Oct 16, 2009

15 Facts About Copper and Food Sources

Copper isn't one of the necessary minerals that you hear about the most, but it's a trace mineral that plays important roles in the body, which include:
  1. iding the body in the production of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in the blood
  2. Works with Vitamin C to aid in formation of collagen...the part of th cell membrane that supports muscles and tissues.
  3. It conducts electricity so aids the nervous system
  4. Oysters and nuts contain copper
  5. It's in drinking water that comes through copper pipes
  6. The fact that zinc and copper compete with one another for absorption in the digestive system should be considered
  7. Our body stores about 100 mg of copper, mostly in our liver and brain, the muscles contain the rest
  8. There are some who are concerned that we are getting too much copper because of certain factors, for example copper piping, and others who are concerned that we don't get enough.
  9. You do not need to supplement a lot of copper, but it is found in mineral supplements like Trace Mineral Maintenance.
  10. Other natural sources that include copper are whole grains, esp. buckwheat, whole wheat, shellfish ie shrimp, liver and other organ meats, dried peas, beans, dried fruit ie prunes, yeast, and dark green leafy veggies to name a few.
  11. Blood tests can determine whether copper is low and supplementation is needed.
  12. Copper toxicity can contribute to fatigue, irritability, nervousness, depression, learning problems, and in more severe cases, anxiety states, joint and muscle pain, poor memory, psychological depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy (more than 2 seizure episodes considered epilepsy), autism, hypertension, stuttering, hyperactive children, pre-eclampsia in pregnancy, and a few other conditions. Remember, this list can be caused by many other things too, a health care provide can help you determine whether Copper is the cause.
  13. Wilson's Disease affects how the body metabolizes copper, and can lead to high, even fatal levels of copper in the liver and brain, often treated by chelation with agents that bind with copper and carry it out of the body.
  14. Iron deficiency is often accompanied by copper deficiency
  15. Low copper levels can reduce thyroid function, weaken immunity, contribute to irregular heart rhythms, cause bones to loose minerals, and more...again, you should have blood tests to determine whether your copper level is low, not guess based on symptoms that can be cause by other things as well.

Related posts about Minerals:
Chromium and Glucose Tolerance
Magnesium, 12 Facts and 8 Sources

Oct 13, 2009

10 Vitamin D Facts

I thought we'd get back to the series on Vitamins and their benefits with Vitamin D. This wonderful vitamin benefits us in the following ways:

  1. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb and use calcium and phosphorus properly.
  2. Vitamin D aids in the synthesis of protein which, like calcium, helps in building strong bones, teeth and skin.
  3. Vitamin D is needed for a healthy nervous system
  4. Vitamin D brings health to the kidneys.
  5. Vitamin D deficiency is generally not a big concern for most, it seems to be more of a problem with older individuals, blood tests help determine this, for example, my Mom who is in her 80's has been told she is low in V. D and should spend time in the sun and supplement with Vit. D3 in particular.
  6. A natural source of vitamin D is the sun, which acts on the oils on our skin and is absorbed by the body. If you spend 15 minutes in the sun each day, you will get a nice dose of Vitamin D.
  7. Vitamin A and D work together synergistically to benefit the body and are often combined in supplement form, but care should be taken not to take excessive amounts, and may not even be necessary except in older individuals who are prone to Vit. D deficiency, this can be measured through blood tests.
  8. Pregnancy Caution: Vitamin D should not exceed 5,000 IU's, excesses of 10,000+ IU's can result in birth defects and other reproductive concerns. In fact, pregnant or not, these are high amounts, and generally, you are getting what you need through sunshine and a good multi-vitamin.
  9. Vitamin D toxicity causes excess thirst, diarrhea, nausea, weakness, and headaches...plus the excess calcium that it can bring into the body can cause calcification of tissues, possibly may contribute to atherosclerosis.
  10. The food source that contains the most Vitamin D is fish, fish oils.
So generally, unless you are sun-deprived, you probably do not need to supplement Vitamin D, you'll get enough from the sun. In the Northeast we do need supplementation during the colder months when large areas are not exposed to the sun, or we are indoors during cold months. D3 is suggested during these times, you can discuss this with your doctor.

Related Vitamin Fact Posts:

16 Facts About Vitamin A
10 Facts About Vitamin B12, Sources
10 Vitamin C Facts and Colds

Updated 3/21/16

Oct 11, 2009

Halloween and Pumpkin Recipes - Bread

The trees are beautiful around us right now, quickly changing their colors due to the cold weather we're having early in the fall season, and the pumpkins are excellent in New Jersey in spite of the rainy summer we've had. I guess they, like the melons we've purchased this summer, have been happy with all the rain.

When my children were growing up, we would go pumpkin picking, and used most of the pumpkin. We prepared it a day before Halloween; removing,cleaning and roasting the pumpkin seeds for eating. Then we carved a face into the pumpkin, and set it out with a candle to enjoy on Halloween night. Before it could decay, or the animals could get to it, I cut it up into pieces that could be used in recipes. I had (and still have) a ceramic pumpkin that replaced the "real" pumpkin before and after Halloween night.

There are many things you can use pumpkin for, pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and more...we'll take a look at some over the holiday season.

I enjoyed looking at the following video on how to make no-knead pumpkin bread, and maybe you will too!