Copper is a trace essential mineral. It is involved in many physiologic processes, such as angiogenesis (development of blood vessels); neurohormone homeostasis; and regulation of gene expression, brain development, pigmentation, and immune system functioning. In addition, defense against oxidative damage depends mainly on the copper-containing superoxide dismutases. Almost two-thirds of the body’s copper is located in the skeleton and muscle. Only small amounts of copper are typically stored in the body.
Copper status is not routinely assessed in clinical practice. Copper levels can be influenced by other factors, such as estrogen status, pregnancy, infection, inflammation, and some cancers. It is the balance of copper in the body which is the most important.
The following foods are high in copper:
- Dark Chocolate
- Liver/Organ Meats
- Vegetables – Spirulina, Swiss chard or spinach
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, Cashews, sesame seeds
RECIPE – Creamy Coconut Spirulina Superfood Smoothie
Author: Lindsay Cotter
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 smoothies
This superfood smoothie is an easy way to boost Energy and Protein intake with real food. No protein powder needed. A “balanced” creamy Superfood smoothie with coconut milk, spirulina, fruit, avocado, ginger root, and a pinch antioxidant-rich spices! Paleo and Vegan-friendly
2–3 tbsp chilled coconut cream
1 small Avocado
1–2 strips fresh ginger root, or 1 tbsp grated.
1 small orange
1–2 tbsp maple syrup (adjust to sweetness desired)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Pinch of cardamom spice
10 to 14 oz almond or coconut milk (the less you use, the thicker it is)
1 scoop spirulina powder (around 7- 10 grams)
Optional protein powder. See notes
Optional chia seed or topping of choice.
- First make sure to have a can of coconut cream in the fridge. This will help thicken the smoothie when you blend. You can use at room temperature coconut cream but it won’t be as thick. You also have the option of leaving out the coconut cream if desired.
- Next peel your fruits, avocado, and grate your ginger. Place in a blender, add the spirulina last. Blend until smooth and pour into two glasses.
- Add a pinch of spirulina on top and a dash of coconut milk then place a fork in the middle of the cup to “swirl” together if you want that effect.
As a Reminder: Where is Copper Helpful
- BRAIN – The proper copper balance is needed for good brain health. High levels of copper can lead to oxidative damage. Also, excess copper may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
- RED BLOOD CELLS – Copper is involved in the formation of red blood cells, the absorption, and utilization of iron, the metabolism of cholesterol and glucose and the synthesis and release of proteins and enzymes.
- IMMUNE SYSTEM – Copper stimulates the immune system to fight infections, to repair injured tissues and to promote healing. It also helps to neutralize free radicals which can cause severe damage to cells.
Dr. Laurie Goldman is a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and functional medicine practitioner who’s been in private practice since 1999. She founded Clear Path Wellness to help her patients reach their maximum state of mental and physical health using a personalized, comprehensive approach powered by the principles of functional medicine, which treats the whole person, not just symptoms.