Copper is a nutrient that you need for healthy bones, muscles and nerves. Since it’s something that your body cannot manufacture on its own, you need to constantly get your dose of copper by means of the diet. Otherwise, you may end up with deficiency in the said nutrient, affecting your body in a variety of ways, all of which unfavorable.
Studies have shown that only 25 percent of people in the US are getting sufficient amounts of copper. There are a few telltale signs that you may be deficient in this nutrient, and some of them will be discussed later on. First, let us take a look at how much copper is being recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for you to obtain on a daily basis, based on your age, for the attainment of optimum health:
- Infants 6 months and below 200 mcg per day
- Children over 6 months and teens below 14 years of age 220 to 880 mcg per day, depending on the age
- Adolescents between 14 to 18 years of age 890 mcg per day
- Male and female adults 900 mcg per day
- Pregnant women 1000 mcg per day
- Breastfeeding moms 1,300 mcg per day
While it’s definitely true that being deficient in copper is not good for you, getting too much of it is also a bad thing. Such usually happens when taking the said nutrient in supplement form. Some of the short-term symptoms of getting too much copper are vomiting, diarrhea and muscle cramps. On the other hand, long-term indicators of copper overdose include insomnia, high blood pressure, senility, depression and even schizophrenia. In fact, experts say that copper can leave you poisoned if you consume excessive amounts of it.
Other that opting for a diet that does not contain foods with copper, there are a handful of other reasons why an individual may end up with copper deficiency. One of them is Crohn’s disease, a condition characterized by the inflammation of the intestines. A few other digestive problems that involve improper absorption of nutrients in food may also leave you deficient in copper. Experts say that the intake of too much zinc and iron can impede copper absorption.
So what are the signs that your body is not being provided with the right amount of copper it needs? Here are some of them that you should be on the lookout for:
• Paleness. Having pale skin may indicate that you have anemia. Some of the other symptoms associated with this particular health problem include fatigue and shortness of breath.
• Joint pain. Lack of copper in the diet may put you at risk of having arthritis because it is essential for healthy joints. In fact, some doctors use copper to treat arthritis.
• Muscle pain. Your joints are not the only ones affected by copper deficiency, but also your muscles.
• Brittle bones. Everyone knows that calcium is needed for strong bones. Did you know that copper is also vital for keeping your bones less susceptible to being fractured? The said nutrient helps lower your risk of osteoporosis.
• Intolerance to cold. Individuals who are not getting sufficient amounts of copper tend to feel cold all the time.
• Hair thinning. Do you consider your mane as your crowning glory? If so, make sure that your diet consists of copper-rich foods. Copper is important for healthy scalp and hair.
• Skin problems. You may end up having skin sores if you fail to get adequate amounts of copper.
• Weight loss. Are you shedding off pounds without wanting to become slimmer? You may not be getting enough copper on a daily basis via your diet.
As you can see, making sure that your diet contains foods that are rich in copper is a great idea. Fortunately, there are numerous food sources of copper, and many of them may already be on the list of your favorite foods! The following are some of those that you should include in your daily diet to ward off copper deficiency and its accompanying problems:
- Sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds