The Top 20 Foods High In Copper

Last Updated on July 23, 2020 by Michael Joseph

Copper is one of the essential minerals and it is present in all tissues within the human body.

This important nutrient plays a vital role in energy production, immune function, iron metabolism, and many other biological functions.

According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, the recommended dietary allowance for copper is 900 mcg for adults (1).

In this article, we list twenty foods high in copper alongside the amount of the mineral they provide per serving and per 100 grams.

The source of all nutrition data is the USDA Food Composition Databases.

Various Foods High In Copper On a Table.

1) Beef Liver (Cooked)

Per 100 grams  Per Slice (81g) serving
14.59 mg (729% DV) 11.82 mg (591% DV)

Beef liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.

This organ meat is also the very best source of dietary copper, and it provides nearly 600% of the daily value per slice (2).

Aside from its copper content, beef liver is also an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, iron, and vitamin A.

For those who don’t enjoy liver by itself, liver sausage (liverwurst) and pate both offer a similar nutrition profile.

2) Oysters (Cooked)

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
5.71 mg (285% DV) 4.85 mg (243% DV)

Shellfish are some of the most nutritious foods in the human diet, and oysters don’t disappoint.

As shown in the table, just three ounces of shellfish provide 4.85 mg of copper, which is more than double the recommended intake (3).

Not only are oysters an excellent source of copper, but they also offer significant amounts of B vitamins, iron, and zinc.

Oysters also provide a moderate amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which provide proven benefits for cardiovascular health (4).

3) Shiitake Mushrooms (Dried)

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
5.17 mg (258% DV) 1.46 mg (63% DV)

There are all kinds of different mushroom varieties in the world, but shiitake mushrooms are one of the tastiest.

Shiitake mushrooms are a staple food in Japan, and in recent years they have become more popular around the world.

In addition to their delicious taste, these mushrooms also offer an impressive range of essential vitamins and minerals.

Regarding their copper content, shiitake mushrooms contain 1.46 mg of the mineral per ounce serving, which is nearly two-thirds of the recommended intake (5).

Furthermore, ongoing research into shiitake mushrooms suggests that they may have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties (6).

4) Beef Sweetbreads (Cooked)

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
5.10 mg (255% DV) 4.34 mg (217% DV)

Sweetbreads are a type of organ meat that many people find to have an unappetizing appearance.

However, for those that try them, sweetbreads have a mild flavor, and they are one of the best-tasting organ meats.

Sweetbreads are also very nutritious, and they are particularly high in copper.

Per three-ounce serving, sweetbreads provide 217% of the recommended daily copper intake (7).

5) Pepeao – Jew’s Ear (Dried)

Per 100 grams Per cup (24g) serving
5.07 mg (254% DV) 1.22 mg (61% DV)

Pepeao is a unique-looking mushroom that grows around the world.

Due to its color and overall appearance, pepeao has the nickname of ‘jew’s ear.’

Pepeao mushrooms are widely valued for their taste, and they provide an excellent nutrient profile too.

Overall, these mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins and copper. Just one cup offers more than 60% of the recommended daily copper intake (8).

6) Sesame Seeds

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
4.08 mg (204% DV) 1.16 mg (58% DV)

Sesame seeds and their products are probably the best-tasting variety of seeds.

For example, ground sesame seeds and sesame oil contribute a delicious flavor to many Asian dishes.

Similar to most seeds, sesame seeds offer good nutritional value, and they are a substantial source of copper, iron, manganese, and magnesium.

Per ounce serving, sesame seeds offer 1.16 mg of copper, which is almost 60% of the recommended daily intake (9).

7) Cocoa Powder

Per 100 grams Per tbsp (5g) serving
3.79 mg (189% DV) 0.20 mg (10% DV)

Cocoa powder is surprisingly nutritious, and it provides a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals.

Among the nutrients that cocoa offers, it is an exceptional source of copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

For instance, just a tablespoon of cocoa powder provides more than 10% of the daily value for copper (10).

Additionally, research on cocoa polyphenols, including systematic reviews, suggest they may have beneficial effects on markers of cardiovascular health and immune function (11, 12).

8) Cashew Nuts

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
2.20 mg (110% DV) 0.62 mg (31% DV)

Cashews are one of the tastiest nut varieties, and they are popular around the world for their mildly sweet taste.

In addition to providing a large serving of healthy fats and protein, cashew nuts are a rich source of minerals.

Among these minerals, the most concentrated is copper, and a handful serving offers 31% of the recommended intake (13).

Cashew nut flour is also worth considering as a healthier alternative to white flour. This flour is relatively new, and it offers the same nutritional profile as the whole cashew nuts.

9) Squid (Cooked)

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
2.11 mg (106% DV) 1.80 mg (90% DV)

Squid—or calamari—is a popular food in many cuisines around the world.

From fried squid rings in the Mediterranean to squid sushi and dried squid in Japan and Korea, this seafood has many uses.

Squid is also very nutritious; it offers an excellent source of protein, and it is rich in copper, selenium, and B vitamins.

On this note, a typical three-ounce serving of squid offers nearly 100% of the recommended daily copper intake (14).

Squid is also a lesser-known source of omega-3 fatty acids (15).

10) Whelk (Cooked)

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
2.06 mg (103% DV) 1.75 mg (88% DV)

Whelk refers to a type of sea snail used as food in various countries.

Although sea snail used to be more popular as food in the Western world, it is now primarily eaten in Europe and East Asia.

Although whelk may not be for everyone, it is a cheap and incredibly nutrient-dense type of seafood.

Among the nutrients whelk offers, it contains substantial amounts of copper, selenium, and vitamin B12.

Per three-ounce serving, whelk offers 1.75 mg of copper, which is close to the recommended daily intake (16).

11) Grape Leaves

Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolma) On a Wooden Board.

Per 100 grams Per leaf (4g) 
1.84 mg (92% DV) 0.07 mg (4% DV)

Although not as widely available as other leafy greens, grape leaves are simply the leaves from a grapevine.

These leaves have a unique and flavorful taste, and they are a big part of Middle Eastern cuisine.

That said, the leaves are available worldwide either in their fresh form or canned in brine.

Grape leaves contain high amounts of copper, carotenoids, and B vitamins. Just one grape leaf offers around 4% of the recommended daily copper intake (17).

12) Sunflower Seeds

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
1.83 mg (92% DV) 0.52 mg (26% DV)

Sunflower seeds come from the sunflower plant, and they are among the most popular types of seeds.

We can eat these seeds alone as a crunchy snack or use their light nutty flavor in a variety of dishes.

Overall, sunflower seeds are quite nutritious, and they offer protein, fat, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.

Copper is one of the most concentrated nutrients in sunflower seeds, and per ounce serving, they offer around a quarter of the mineral’s recommended daily intake (18).

13) Hazelnuts

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
1.75 mg (88% DV) 0.50 mg (25% DV)

Hazelnuts are among the best-tasting nuts.

We can often find them paired with chocolate, and these two ingredients make a delicious combination.

In addition to their tasty flavor, hazelnuts are a great source of healthy fat, fiber, and minerals.

A typical serving of hazelnuts offers 0.50 mg of copper, which is approximately 25% of the daily value (19).

Hazelnuts may offer further health benefits too.

For instance, randomized trials and a systematic review demonstrate the nuts may improve markers of cardiovascular health and reduce oxidative stress (20, 21).

14) Brazil Nuts

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
1.74 mg (87% DV) 0.49 mg (25% DV)

Brazil nuts are large nuts native to South America, and they widely grow in the Amazon rainforest.

These nuts are most famous for their exceptional selenium content, with just one nut providing more than the recommended daily intake. For this reason, they are an excellent way to improve selenium status (22).

Brazil nuts are also high in copper, and an ounce serving offers 25% of the recommended intake (23).

Other than their copper and selenium content, Brazil nuts are also a good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

15) Hemp Seed

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
1.60 mg (80% DV) 0.45 mg (23% DV)

Hemp seeds are seeds from the hemp plant which grows in all corners of the world.

These seeds are full of protein, fiber, and significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Per ounce serving, hemp seeds offer 0.45 mg of copper, which is equivalent to 23% of the daily intake (24).

Hemp seeds are also an excellent source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and B vitamins.

16) Walnuts

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
1.59 mg (79% DV) 0.45 mg (23% DV)

Walnuts are a tasty nut that offers a broad range of nutrients,

In addition to their vitamin and mineral content, walnuts are one of the rare plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids (25).

While these plant omega-3s are not as bioavailable as DHA and EPA found in seafood, they are still beneficial.

Regarding their copper content, an ounce of walnuts provides 23% of the recommended daily intake (26).

Walnuts are an excellent snack, and they also make a perfect combination with dark chocolate.

17) Lobster

Per 100 grams Per 3 oz (85g) serving
1.55 mg (75% DV) 1.32 mg (66% DV)

Lobster is prized as a delicacy and features in many cuisines around the world.

While it can be expensive, it is also nutritious and provides a wide range of essential nutrients.

Firstly, lobster is very rich in copper, and a small three-ounce serving offers two-thirds of the recommended daily intake (27).

In addition to copper, lobster also provides large amounts of protein, selenium, zinc, and vitamin B12.

18) Pumpkin Seeds

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
1.34 mg (67% DV) 0.38 mg (19% DV)

Pumpkin seeds are the seeds of pumpkin or various similar squash varieties.

These seeds have a mild, slightly sweet and nutty flavor, and they have become a popular snack over recent years.

Nutritionally, pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of copper, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.

Concerning their copper content, pumpkin seeds offer 0.38 mg—or 19% of the recommended intake—per ounce serving (28).

Pumpkin seeds are commonly eaten alone as a snack, and there are a wide variety of seasoned and roasted recipes available online.

19) Pine Nuts

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
1.32 mg (66% DV) 0.38 mg (19% DV)

Pine nuts are a delicious variety of nut that mainly grows in East and South Asia. Interestingly, North Korea is the world’s largest producer of these nuts.

These nuts have an enjoyable taste, and they have a rich, slightly sweet, and buttery flavor.

Pine nuts offer a lot nutritionally too, and they are very high in copper, magnesium, and manganese.

Per ounce serving, pine nuts offer 19% of the recommended daily copper intake (29).

20) Pistachio Nuts

Per 100 grams Per ounce (28g) serving
1.30 mg (65% DV) 0.37 mg (18% DV)

Pistachio nuts are one of the tastiest nut varieties, and salted pistachios are a delicious snack that many people enjoy.

The nuts are rich in copper, offering around 18% of the daily intake per serving (30).

Pistachios are also a rich source of B vitamins, vitamin K, magnesium, and potassium.

Summary Table: Foods High In Copper Per 100 Grams

In the following table, you can see the copper content of these foods per 100 grams in one place for easy reference.

The Copper Content of Foods Per 100 Grams
Food Name Copper Content Per 100 Grams
Beef Liver 14.59 mg (729% DV)
Oysters 5.71 mg (285% DV)
Shiitake Mushrooms 5.17 mg (258% DV)
Beef Sweetbreads 5.10 mg (255% DV)
Pepeao 5.07 mg (254% DV)
Sesame Seeds 4.08 mg (204% DV)
Cocoa Powder 3.79 mg (189% DV)
Cashew Nuts 2.20 mg (110% DV)
Squid 2.11 mg (106% DV)
Whelk 2.06 mg (103% DV)
Grape Leaves 1.84 mg (92% DV)
Sunflower Seeds 1.83 mg (92% DV)
Hazelnuts 1.75 mg (88% DV)
Brazil Nuts 1.74 mg (87% DV)
Hemp Seeds 1.60 mg (80% DV)
Walnuts 1.59 mg (79% DV)
Lobster 1.55 mg (75% DV)
Pumpkin Seeds 1.34 mg (67% DV)
Pine Nuts 1.32 mg (66% DV)
Pistachio Nuts 1.30 mg (65% DV)

Final Thoughts

Overall, there is a wide range of food choices that can help us to consume sufficient amounts of copper.

Generally speaking, these foods are mainly organ meats, seafood, nuts, and seeds.

For this reason, it is not difficult to find sources of copper that are suitable for any diet.

To find out more about minerals, see this guide to the best food sources of iron.

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