We eat copper every day. Some of the best dietary sources are seafood, whole grains, lentils, nuts, seeds, cereals, potatoes, peas, chocolate and dark green leafy vegetables. It maintains the human nervous and immune systems. Copper is a vital micro-nutrient that is essential for human health. It is a mineral that is present in various foods that we consume every day. Although it is required in small amounts, it plays a crucial role in maintaining the human immune and nervous systems. Copper also helps to produce red blood cells, collagen, and melanin. Dietary sources of copper are numerous, and it can be found in both plant and animal-based foods. Good sources of copper include seafood, whole grains, lentils, nuts, seeds, cereals, potatoes, peas, chocolate, and dark green leafy vegetables. However, it’s essential to keep in mind that the amount of copper present in these food sources can vary depending on how it’s prepared and cooked.
One of the most important functions of copper is its role in the nervous system. It helps to maintain and repair the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerves. Myelin is a fatty substance that protects the nerves and allows them to communicate effectively. Without proper myelin sheath maintenance, individuals can suffer from various neurological problems such as numbness, tingling sensations, or even seizures. Copper’s role in the immune system is just as important as its role in the nervous system. It helps to produce white blood cells that fight infection and diseases. Studies have also shown that copper has antioxidant properties that protect cells against oxidative damage, which can cause cancer and other chronic diseases.
Copper is also important for the production of red blood cells. Hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body, requires copper to function efficiently. Copper deficiencies can result in anemia, which leads to fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. Collagen, a protein that gives structure and strength to skin, cartilage, and bones, requires copper for its production.
Copper also helps to maintain bone health and prevent osteoporosis, a condition where bones become weak and brittle. Melanin, the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color, is also dependent on copper for its production. Copper deficiencies may lead to de-pigmentation of the skin and hair. Although copper is required in small amounts, its deficiency can cause severe health problems.
Copper deficiencies are rare, but individuals at risk include premature babies, individuals with malnutrition due to restrictive diets, and individuals with gastrointestinal diseases that affect copper absorption. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that too much copper can also be harmful. Copper toxicity can lead to gastrointestinal problems, liver damage, and neurological problems. Excess copper intake typically occurs due to chronic exposure to copper through contaminated drinking water, excessive use of copper supplements, or through copper cookware.
Copper is an essential micro-nutrient required for the proper functioning of the human body. It has vital roles in maintaining the immune and nervous systems, producing red blood cells, collagen, and melanin. A variety of foods, including seafood, whole grains, lentils, nuts, seeds, chocolate, and dark green leafy vegetables, are rich in copper. Although copper deficiencies are rare, it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet to avoid any nutritional deficiencies or toxicities.
This article is brought to you by Sybrina Durant, the author of the middle grade picture book, Magical Elements of the Periodic Table Presented Alphabetically By The Metal Horn Unicorns. In that book and also in The Journey To Osm collection, Copper is presented by the unicorn, Cuprum. Read Cuprum’s Story.