20 Best Foods High In Copper And Their Health Benefits

It's time to load up on lobster, seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, and more!

Reviewed by Dr. Pallavi Srivastava, Clinical Nutritionist
Written by Sindhu Koganti, BTech (Biotechnology), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach
Edited by Ravi Teja Tadimalla, BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health
Fact-checked by Moksha Gandhi, BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach  • 

Copper is an important dietary mineral that plays a key role in performing bodily functions. It is needed by your body in trace amounts and is vital for maintaining optimal health. Many foods are high in copper, and it is a readily available mineral. Foods including wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and meat can offer copper. This mineral helps support brain health, improves immune system function, promotes energy levels, and helps in red blood cell production. This article explores the foods rich in copper and their benefits. Keep reading to know what foods have copper.

Foods High In Copper

1. Oysters

Cooked oysters are high in copper
Image: Shutterstock

Oysters are saltwater shellfish that are highly nutritious. Cooked oysters have exceptional amounts of copper. While oysters are available in various types, the Eastern oysters are the richest in copper. These copper-containing foods contain 4,800 micrograms of copper per every 100-gram serving (1). Oysters are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that help keep the heart healthy and may help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes (2), (3), (4).

Note: Don’t consume raw oysters as they can cause infections in humans (5).

2. Lobsters

Lobsters are large, muscular shellfish that also is expensive. They are rich in copper and also contain protein, vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium. They are low in saturated fat but very high in cholesterol. They contain 2.8 mg of copper per every 145-gram serving (6).

3. Organ Meat

Organ meat is a rich source of copper. Beef liver is considered extremely nutritious and is one of the richest dietary sources of copper. Other copper-rich meat sources like calf and chicken livers are also good sources of copper. They also provide many other nutrients like folate, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin B12. Organ meat contains about 10.1 mg of copper per slice (7).

4. Seeds And Nuts

Nuts and seeds have high amounts of copper
Image: Shutterstock

Many seeds and nuts are rich in copper. Copper-rich seeds like Sesame seeds are high in fiber, fats, and protein. They contain 5.9 mg of copper per 1 cup (8). In addition, you can consume copper-rich nuts like cashew nuts that contain 0.6 mg of copper per ounce (28 g) (9). You can eat cashews raw, add them to hot and cold dishes alike, or soak them overnight to use as a base for dairy-free spreads, cheeses, and dips. Almonds also are high in copper. Dry, roasted almonds (without salt) contain 1.6 mg of copper per serving (one cup) (10).

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. It is known to improve cardiovascular health and may help reduce cholesterol levels (11), (12), (13). However, dark chocolate is also high in calories and must be consumed in moderation. One bar of dark chocolate contains 0.015 mg of copper (14).

6. Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine. It is one of the best copper-rich foods you can include in your diet. These edible mushrooms are the most popular type around the world. They are packed with many health-boosting properties and are rich in texture and flavor. 100 grams of shiitake mushrooms contain 5.16 mg of copper (15).

7. Spirulina

Spirulina is rich in copper
Image: Shutterstock

Spirulina is a biomass of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) that is highly nutritious and rich in copper (16). It is low in calories and is a great addition to healthy beverages, like smoothies. It is also used as a powdered food supplement by astronauts (17). One cup of spirulina contains 6.8 grams of copper (18).

8. Beans

Beans are another excellent source of copper. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are rich copper sources and offer 0.57 mg of copper per cup (19). Boiled soybeans are also a source of copper – they offer 0.2 mg of copper with every cup (20).

9. Potatoes

A medium-sized potato contains about 0.34 mg of copper (21). However, remember to cook your potatoes with their skins on (the skins contain the most copper). Sweet potatoes also contain copper – one medium-sized sweet potato contains 0.13 mg of copper (22).

10. Kale, Swiss Chard, And Spinach

Green leafy copper-rich vegetables like raw kale, Swiss chard, and spinach are good sources of copper. One cup of raw chopped kale contains 0.011 mg of copper (23). Swiss chard, when cooked, provides more than 0.16 mg of copper per 100 grams (24). One cup of raw spinach contains more than 0.03 mg of copper (25). Spinach is also rich in fiber, folate, vitamin K, zinc, and iron.

11. Quinoa

Quinoa is a whole grain with a lot of health benefits. This copper-rich grain can be a great rice substitute and is a good source of copper in your daily diet. You can get 0.4 mg of copper for every cup of cooked quinoa (26).

Also, eating a single avocado will provide you with approximately 0.28 mg of copper (27). Gluten-free buckwheat and tofu are other excellent sources of copper. Buckwheat is a good alternative for grains. One cup of buckwheat contains 1.87 mg of copper (28). One piece of fried tofu contains 0.052 mg of copper (29).

protip_icon Did You Know?
Tap water or other beverages can also be good sources of copper. However, the amount of copper in these drinks varies by source (ranging from 0.0005 mg/L to 1 mg/L) (47).

These are the top copper-rich foods you should try. Copper is one of the lesser-known trace minerals our body needs. In the following section, we look at its many health benefits.

What Are The Benefits Of Copper?

1. May Enhance Brain Health

Woman with enhanced brain health by consuming copper
Image: Shutterstock

Your brain has the highest levels of copper in your body. Copper imbalances can affect brain functions (30). Copper deficiency during growth may lead to incomplete brain and nerve development. Low copper status may also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s diseasei  XA degenerative condition that gradually impairs memory, thinking, and the capacity to do basic tasks (31).

2. May Promote Energy Maintenance

Copper plays an important role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (32). ATP is known as the energy currency of the cell. Copper helps reduce anemia that may otherwise affect energy levels. Some research suggests that deficiency (and an excess) of copper may lead to anemia (33).

3. May Improve Immune Health

Copper and zinc are the two essential trace minerals for optimal immune health (34). Low quantities of these minerals may increase your body’s vulnerability to bacterial infections. Copper deficiency decreases the production of immune cells, like macrophages and neutrophils that help fight several infections in the body (35).

4. May Support Metabolism

Consuming foods with copper helps in the breakdown of fat cells. This breakdown is essential for maintaining body weight and energy reserves (36). Also, the body’s cells need copper for their metabolic activities (37).

5. May Boost Skin Health

Woman looking at healthy skin after consuming copper
Image: Shutterstock

Copper protects the cells against free radical damage and improves skin health. It can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots and enhance wound healing. It promotes collagen production in the body and helps boost skin elasticity (38).

6. May Protect Vision

Oral administration of copper (along with zinc) may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (39).

7. May Benefit Bone Health

According to a study, copper levels in the body have a significant impact on bone mineral density and fracture. A study showed that maintaining optimal copper levels in the body and moderate intake of copper maintains bone health(40). Both high and low copper levels may have adverse effects. Low levels may lead to decreased bone mineral density, whereas excess copper may lead to increased fracture risk.

8. May Benefit Heart Health

Research suggests that sufficient copper levels are essential to maintain proper heart function. This is because a copper deficiency may lead to excess fatty acid production and suppress its utilization in the body. These free fatty acids then accumulate in the heart walls and could lead to heart diseases like coronary heart disease (41).

These are the major benefits of copper. Having adequate copper in your diet is paramount. In the following section, we look at what a copper deficiency can cause.

Copper Deficiency

A copper deficiency may be one of the leading causes of ischemic heart diseasei  XA disorder when the heart does not receive enough blood and oxygen due to constricted arteries. (IHD). Copper deficiency increases the total cholesterol and oxidized lipoproteinsi  XProtein molecules that carry fats, like cholesterol and triglycerides, through the bloodstream. in the blood, leading to IHD (42). Individuals with copper deficiencies showed abnormalities in blood pressure levels and lipid metabolism. The deficiency may also lead to cardiovascular disease (43). Dietary copper deficiency can also cause anemia, inflammation, and reduced blood clotting (44).

Copper deficiency usually occurs due to inadequate dietary copper intake, decreased copper stores at birth, and poor absorption. The deficiency may cause bone issues, anemia, and a weak immune system (45).

A study on copper deficiency reported that a marginal copper deficiency may be quite common. In the EU and in the UK, 50% of the adult population consumes less than the recommended amount of copper. In the USA and Canada, a quarter of the population consumes less than the average requirement. Around one-third of diets contain less than 1 mg of copper daily and 61% contain less than 1.5 mg with only 18% of diets exceeding 2 mg/day.

Jeff Black, a fitness coach and blogger, shares his experience with brain fog and fatigue and how increasing his copper intake helped him get better. He writes, “I changed my diet to add in cashews which have copper (i).” He also took other copper supplements and saw changes in 60 days, and continues, “I have no more brain fog. Low copper is associated with brain fog.”

protip_icon Did You Know?
People with celiac disease or Menkes disease and anyone taking high doses of zinc supplements are more likely to have a copper deficiency (49).

You should take copper in the recommended amounts to avoid deficiency issues. How much copper does your body need? Let’s find out in the following section.

How Much Copper Does A Human Body Need?

Our bodies cannot produce copper on their own. Hence, we need to get the mineral from our diet. Copper requirements increase with age. Adults usually should get 900 micrograms of copper every day through a copper-rich diet (46).

Infographic: Top 5 Copper-Rich Foods To Include In Your Diet

Copper is found in various foods and may help boost your immune system, support brain health, and keep you energetic. However, some foods are easier to obtain than others. Check out the infographic below for the best copper-rich food options you can find easily to include in your diet.

top 5 copper rich foods to include in your diet (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Copper is a trace mineral responsible for performing various bodily functions. Its benefits range from improving brain health and skin health to enhancing immunity and metabolism. However, this mineral is not synthesized by your body, so it must be obtained through dietary means. So, consume foods high in copper like oysters, lobsters, organ meat, seeds and nuts, spirulina, beans, potatoes, and spinach to prevent a copper deficiency, which can cause ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, anemia, and reduced blood clotting. So, consume at least 900 mcg of copper a day to keep these health conditions at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

What fruits are high in copper?

Avocados, durian, blackberries, guavas, pomegranates, mangos, kiwifruit, bananas, pineapples, and apricots are examples of fruits high in copper. These copper-rich fruits may boost immune system function, improve bone health, and enhance nervous system function.

What blocks the absorption of copper?

Ascorbic acid is known to block the absorption of copper in the body (45). Long term zinc supplementation may also inhibit the body’s ability to absorb copper (46).

Are eggs high in copper?

Eggs contain a small amount of copper and are not considered a rich source of the trace mineral.

Key Takeaways

  • Copper is an essential trace mineral because it supports brain and skin health while boosting immunity and vision.
  • You can replenish your copper reserves in the body by consuming oysters, kale, and beans.
  • The deficiency of copper may cause cardiovascular disease, anemia, inflammation, and reduced blood clotting.

If you feel fatigued throughout the day, maybe you need some copper to boost your energy levels. Check out this video to learn about the top 10 foods that are rich in copper and ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.

Personal Experience: Source

i. Banish Brain Fog! How Copper Helped Remove My Brain Fog And Fatigue


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Oysters, steamed
  2. Long-Chain Omega-3 Oils–An Update on Sustainable Sources
  3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Cardiovascular Disease: Summary of the 2016 Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality Evidence Review
  4. Fish, shellfish, and long-chain n-3 fatty acid consumption and risk of incident type 2 diabetes in middle-aged Chinese men and women
  5. Raw oysters can be a risk for infections
  6. Crustaceans, lobster, northern, raw
  7. Beef, variety meats and by-products, liver, raw
  8. Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, dried
  9. Nuts, cashew nuts, raw
  10. Nuts, almonds, dry roasted, without salt added
  11. Cocoa intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular mortality: the Zutphen Elderly Study
  12. Effects of chocolate, cocoa, and flavan-3-ols on cardiovascular health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials
  13. Plasma LDL and HDL cholesterol and oxidized LDL concentrations are altered in normo- and hypercholesterolemic humans after intake of different levels of cocoa powder
  14. Candies, SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Bar
  15. Mushrooms, shiitake, dried
  16. Spirulina in Clinical Practice: Evidence-Based Human Applications
  17. Characterization of Spirulina biomass for CELSS diet potential
  18. Seaweed, spirulina, dried
  19. Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt
  20. Soybeans, green, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt
  21. Potato, boiled, NFS
  22. Sweet potato, NFS
  23. Kale, raw
  24. Chard, swiss, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt
  25. Spinach, raw
  26. Quinoa, cooked
  27. Avocado, raw
  28. Buckwheat
  29. Tofu, fried
  30. Metabolism and functions of copper in brain
  31. Alzheimer’s disease as copper deficiency
  32. Role of Copper in Mitochondrial Biogenesis Via Interaction with ATP Synthase and Cytochrome c Oxidase
  33. The association between serum copper and anaemia in the adult Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES II) population
  34. The Role of Copper and Zinc Toxicity in Innate Immune Defense against Bacterial Pathogens
  35. Partners in crime: neutrophils and monocytes/macrophages in inflammation and disease
  36. Copper regulates cyclic-AMP-dependent lipolysis
  37. Human copper transporters: mechanism, role in human diseases and therapeutic potential
  38. Using Copper to Improve the Well-Being of the Skin
  39. Reduced zinc and copper in the retinal pigment epithelium and choroid in age-related macular degeneration
  40. Serum copper levels are associated with bone mineral density and total fracture
  41. An Emerging Role of Defective Copper Metabolism in Heart Disease
  42. Copper deficiency may be a leading cause of ischaemic heart disease
  43. Cardiovascular disease from copper deficiency–a history
  44. Copper deficiency and cardiovascular disease: role of peroxidation, glycation, and nitration
  45. Essentiality of copper in humans
  46. Copper
  47. A role for ascorbic acid in copper transport
  48. The effect of dietary zinc on intestinal copper absorption Get access Arrow
  49. Copper
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