Largely found in the brain and liver, copper is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies. In fact, humans need trace amounts of copper to survive. Some believe copper to be the best dishes for cooking, and lined as well as unlined copper vessels serve many culinary purposes 3. These vessels however, do not fit every culinary necessity because copper reacts with certain foods and this could result in unpleasant health-related issues.
Lined and Unlined Copper
You will find that another substance lines most copper utensils. There are a few vessels such as those used specifically for caramelizing sugar or beating egg whites that do not have a lining. Since copper is slightly acidic in nature, it does have a tendency to react with certain foods if the vessel is not lined.
Foods that React to Copper
Copper Supplements Side Effects
You should not use copper vessels for storing pickled foods or for pickling foods. In addition, drinking water should not be stored in copper vessels. Do not keep milk and milk products like cream, butter, etc. in copper vessels as it could react with the metal and cause illness. The same goes for honey, citrus juice and yogurt, as they have acidic properties that could react with the metal. Copper utensils also should not be used to eat, drink and serve these foods. If a copper utensil is left standing in dairy or acidic foods, the food should be discarded to avoid health problems.
- You should not use copper vessels for storing pickled foods or for pickling foods.
- In addition, drinking water should not be stored in copper vessels.
Side Effects of Copper Ingestion
One of the common side effects of excess copper is a gastrointestinal infection. This may accompany feelings of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomachaches. There could also be a metallic taste in the mouth and an overall sense of lethargy and weakness. These symptoms are temporary and will gradually fade away.
- One of the common side effects of excess copper is a gastrointestinal infection.
Long-term Ingestion of Copper
The human body is capable of processing large amounts of copper 3. This means that should you have an excessive amount in your body, you will easily be able to excrete it. Actual copper poisoning could occur if you have ingested over a long period, a food that was pickled in copper. The symptoms are headache, metallic sensation on the tongue, dizziness and constant thirst. However, a doctor can treat you for these conditions.
- The human body is capable of processing large amounts of copper 3.
- Actual copper poisoning could occur if you have ingested over a long period, a food that was pickled in copper.
Copper in Foods from Culinary Ware is Not Fatal
If you were to add cream of tartar, which is acidic in nature, to egg whites beaten in an unlined copper vessel, you will end up with a gastrointestinal condition. Though this not fatal, it can be bothersome. “Yes, people can get gastrointestinal upsets. But contrary to popular belief, it's not fatal," says Dr. I. Herbert Scheinberg, one of the USA’s few experts on copper toxicity.
- If you were to add cream of tartar, which is acidic in nature, to egg whites beaten in an unlined copper vessel, you will end up with a gastrointestinal condition.
Copper Supplements Side Effects
Can Wearing Copper Improve Your Health or Is It a Hoax?
Can Chocolate Cause Nasal Congestion?
What Foods Raise Alkaline Phosphatase Levels?
Uses of Magnesium Carbonate
Foods to Increase Intestinal Absorption
Sources of Nickel in Your Diet
How to Repair the Myelin Sheath with Food
Zinc and Bananas
- IndianExpress.Com: Vessel of choice
- RamsHornStudio: Copperware
- Retinning.Com: The Importance of Copper Cookware for Cooking
- Fusco D., Colloca G, Lo Monaco, MR, et al. Effects of antioxidant supplementation on the aging process. Clin Interv Aging. 2007 Sep; 2(3): 377–387.
- Hatori Y, Lutsen S. An Expanding Range of Functions for the Copper Chaperone/Antioxidant Protein Atox1. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Sep 20; 19(9): 945–957. DOI: 10.1089/ars.2012.5086
- Klevay LM. Heart failure improvement from a supplement containing copper, European Heart Journal (2006). 27(1): 117. DOI: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehi634
- Lazarchick J. Update on anemia and neutropenia in copper deficiency. Curr Opin Hematol. 2012 Jan; 19(1):58-60. DOI: 10.1097/MOH.0b013e32834da9d2
- Medline Plus. Copper in Diet.
- Richmond SJ, Gunadasa S, Bland M, MacPherson H. Copper Bracelets and Magnetic Wrist Straps for Rheumatoid Arthritis – Analgesic and Anti-Inflammatory Effects: A Randomised Double-Blind Placebo Controlled Crossover Trial. PLOS ONE. 2013. 8(9): e71529. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071529
- Roshan-Mahdavi M, Ebrahimi M., Ebrahimi A. Copper, magnesium, zinc and calcium status in osteopenic and osteoporotic post-menopausal women. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metab. 2015 Jan-Apr; 12(1): 18–21. DOI: 10.11138/ccmbm/2015.12.1.018
- Sheigber IF, Mercer JFB, Dringen R. Metabolism and functions of copper in brain. Progress in Neurobiology. 2014. 116: 33-57. DOI: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2014.01.002
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition.
Norah Faith was born and raised in Texas and from there she has traveled nationally and internationally. After acquiring her teaching license from New Mexico State University, she found herself teaching ESL around the world. She continues to teach today and finds satisfaction writing for Demand Studios and other sites.