Copper is an essential trace mineral that plays a major role in many body functions. It is present in several of the foods we consume, both plant-based and animal-based. Copper is very helpful in collagen formation and absorption of iron. Hence, ensuring an adequate quantum of copper each day is inevitable.
Discussed below are five plant-based food rich in copper.
In comparison with regular chocolate, the amounts of cocoa solids are much higher in dark chocolate. It also has less sugar and milk than regular chocolate. You will get around 200 % of your daily requirement of copper from a 100-gram bar of dark chocolate. The same quantity of dark chocolate contains around 70-85 % cocoa solids and can provide around 11 grams of fiber, 98 % of your daily manganese requirement, and 67 % of your daily iron requirement.
In addition to several healthy nutrients, dark chocolates also contain high amounts of antioxidants that can help in reducing oxidative stress and preventing many chronic diseases. Some of the recent studies are showing that regular consumption of dark chocolates can help in reducing the risk factors of heart disease. However, you should not consume a high amount of dark chocolate because it is a high-calorie food.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Spinach, kale, collard green, and Swiss chard are some of the most common leafy green vegetables and they are loaded with several healthy nutrients including fiber, calcium, vitamin K, magnesium, folate, and copper. You will get around 33 % of your daily requirement of copper from just one cup of Swiss chard. One cup of cooked spinach can also provide around 33 % of your daily requirement of copper. People often include these healthy leafy green vegetables in their salads or cook them into a stew.
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with several nutrients that can offer a lot of health benefits. They are loaded with nutrients like protein, healthy fats, vitamins, etc. Nuts and seeds also contain a substantial amount of various minerals, including copper. Just one ounce each of cashews and almonds can provide 67 % and 33 % of your daily requirement of copper. Just one tablespoon of sesame seeds can provide around 44 % of your daily requirement of copper. Nuts and seeds are often consumed as healthy plant-based snacks. They can also be included in your salads or baked into bread.
These are a type of edible mushrooms that have a strong umami flavor and are native to East Asia. You will get around 2 grams of fiber, 44 calories, and a wide range of selenium, copper, zinc, folate, manganese, etc. from just four dried shiitake mushrooms. These edible mushrooms are also a great source of vitamin D and B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6. Just 4 dried shiitake mushrooms can provide around 89 % of your daily copper requirement.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga that contains several healthy nutrients. Blue-green algae are also known as cyanobacteria. Spirulina is often available in powdered form. According to historians, ancient Aztecs consumed spirulina. Today, spirulina is one of the most common healthy dietary supplements for astronauts on space missions.
A single tablespoon of spirulina can provide 4 grams of protein, 20 calories, 25 % of your daily vitamin B2 requirement, 17 % of your daily vitamin B1 requirement, and 11 % of your daily iron requirement. You will get around 44 % of your daily requirement of copper from the same quantity of spirulina. People often mix spirulina with water to make a greenish beverage.
A few health benefits offered by copper as follows.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Many studies have linked low levels of copper in your body to high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. A recent study has found that people prone to heart failure can benefit from ingesting copper supplements. Some animal studies are showing that low levels of copper may increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is better to include more copper-rich foods in your plant-based meal.
Improves Immune Function
Recent studies are showing that low levels of copper in your body can lead to neutropenia, which is the deficiency of white blood cells that can help in fighting off infections. If the levels of white blood cells in your body are very low, the risk of getting an infectious disease is very high. You can avoid it by following a copper-rich diet.
Increases Collagen Production
You should note that copper plays an important role in the two major structural components of your body, elastin, and collagen. Some studies are showing that copper has antioxidant properties, which may help in preventing skin aging. If there is no adequate amount of copper in your body, your body cannot replace damaged collagen. This will lead to joint dysfunction and to prevent that you may want to take copper supplements or foods rich in copper.