The health benefits of copper

You’ve probably never given too much thought about the importance of copper, but it is an essential mineral for your survival.

Your body stores copper in the liver, brain, heart, kidneys and skeletal muscle.

It is integral for preventing premature ageing and increasing energy production, and additional health benefits of copper include regulated heart rhythm, balanced thyroid glands, reduced symptoms of arthritis, increased red blood cell formation, lower cholesterol and increased wound healing.

No wonder not getting enough of the stuff can cause a few health issues. The daily recommended intake of copper for men and women 60 years and older is around 900mcg/day.

Food sources of copper

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There are a few foods you can get a decent source of copper from. The main ones are meat, seafood and poultry products. Of course if you don’t eat meat you’ll be looking for your sources of copper from nuts and seeds and whole grains. You’ll also find copper in asparagus, mushrooms and — good news — dark chocolate!

One square of dark chocolate will give you around 0.9mg (or 45 per cent of your daily requirement) copper. You’ll get 100 per cent of your daily intake from around 85g of beef liver. One cup of mushrooms will provide you with 0.43mg of copper (or 20 per cent of your daily requirement). While 1 cup of dried apricots has 0.69mg (or 34 per cent of the daily requirement).

Identifying a copper deficiency

Some of the most common symptoms and signs of a copper deficiency include fatigue, arthritis, osteoporosis, low body temperature (always feeling cold), anaemia, brittle bones, muscle soreness and joint pain, hair thinning or balding, unexplained weight loss, bruising, and skin inflammation and sores.

Have you ever had a copper deficiency? Do you eat a lot of copper-rich foods?