Last week I talked about the vitamins you need to keep your brain in tip-top-shape. Today, let’s talk metals… not the stuff that keeps your ‘bling’ in place; the stuff that you eat and drink.
Now, you might be thinking “Eating metals… that sounds bad”, but there are some metals that your body needs to function. The thing about metals, as with everything, is that you can have too much of a good thing.
Here are the three metals that have been linked to brain health (note: one not yet conclusively!) and some suggestions for how to get the optimal concentrations.
Why You Need It: Iron helps to carry oxygen in your bloodstream, but too much can oxidize (think rust!) and produce free radicals in the blood stream and brain.
How to Get It: Beans and Leafy Greens
What to Avoid: Red Meat (sorry carnivores!) and cooking with cast-iron pans
Why You Need it: Copper aids in energy production, iron metabolism, connective tissue formation, brain and nervous system functions, and acts as an antioxidant
How to Get It: This one’s easy – make sure to get 3 servings of veggies daily – eater’s choice!
What to Avoid: Believe it or not, your multivitamin might be giving you more copper than you need. If you’re concerned about too much copper, opt for a “Vitamins Only” multi.
Unfiltered water can be another source (via copper pipes). You can test your water using an at-home test kit from Home Depot. An water filter like Brita should do the trick to remove any unwanted copper. Make sure to change out the filter regularly – when it gets old, it may actually leach metals back INTO your water.
Why You Need it: Aluminum is naturally occurring in most foods, but your body doesn’t really “need” it and too much can be toxic. Some researchers have identified linkages between aluminum and dementia – but the jury’s still largely out on this one.
How to Get it: Not applicable
What to Avoid: Uncoated aluminum cookware, antacids, baking powder, frozen foods, and antiperspirants - check labels for all of these!, and unfiltered water (see above).
When I did my research, I was suprised that I might be getting too much copper in my multi. What surprises you about metals?