Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep, and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.
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When it comes to copper, neither excessive intake nor a deficiency is good for your health. But it’s an important mineral to take through foods.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus has shifted to diet and healthy eating in the last two years. People are now more careful about their daily diet and nutrient intake. When it comes to healthy eating, to keep our energy level high and immunity strong, it’s important to include all the essential nutrients, natural sugar, vitamins and minerals. While some people pay more attention to their vitamin intake, they tend to forget minerals in their diet. However, minerals are also important for your body to stay healthy. And copper is one mineral you must be mindful of.
Why your body needs copper?
Like all the other nutrients, copper is also essential for survival. It is an essential trace mineral that is necessary for many body functions such as energy production, boosting brain health, and supporting your immune system, bones and nerves. Moreover, you need copper because it works with iron to help the body form red blood cells and tissues.
To understand more about copper, HealthShots got in touch with Deepti Khatuja, Head Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram. She says, “Copper is one of the trace elements which our body needs in small amounts, but it is very important to keep us healthy.”
Here’s why copper is so important for your health:
- Copper is needed by different enzymes in our body, which in turn are involved in a wide range of functions. For example, copper helps our bodies produce energy and helps to form important neurotransmitters, which support the healthy function of our brain and nervous system.
- Copper is also needed to form our connective tissue, supports the production of melanin in our skin, and helps the transport of iron in the body.
- Copper works with iron to help the body form red blood cells. It also helps keep the blood vessels, nerves, immune system, and bones healthy.
- Copper also aids in iron absorption.
Keep in mind that deficiency of copper can result in anemia, vascular complications, osteoporosis, and neurological manifestations. It is needed only in small amounts, but plays a vital role in day-to-day body functions. Also, both deficiency and excess of copper is harmful and can impact one’s health. So, consume it in moderation.
Also, note, your body cannot make its own copper, so it is important that you get it from foods. Foods rich in copper include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and meats that contain good amounts of copper.
Good food sources of copper:
Copper is a mineral that is found in several types of seafood including oysters, a type of shellfish. Oysters provide 7.6 mg per 100 grams which can fulfill your daily copper requirement. Moreover, oysters are also a good source of vitamin D, zinc, and manganese.
2. Dark leafy greens
Green vegetables such as spinach and raw kale are really very nutritious and also have a very high copper content with low calories. In addition, they are also rich in nutrients like fiber, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium and folate which can help in producing blood cells, preventing anemia, and strengthening bones.
3. Dry fruits
Dry fruits are tiny, but are a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals. They help in several body functions because they’re high in fibre, protein, healthy fats and vitamins and minerals. Nuts such as cashew and almonds contain large amounts of copper and are a great vegetarian source of copper.
Seeds such as sesame seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds are edible and have higher amounts of copper in them. Vegetarians can munch on nuts and seeds to take their daily dose of copper.
5. Dark chocolate
When it comes to chocolate’s nutritional value, darker is always better. Yes, consuming dark chocolate is very nutritious as it is a powerful source of antioxidants, improves blood flow and helps in reducing blood pressure.
So include copper in your daily diet to stay healthy!
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