Curing with Copper!
This month’s spotlight is on micronutrient copper.
Cu is the third most prevalent mineral in the body carried in blood in form of protein ceruloplasmin. It cannot be synthesized in the body and has to be taken externally. Largest concentration of Cu is in brain and liver. Cu is also found throughout the musculoskeletal system.
Health benefits of Cu:
Regulates body fat: Dietary Cu deficiency is associated with a lower level of ceruloplasmin in the serum and increase in cholesterol and lipoproteins.
It’s a great brain stimulant: Our brain works by transmitting impulses from one neuron to another through an area known as the synapses. These neurons are covered by a sheath called the myelin sheath that helps the flow of impulses. Cu helps in the synthesis of phospholipids that are essential for the formation of these myelin sheaths, thereby, making your brain work much faster and more efficiently. Apart from that, Cu is also known to have anti-convulsive properties (prevents seizures).
Blood builder: Cu helps in production of red blood cells, hemoglobin and bone.
Hair and skin pigmentation: Cu is a vital element of the natural dark pigment, melanin, which imparts coloration to skin, hair, and eyes. Melanin can be produced by melanocytes only in the presence of the cuproenzyme called tyrosinase. Cu helps in preventing white patches on skin and prevents graying of hair.
Maintain bone health: With the help of Cu-containing enzyme called lysyl oxidase, Cu aids in the formation of collagen for bone and connective tissue and contributes to the mechanical strength of bone collagen fibrils — the long thin strands of proteins that cross-link to one another in the spaces around cells.
Anti-aging: Cu is a strong antioxidant, which works in presence of the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase, to safeguard the cell membranes from free radicals. Cu may also play a vital role in cancer prevention.
Cu plays an important part in the production of thyroid. A healthy thyroid gland is critical in preventing many different health problems.
Anti-inflammatory and builds immunity: Cu is known to play a crucial role in several cell signaling pathways important for the immunological function of macrophages. Cu deficiency has been shown to impair their immunological function. Moreover, Cu deficiency in animals has been correlated with increased susceptibility to bacterial infection.
Marginal Cu deficiency (25 percent of the Cu-sufficient diet) appears to promote neutrophil accumulation in liver tissue following an inflammatory response in rats. Both neutrophil accumulation and activation contribute to the development of inflammation.
Cu is a good immunity builder, ensures better wound healing, and is a natural yeast fighter.
How much to take: The estimated safe and adequate intake for Cu is 900 mcg/day. Cu is found in foods such as nuts [0.2 to 0.5 mg/28 g (1 tbsp.)], lentils [(100gm cooked (1/2 cup) .25 mg)], shellfish (1.0 to 3.7 mg/serving), organ meats (3.8 mg/serving of beef liver) and legumes (0.2 mg/serving). Grains, grain products, garlic, avocados, beets, lentils and chocolate have decent levels of Cu. Age-old Ayurveda technique has re-merged in pursuit of anti-inflammatory lifestyle techniques based on Ayurveda principles like drinking water stored overnight in a Cu jug. Per research published in 2012 Journal of health population and nutrition, Cu holds promise as a point-of-use solution for microbial purification of drinking water.
Copper and Zinc work synergistically to promote fundamental life sustaining processes like immune response, central nervous system function and healthy digestion, they are also antagonistic in character. High dose of Zinc supplements lower the copper absorption in our body.
A well balanced diet provides both copper and zinc in appropriate amounts.
Recipe of the month:
- ½ cup of each nut, coarsely powdered
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese or mava
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar + ½ cup finely chopped dates
- 1/4 cup ghee
- 1 tsp cardamom and pinch of saffron.
Method: Heat ghee in a pan and roast the nut powder on a slow to medium flame till it is fragrant. In one pan, heat milk sugar and dates until it boils. Once the nut powder is fragrant and slight brown, add the ricotta cheese or mava and cook at slow flame for three to four minutes. Add the milk mixture to the nut powder and add cardamom, saffron. Mix gently until the nut powder blends with the milk mixture. Once the halwa leaves sides of the pan, turn off the flame and still keep on mixing the halwa gently until ghee is absorbed.
To our health!
Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at email@example.com