- What is chromium?
- Food Sources of Chromium
- 11 Amazing Health Benefits of Chromium
- Bottom Line
The human body requires various metals and minerals in trace amounts to maintain an ideal metabolic rate. Chromium is one of these minerals, which has a number of health benefits.
Chromium was first discovered in the late 1790’s, however, its importance for bodily functions was not discovered until the 1950’s when its effect on blood sugar preservation in rats was studied. This was labeled as the mineral found in brewer’s yeast, which has a profound effect on blood sugar levels.
Later a few studies determined that the said mineral was chromium. Chromium acts as a water-soluble compound, which facilitates insulin in maintaining adequate blood sugar levels. This is also referred to as the Glucose Tolerance factor; it is believed to aid cellular insulin absorption as it promotes the movement of insulin across the cell membrane.
What is chromium?
Chromium is a trace metal that the body requires in minimal amounts, but is crucial for integral functions such as metabolism. Chromium helps the body regulate blood sugar levels by transporting glucose to cells. Chromium also works with other trace elements in breaking down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Two chromium supplements are available for consumption; chromium picolinate and glucose-tolerance factor.
Symptoms of Chromium Deficiency
A recent survey deducted that about 20% to 50% of the population in developed countries such as the US is deficient in trace minerals. With the introduction of fast food into the daily diet, chromium deficiency has increased a great deal. Chromium is essential for the body to carry out insulin regulation and to maintain an adequate metabolic process. Chromium deficiency has led to an increase in diabetes and metabolic syndrome. With chromium deficiency, adults and children are likely to experience high levels of fatigue and anxiety. This also affects the absorption of proper nutrients in the body, which is observed to hinder the growth process in young-adults and pre-teens. Chromium deficiency can also accelerate atherosclerosis and delay wound healing interims quite a bit.
Food Sources of Chromium
A few of the food is determined to provide good amounts of chromium, however, according to scientists most fruits vegetables and meats contain chromium in smaller amounts. Here are a few foods that contain chromium:
- Green Beans
- Romaine Lettuce
- Black Pepper
- Grape juice
- Pork Chops
- English muffins
- Mashed potatoes
- Dried garlic
Other foods that contain up to 2mg of chromium per serving are:
- Turkey breast
- Beef cubes
- Orange juice
- Organ meats
- Egg yolks
Besides the aforementioned sources, vegetables contain minute quantities of this trace mineral. Opting for whole foods can be the right choice for people suffering from chromium deficiency.
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Chromium
Most commonly chromium is associated with the metabolic process and insulin transportation, but its health benefits are more than these two. This actually aids the body in carrying out all its functions to promote overall health.
Here are 11 reasons to up the intake of chromium-rich foods:
1. Diabetes Prevention
Glucose is required by the body to generate energy, it is essentially the power on, which cells keep up with their metabolism. Insulin is a hormone that the body utilizes for regulating blood sugar levels. Brewer’s yeast or nutritional yeast is a great source of chromium, it can be added to sauces or sprinkled on avocado toast and has a cheesy flavor. This is a good way of adding chromium to your diet and preventing diabetes from taking root in the body. This also helps prevent insulin resistance which is the cause of glucose intolerance in the body. Studies conducted among Type-2 diabetics showed a significant decrease in the cholesterol and blood sugar levels when given a chromium supplement for 4 months.
2. Cholesterol Reduction
All the bad cholesterol in your body is absorbed by the stomach lining, which later flows inside your arteries and other blood vessels. This can be a huge burden on the metabolic rate of the body and cause various chronic illnesses. Chromium is a facilitator in breaking down fats and prevents the body from storing cholesterol or bad fats. It promotes a healthy metabolic rate that breaks down fats efficiently. A study conducted over a 42 day period on patients suffering from cholesterol spikes proved a reduction in their bad cholesterol level when given a chromium supplement continuously.
3. Heart Health
Atherosclerosis is responsible for the many issues that suffice in the cardiovascular system. Chromium can do wonders for hearts health in combination with other trace minerals found in its food sources. The lowering of cholesterol is an added bonus in keeping the arteries and blood vessels clear of any cholesterol and fat accumulation. It stimulates the blood to maintain a healthy-balanced flow.
4. Weight Gain Prevention
Whole foods are always associated with weight loss, this is because they contain all the right nutrients to keep the body healthy and negate obesity. Chromium is one of the best trace minerals for healthy weight maintenance and helps keep the body fuller for longer. A study has shown that chromium helps modulate blood sugar levels and reduces fat and carbohydrate cravings. Chromium supplements help in the reduction of adipose tissue which is formed due to fat retention in the body.
5. Healthy Brain
The brains cognitive abilities change with time an age can bring quite a challenge remembering things. Chromium helps modulate brain function which then leads to increased brain activity even as the brain ages. Chromium promotes hypothalamic functions, which prevent negative effects of aging on the brain and its functions.
6. Healthy Skin and Acne Prevention
Chromium is usually present in foods that contain other phytonutrients that work hand in hand to promote skin health. Chromium supplements help the body maintain balanced blood sugar levels, fluctuating blood sugar levels can be the cause of acne or unhealthy and dull skin.
7. Nutrient Absorption
The body needs proper nutrient absorption to function well. It promotes efficient nutrient absorption by increasing the metabolic rate and also breaking down fats and complex carbohydrates.
8. Healthy Metabolic Rate
Chromium can be the perfect medicine for the prevention of metabolic syndrome, this promotes a healthy metabolic function in the body, which reduces the storage of fat and maintains functions such as muscle regeneration, bone density maintenance, and cellular protection.
9. Healthy Eyes
Diabetes has a huge effect on eye-health and is often the reason for glaucoma. It is caused by the build-up of fluids in the eye, which pressurizes the delicate nerves and retina of the eye leading to potential blindness. It can lower blood sugar levels and promote healthier vision.
10. Bone Density Protection
It helps retain calcium in the bone. This is especially useful for women suffering from osteoporosis; increasing chromium intake can benefit the bone health long term and keep your bones strong even in old age.
11. Healthy Liver
In adequate amounts, it helps the liver function by reducing harmful fats accumulation and making it easier to break down and digest foods.
Trace elements are as important for the body as macronutrients. Consult a doctor to get your chromium supplements; do not start supplements on your own.