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Healthy Foods that Contain Chromium

There are two main forms of chromium: chromium-3 and chromium-6. Chromium-6 was made famous as a carcinogen by the movie Erin Brockovich. Chromium-3 is the main form of chromium that is found in foods and used by your body. The information on chromium in this article refers to the properties of chromium-3.

What Does Chromium Do in Your Body?

  • Helps to regulate your blood sugar level by enhancing the effects of insulin
  • Helps to prevent cardiovascular disease, including type II diabetes, through its effect on insulin
  • Helps your body make protein, fats, and cholesterol through its effect on insulin

The more sugar and refined carbohydrates like pasta, white bread, pastries, and cookies you eat, the greater your risk for chromium deficiency. Consumption of sugar and refined foods increases the amount of insulin your body must release into your blood stream, which increases the amount of chromium that is used and ultimately excreted in your urine.

Here are some healthy, whole food sources of chromium:

Food Sources Serving Chromium (mcg)
Corn on the cob 1 ear 52
Sweet potato 1 medium 36
Apple 1 medium 36
Organic Egg 1 medium 26
Tomato 1 medium 24
Broccoli 1/2 cup 11

And here are the Food and Nutrition Board's most recent guidelines on adequate daily intake of chromium for different age groups:

Adequate Intake (AI)
Life Stage Age Males (mcg/day)  Females (mcg/day) 
Infants 0-6 months 0.2 0.2
Infants 7-12 months 5.5 5.5
Children 1-3 years 11 11
Children 4-8 years 15 15
Children 9-13 years 25 21
Adolescents 14-18 years 35 24
Adults 19-50 years 35 25
Adults 51 years and older 30 20
Pregnancy 18 years and younger - 29
Pregnancy 19 years and older - 30
Breastfeeding 18 years and younger - 44
Breastfeeding 19 years and older - 45

Toxicity

Some studies using cell cultures indicate that chromium found in supplements, particularly chromium picolinate, may cause damage to DNA. Because very little is known about the potential adverse effects of supplementing on a regular basis with chromium, I recommend that you get your chromium from whole foods only.

Go To Nutrient Index

 
 

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