Top 8 Veggie Foods Rich In Copper Can Help You Mobilize Fat
Dietary copper is found in a wide variety of foods, but did you know that deficiencies can alter the balance of your metabolism? Copper is intimately connected to fat metabolism and frequently consuming foods rich in copper regulates the breakdown of fat.
Copper is a key mineral in many different body systems. It is central to building strong tissue, maintaining blood volume, and producing energy in your cells. Yet, for all its critical importance, you don't have much copper in your body--barely more than the amount found in a single penny. And those pennies in your pocket are only 2.5% copper by weight.
A deficiency in copper can lead to osteoporosis, joint pain, lowered immunity, and since copper is essential for the absorption of iron, anemia.
In the foods we commonly eat, there are only very small amounts of copper. As much as any dietary mineral, the amount of copper you eat is directly related to the amounts of minimally processed plant foods you get every day.
Copper plays two key roles in energy production. First, it helps with incorporation of iron into red blood cells, preventing anemia. Second, it is involved with generation of energy from carbohydrates inside of cells.
Each of these uses of copper also requires iron, and for this reason, the symptoms of copper deficiency can mimic those of low iron intake.
A research team led by a scientist at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and at the University of California, Berkeley, has found that copper plays a key role in metabolizing fat.
The findings in the July print issue of Nature Chemical Biology establishes for the first time copper's role in fat metabolism.
The team of researchers was led by Chris Chang, a faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab's Chemical Sciences Division, a UC Berkeley professor of chemistry and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.
"We find that copper is essential for breaking down fat cells so that they can be used for energy," said Chang. "It acts as a regulator. The more copper there is, the more the fat is broken down. We think it would be worthwhile to study whether a deficiency in this nutrient could be linked to obesity and obesity-related diseases."
Chang said that copper could potentially play a role in restoring a natural way to burn fat. The nutrient is plentiful in foods such as leafy greens, mushrooms, seeds, nuts and beans.
According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, an adult's estimated average dietary requirement for copper is about 700 micrograms per day. The Food and Nutrition Board also found that only 25 percent of the U.S. population gets enough copper daily.
"Copper is not something the body can make, so we need to get it through our diet," said Chang. "The typical American diet, however, doesn't include many green leafy vegetables. Asian diets, for example, have more foods rich in copper."
But Chang cautions against ingesting copper supplements as a result of these study results. Too much copper can lead to imbalances with other essential minerals, including zinc.