Top 28 foods rich in copper (2023)

Are you getting enough copper in your diet? In this post, we discuss the importance of copper and the top 28 copper-rich foods to keep you healthy and feeling great. Let's begin!

The importance of copper

Our bodies require many important vitamins and minerals to function. One of the lesser known essential minerals present in all tissues of our bodies is the element copper. The body does not produce copper, so it must be obtained from the diet. The World Health Organization recommends that the average adult consume approximately2 mg of copper per day, which is equivalent to 2,000 mcg of copper (1 mg = 1,000 mcg).

According to the Food and Nutrition Board, your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for copper is 900 mcg per day for adults. If pregnant, the RDA is 1,000 mcg per day and a higher intake of 1,300 mcg per day for breastfeeding mothers.

Copper has manyhealth benefits. Copper is necessary for iron metabolism, neuroendocrine function, immunity and cell renewal. Getting the right amount of copper in your body can contribute to your overall health, so it's important to add copper-containing foods to your daily diet. There are five main physiological benefits of copper.

Improves brain health

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Did you know that copper foods are considered brain foods? copper ispresent throughout the brain, particularly in the basal ganglia, hippocampus, cerebellum, numerous synaptic membranes, and in the cell bodies of cerebellar granules and pyramidal cortical neurons. Copper is also an enzyme cofactor for proper bodily function.

If you want a healthy brain, make sure you consume copper regularly. Recent studies have also shown that copperplays a role in brain healtheven when we are at rest. The brain consumes 20% of the oxygen it takes in through breathing. This oxidative metabolism requires the highest levels of copper, iron and zinc in your body.According to Chrish Chang, lead scientist in the Division of Chemical Sciences at Berkeley Lab, "[t]oditionally, copper has been viewed as a static metabolic cofactor that must be buried within enzymes to protect against the generation of reactive oxygen species. ". radical damage. We show that loose and dynamic copper stores can also modulate neural activity and are essential for normal synapses and circuitry development."

Promotes energy maintenance

Research has also shown that the element copper plays an important role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of the cell. It has beenanimals and laboratory studieswho showed that inadequate copper can limit mitochondrial ATP production. This leads to the feeling of fatigue.

It was also recently discoveredHow copper is transported into mitochondriaangiving researchers more information about copper's role in energy production. Copper is needed to build cytochrome c oxidase, known as COX, a large complex of proteins in mitochondria that forms the last step in the electron transport chain, harvesting energy for the production of ATP.

supports immunity

Zinc and copper are bothessential for optimal immune function. Deficiency of both trace elements increases the body's vulnerability to bacterial infections. Previous studies have shown how copper deficiency can cause a decrease in neutrophils and macrophages. These immune cells coordinate to create aeffective answeragainst bacteria and other infections in the body.

(Video) Top 20 Foods High in Copper

Your body has an intelligent innate immune system made up of cells and proteins designed to defend against foreign organisms. The first line of defense is epithelial cells. Once these cells break down, neutrophils and macrophages will help fight the infection. Mild copper deficiency has been shown to be associated with a decrease in circulating neutrophils in the body. Copper deficiency can also lead to poor neutrophil function.

supports metabolism

Copper not only helps with your brain and immunity, but it is also aendogenous regulator of lipolysis. Lipolysis is the breakdown of fat that involves the hydrolysis of triglycerides into glycerol and free fatty acids, an essential process for maintaining body weight and energy stores. This was studied by scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, led by Christopher J. Chang, Ph.D. in an article published in Nature Chemical Biology. Based on research carried out in mice, they discovered that copper binds to the PDE3 enzyme, which in turn binds to cyclic AMP (cAMP), an intracellular messenger. CAMP facilitates the breakdown of fats. PDE3 does not bind cAMP if there is no copper, which means that lipolysis cannot occur. If the fat in the cell is not broken down, fat deposits increase. This means you need to make sure your body is getting its recommended daily intake of copper.

protect the heart

There are many properties of copper that affect the body, including the heart. There are hundreds of copper-dependent proteins in the body, even with a low dietary requirement. Copper deficiency can cause a reduction in metabolism and energy supply to the heart. You can also increase therisk of ischemic heart disease. A study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine showed how copper-rich foods canbe good to a sick heart. The study suggests that consuming more copper in the diet may help people with heart muscle problems.

Improves skin health

A healthy adult would have a composition of 110 mg of copper, of which 15% would be in the skin. Copperhelps stimulate the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts, regulates collagen and serves as a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase in the skin. It also inhibits cellular oxidative effects such as membrane damage and lipid peroxidation. Copper's properties have made it an important mineral for skin health.

The 28 Best Foods Rich in Copper

Since your body cannot produce copper, you must get it from the food you eat. Knowing the sources of copper in your diet can help you maintain optimal copper levels. Here are 28 of the best dietary sources of copper. Check your diet to see if you are getting enough copper on a regular basis.

Oysters, Crab, Lobster and Fish

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Copper is abundant in many types of shellfish, including oysters. Enjoying a medium-sized oyster will provide you with 670 mcg of copper.

There are different types of oysters that you can add to your meal. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, you can find the highest natural concentration of copper in the eastern oyster. Consuming a 3-ounce serving of cooked oriental oysters can provide 4851 mcg of copper! Just make sure your oysters haven't been breaded or fried, as this can affect the nutritional content of the oysters and decrease copper absorption.

Crabs are also a great source of copper. A 3-ounce serving of crab will provide you with 585 mcg of copper. Crab is low in fat, high in protein and also an excellent source of copper. You can serve them alone or as an accompaniment to a soup or bisque.

Additionally, a 3-ounce serving of lobster will provide approximately 400 mcg of copper. However, although lobster is low in fat and high in protein, it does contain a significant amount of dietary cholesterol, so eat it in moderation.

(Video) Foods Rich In Copper

As an alternative to shelled shellfish, you canYou can also increase your copper intake by increasing your fish intake, particularly salmon and tuna.

organ meat

The richest known dietary source of copper is beef liver. Beef liver contains 4,000 mcg of copper in each ounce. Beef heart and kidneys are also rich in copper. The liver of different animals varies in terms of copper content. Calf liver contains twice as much as beef liver, while the latter has three times more copper than pork liver. Other nutrient-packed organ meats, including copper, are tongue, tripe, kidney and heart.

Seeds and Nuts

If you're a vegetarian, you can get your copper from nuts and seeds. For every 1-ounce serving, you can get 519 mcg of copper from sunflower seeds and 629 mcg from cashews. Enjoy a peanut butter sandwich and get up to 185 mcg of copper for every two tablespoons of peanut butter chunks.

Also consider eating almonds and hazelnuts to further increase the copper content in your diet. Whole almonds can provide 1,000 mcg of copper per 100 gram serving. Additionally, a 100 gram packet of poppy seeds can also provide 1,700 mcg of copper.


In addition to seeds and nuts, beans are another excellent vegetarian source of copper. There are also a variety of different options to include in your meals.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are not only a great source of fiber and protein, but can also provide 305 mcg of copper per 100 grams when cooked. Lentils are often used in soups and stews. Choose sprouted lentils over dried lentils as they provide more copper per serving. Sprouted lentils can provide 271 mcg of copper per 100-gram serving compared to their dried counterpart, which only has 125 mcg per 100-gram serving.

Other beans high in copper include pinto beans and navy beans, which can provide 1,000 mcg of copper per 100-gram serving.

Kale, chard and spinach

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There are also vegetables with a high content of copper. Raw kale contains 1,409 mcg of copper per 100 grams. Raw kale is preferred over frozen kale, which contains only 46 mcg of copper per 100 grams.In addition, chard, cooked, provides more than a third of theyour daily copper intake.

For a change, also try to include spinach in your diet, which can be fresh or cooked. Spinach is high in fiber and packed with nutrients like vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and folic acid, yet has minimal calories. When it comes to copper, one cup of cooked spinach provides over 300 mcg of copper.


Other copper-rich vegetables include cooked asparagus and fresh parsley.

Potato peel

Other vegetables rich in copper are potatoes. However, be sure to cook the potatoes with their skin still on, as most of the copper in potatoes is in the skin. You can get 900 mcg of copper per 100 grams of potato, 300 mcg of which is in the skin alone! The same goes for sweet potatoes.


Is it surprising that avocados are also rich in copper? This miracle food has it all! Eating a single avocado will provide approximately 400 mcg of copper.

Setas Shiitake

Shiitake mushrooms are known for their rich texture and smoky flavor. They are said to be 10 times tastier than popular mushrooms. Not only are they tasty, but they are also packed with health-boosting properties that have been used since the times of ancient medicine. The same goes for dietary copper: you can get 650 mcg of copper for every 1/2 cup of cooked shiitake mushrooms, which is 72% of the recommended daily intake of copper.

dry tomatoes

If you like pasta, salad or pizza, be sure to include sun-dried tomatoes. One cup of sun-dried tomatoes provides 768 mcg of copper. They also contain magnesium, potassium and iron. Avoid buying dried tomatoes packed in oil, as this variety is often low in nutrients and quality. Buy unsalted organic varieties at your local market or health food store.

chocolate negro

You've probably heard that dark chocolate is the healthiest type of chocolate. It's packed with nutrients including copper, iron and zinc. Enjoying a 3-ounce dark chocolate bar will provide you with 750 mcg of copper. Several studies have shown that dark chocolate is the biggest contributor to copper intake in the American diet. Some people get over 50% of their daily copper from chocolate! While it may be tempting to turn to chocolate to boost your copper intake, remember to do so in moderation or choose a low-fat, low-sugar option.


Quinoa has many health benefits and can be a good substitute for rice. It can also be a good source of copper in your daily diet. For every 100 grams of cooked quinoa, you can get 192 mcg of copper. You can also combine quinoa with any of the other copper-rich foods, such as shellfish and liver, for a complete and delicious meal.


If you like porridge, consider replacing traditional oatmeal with gluten-free buckwheat. Buckwheat is a good alternative to cereals. Contains 0.25 mg of copper for every cup of cooked buckwheat. You can even fry buckwheat together with dark leafy greens, which are also rich in copper.


Spirulina is made from cyanobacteria, which are blue-green algae. It is very nutritious and also has a very high copper content with few calories. It's usually a great addition to smoothies or other healthy drinks, as its flavor can be quite strong on its own.

copper related disorders

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(Video) Top Copper Rich Foods

Too much or too little copper can be dangerous for your body. There are many disorders associated with copper levels that indicate that we must have adequate amounts of copper in the body.

Copper absorption depends onfour main factors: 1) the absorption of copper from the gastrointestinal tract; 2) transport of copper in portal blood; 3) copper extraction by hepatocytes from the portal blood supply; 4) copper uptake by peripheral tissues and the central nervous system.

Adults and children can be prone to copper deficiency. For children, the deficiency can lead to slower growth and development. For adults, there are numerous problems that can arise, including anemia, heart and circulatory problems, bone abnormalities, and nervous and immune system complications. Here are two well-known copper disorders you should be aware of.

Wilson's disease

Wilson's disease wasfirst defined in 1912by Samuel Alexander Kinnier Wilson through his published work entitled "Progressive Lenticular Degeneration: A Familial Nervous Disease Associated with Cirrhosis of the Liver". It is characterized by excess copper stored in various body tissues, particularly the liver, brain and corneas of the eyes. If left untreated, it can cause liver disease, central nervous system dysfunction and death. Studies have determined that it is caused by disruption or mutation of the ATP7B gene, which plays a role in moving excess copper from the liver to be converted into bile and eventually excreted from the body through the intestines. Treatment of Wilson's disease is aimed at reducing copper levels to non-toxic levels.

health minister

According to the World Health Organization, there are more health risks from a lack of copper than from an excess of copper in the body. Menkes disease iscaused by copper deficiency. In particular, it is caused by mutation of the ATP7A gene which is involved in delivering copper to secreted copper enzymes and exporting excess copper into the cell. The mutation causes a poor distribution of copper in the body's cells, leading to low levels of copper in the brain and other tissues. This disease is characterized by thinning, frizzy hair and deterioration of the nervous system. Sufferers also have reduced collagen formation.

Put off

The next time you plan your meals for the week, make sure you're getting enough copper in your diet. Copper-rich foods are not hard to find, but they are often not eaten regularly either. Use the list above to plan new meal ideas to ensure you meet your copper needs.

If you're looking for another great source of copper, consider drinking water from acopper water bottle. Several recent studies have shown that drinking water stored in a copper vessel is safe and beneficial to health. Storing water in a copper bottle also helps createnatural alkaline waterwhich has many health benefits.

About the Authors: This article was collaboratively written by our team of researchers and writers with the benefit ofall availablescientific studies and other relevant literature. Our team of researchers and writers includes health expertsresearchers, including aqualified medical professional.Please note that the information contained in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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