Chromium plays a very important part in helping to regulate your blood sugar. It helps the hormone insulin to transport glucose (sugar) into your cells in order to be used for energy. Chromium became known for its role in balancing glucose when scientists discovered that its deficiency in animals caused a diabetic-like state. Further studies revealed that chromium may be needed for the hormone insulin to function properly, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.
Foods rich in chromium have shown to enhance insulin’s effectiveness, whereas foods high in simple sugars can decrease its effectiveness because they increase chromium’s excretion in the urine. Stress can also promote chromium loss and lead to deficiency. Chromium deficiency can cause problems with blood sugar metabolism and also have a negative effect on energy levels.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)
Men 35 mcg/day
Women 25 mcg/day
Upper Level (UL) unknown
Food Sources of Chromium
Animal sources: beef, liver, eggs, seafood, oysters, meat, poultry, and fish
3.5 ounces beef— 57 mcg
3.5 ounces liver— 55 mcg
1 egg— 26 mcg
Plant sources: sweet potatoes, apples, brewer's yeast, onions, tomatoes, whole grains, mushrooms and broccoli
1 medium sweet potato— 36 mcg
1 medium apple— 36 mcg
½ cup broccoli— 11 mcg
Chromium content in foods is generally somewhat low and varies depending on the nutrients in the soil and how the food is processed. While animal sources are your best bet at getting this nutrient in sufficient amounts, just two tablespoons of brewer's yeast provides 140% of your daily requirements for chromium which makes it a superb vegetarian source. Interestingly enough, beer and wine accumulate chromium during fermentation and may also be a source of this nutrient.
Vitamin C helps with chromium’s absorption in the body, so adding red peppers or citrus fruit to a dish would be very beneficial. A sweet potato and a broccoli salad with red pepper dressing would be a very good chromium decision!
For a quick and delicious roasted sweet potato recipe, click here.