How to Increase Copper in Your Diet

by John Woloch

Copper is a trace mineral in both humans and animals that plays an important physiological role in your body as a scavenger of free radicals. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, copper is a component of the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase, which the cells in your body uses to manufacture adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, an important source of cellular energy. Increasing the amount of copper in your diet is not difficult.

Reduce your intake of supplemental zinc. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, extended intake of 50 mg or more of supplemental zinc per day can lead to copper deficiencies.

Avoid foods that must be cooked for long periods of time. According to Caloderm, cooking navy beans removes half the copper content of the beans.

Avoid overly processed wheat products. Caloderm notes that converting whole wheat to wheat flour can reduce the copper content of the grain by nearly 70 percent.

Add foods that are excellent sources of copper to your daily diet. Look for beef liver, oysters or clams, crab meat, crimini mushrooms, blackstrap molasses and boiled Swiss chard, all of which are excellent copper sources.

Add foods that are very good sources of copper to your daily diet. Choose boiled spinach, sesame seeds, slices of cooked summer squash, boiled asparagus and cashews.

Focus on food sources of copper. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends intake of dietary supplements only under the supervision of your doctor.


  • According to the Linus Pauling Institute, your dietary copper needs will not change as you age. For example, adults 19 years and older, both male and female, have a recommended dietary allowance of 900 micrograms per day.

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About the Author

John Woloch writes professionally for various websites. He has published in the Dutch journal "Crux" and writes frequently on oil painting, classical languages and topics involving math and biochemistry. Woloch holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Chicago, a Master of Arts in classics from Ohio State University and a postbaccalaureate pre-medical degree from Georgetown University.