Chromium is known to help regulate the blood sugar levels in the body by increasing the sensitivity of insulin. The glucose (blood sugar) is carried into the cells and burned for energy. It also helps increase the levels of HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) or “the good cholesterol” and helps flush LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) or “the bad cholesterol” out of the body. Chromium can also help us control our cravings. There is no need to worry about increased intake of chromium because toxicity from dietary chromium is not likely to occur. On the other hand, people with low chromium levels develop glucose intolerance which may lead to the rise of blood sugar levels in the body. Chromium is present in many foods in minimal amounts but there are certain foods high in chromium that you can eat to make use of its numerous benefits.
1. Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s yeast is derived from the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is one of the key ingredients in making ale and beer. It is one of the richest sources of chromium. Just one tablespoon of brewer’s yeast contains 15 mcg of chromium – half of the daily recommended intake. Be cautious of brewer’s yeast supplements that are identified as “debittered”, because the debittering process eliminates chromium.
Half a cup of oats contains 15% of your daily chromium recommended intake. Whole grains are recommended because refined ones have reduced chromium content by a large percentage. Oats also keep you full for a longer period of time and are rich in fiber that helps in the regulation of bowel movement. Oatmeal recipes are easy to make and you can easily find them anywhere.
Broccoli is an excellent source of chromium. 1 serving or approximately 1 cup contains 53% of the recommended daily intake. Broccoli is also a good source of fiber, essential vitamins and minerals. It is also believed that broccoli has anti-cancer properties especially for breast and uterine cancer. It is recommended to quickly steam it than to boil it to retain the essential nutrients.
Barley is a cereal grain that contains 23% of the recommended daily chromium intake. It is one of the widely consumed grains in the world and has a variety of health benefits. It can lower blood pressure and cholesterol naturally. It also prevents constipation due to its high fiber content.
5. Green Beans
Green beans are easy to find. It has 6% of the recommended daily chromium intake. They also contain high amounts of chlorophyll which can block the carcinogens present when grilling meats at high temperature. That is why it is recommended to pair grilled meat with green beans to decrease the risk of cancer. Green beans are also a good source of iron and can be paired with vitamin C rich foods to increase iron absorption.
Tomato is one of the most common fruits that is used in a vast array of dishes. It contains 4% of the recommended daily chromium intake. Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, copper, manganese, potassium, folate, vitamin E and many others. It can also be beneficial to your skin because of its high levels of lycopene.
7. Romaine Lettuce
Romain lettuce is also a good source of chromium. It contains 4% of the daily recommended intake. It is also known as Cos. It has a deep taste, crisp texture and low-calorie content – perfect for salads. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, minerals and fiber.
8. Black Pepper
One of the most commonly used spice and seasoning, black pepper is also a good source of chromium. It contains 3% of the recommended daily intake. There are many health benefits of black pepper which includes: relief from constipation, indigestion, muscular strains, cough and cold and many more.
9. Free Range Eggs
There is a huge difference in the nutritional value between a free range egg and a caged egg. Free range eggs are produced from birds that roam freely outdoors. They eat insects and plants which made the nutritional value of their eggs better than the caged ones. They have more vitamins and mineral content including selenium, chromium and zinc.
10. Sweet Potatoes
A medium sized sweet potato has 35 mcg of chromium. They have a higher nutritional content than regular potatoes, plus they’re sweeter! They are high in vitamins and carotenoids, low in sodium and are fat free. They are also easy to cook because they are versatile. You can fry, roast, boil, steam or grill them.
11. Corn on the Cob
Corn on the cob contains 52 mcg of chromium. It also has an antioxidant property which can help protect the body from heart disease and cancer. It promotes healthy vision too, due to its lutein and zeaxanthin content. Corn on the cob is also a great source of fiber which helps relieve constipation.
Good news for those who love apples – they are also rich in chromium, 36 mcg in one medium sized apple to be exact. Apples also contain phytonutrients and antioxidants which can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and hypertension. It is also rich in fiber to help promote normal bowel movement.
Last Word – How about chromium supplements?
There are chromium supplements available in the market but these supplements particularly chromium picolinate, might cause damage to DNA. Taking excessive chromium supplements can also lead to hypoglycemia and stomach problems. Getting your chromium from whole foods is more recommended.