recent studies have also shown that increasing your intake of copper can prevent neurodegenerative diseases. This includes Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The nerves have an outer protective sheath of myelin. It degenerates as you age. Copper preserves this sheath, promoting nervous health. For all these reasons, copper is referred to as “brain food”.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above copper reduces bad cholesterol, supports thyroid function and guarantees healthy hair, skin and eyes.
Natural Sources of Copper
- Excellent sources: Sesame seeds, cashew nuts, soy beans and lentils have the highest proportion of copper.
- Animal sources: Beef liver, and goat cheese
- Sea food: Oysters, shrimp
- Grains and seeds: Oats, quinoa, barley, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, chia seeds,
- Nuts: Almonds and walnuts
- Beans: Garbanzo beans and lima beans
- Others: Shiitake mushrooms, kale, raisins and avocado
There is one more way to add a dose of copper to your daily intake. You can drink water kept overnight in a copper tumbler or eat food cooked in copper pots and pans. You can also wear a copper bracelet as it is claimed copper is absorbed through the skin.
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