Chromium, an essential micronutrient, is responsible for carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Food that contain high amounts of chromium include brewer’s yeast, corn, broccoli, whole grain, oyster, apple and meat.
Chromium is an essential mineral required for the normal functioning of the human body. Though it is clear that chromium is required in trace amounts, the exact amount is not understood as yet. Chromium occurs in two primary forms, namely, trivalent (chromium 3+) and hexavalent chromium (chromium 6+). The former type is found naturally in various food products, whereas the latter form is generated through the industrial pollution. Chemically, trivalent is non-toxic and necessary for humans, while the hexavalent form is toxic.
Foods That Contain Chromium
As already mentioned, the trivalent form of chromium is found naturally in various food items. As per the National Institute of Health, the AI (Adequate Intake) of chromium recommended for adults is 20-35 mcg (microgram) per day. Pregnant and lactating women may consume 29-45 mcg chromium per day. Following are some of the foods that contain high amounts of chromium:
One of the best sources of chromium is brewers yeast. Two tablespoons of brewers yeast are sufficient to provide the daily AI of chromium.
If you are fond of sweet potato, then include in the diet as it contains chromium. A medium-sized sweet potato contains about 35 mcg of chromium.
Corn is also a good source of chromium; one ear of corn on the cob contains about 52 mcg of chromium, which is sufficient to provide the daily adequate intake.
Another chromium containing food is whole grains. Make sure that you include whole-grain cereals and breads but not refined products, as refining reduces chromium content.
Meat and Seafood
Meat like poultry, turkey, beef and liver contain a high amount of chromium. Among the various seafood, oysters and other shellfish are the rich sources of chromium.
Other Fruits and Vegetables
Other vegetables and fruits that contain high amounts of chromium are tomato, spinach, broccoli (11 mcg chromium in half cup), onion, garlic, dry basil leaves (2 mcg in 1 tbsp), lettuce, fresh chili, green pepper, beet, mushroom, rye, apple (1 mcg in 1 medium), orange juice (2 mcg in 1 cup), grape juice (8 mcg in 1 cup) and banana.
Health Importance of Chromium
- Chromium is essential for the catabolism of carbohydrates and fats.
- It increases the biological action of insulin, thus promoting the use of glucose by the body cells and tissues as their energy source. It indirectly helps to maintain the blood glucose level.
- Considering the aforementioned fact, chromium supplement, for example, chromium picolinate is used for managing the symptoms of diabetes and insulin resistance.
- Chromium helps in activation of several enzymes that are necessary for carrying out various metabolic processes.
- According to research, chromium enhances the production of fatty acids and good cholesterol.
- Chromium, if provided in adequate amounts, can help in preventing high blood pressure.
Chromium Deficiency / Overdose
- A deficiency of chromium may lead to the symptoms of insulin resistance.
- An excessive intake of chromium supplements can cause hypoglycemia and / or glucose intolerance, especially among type 2 diabetic patients.
- The side effects of chromium supplements are rare in healthy individuals. But, according to some researchers, chromium supplements may cause damage to the genetic materials. Hence, it is always advisable to include healthy food that contain chromium in the diet plan rather than administering chromium supplements.
Since chromium is a micronutrient, consuming food products rich in chromium can help resolve any deficiency symptoms. For safety purposes, one should always consult a qualified physician before opting for chromium supplements.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.