Chromium is one of the key trace metals and minerals required by your body to function properly in an assortment of areas, beginning with the maintenance of proper glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, and much more.
Note, though, we aren’t talking about the toxic form of chromium (hexavalent – chromium 6+) found in industrial pollution, per National Institutes of Health (NIH). Of course not. The type of healthful chromium discussed here is the biologically active trivalent, which can be found in numerous types of food and is highly recommended for your regular diet.
What Does Chromium Do?
Research has shown that chromium can bolster the effectiveness of your body’s insulin, a critical hormone that acts to properly regulate metabolism and the body’s storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. The pivotal finding in this regard came in 1957, when researchers discovered that a certain compound in brewers’ yeast thwarted an age-related decline in the capacity of rats to sustain healthy levels of sugar (aka glucose) in their blood. Two years later, that active ingredient linked to this “glucose tolerance factor” was identified as chromium, per NIH.
Later studies, per naturalfoodseries.com, found that chromium acts as a water-soluble compound that promotes the action of insulin toward preserving proper blood sugar levels, hence the glucose tolerance factor. In effect, chromium assists the body in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels by carrying glucose to your body’s cells. Furthermore, the it works in tandem with other trace elements in breaking down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
A consistent intake of chromium, to include in the form of a nutritional supplement, can also reduce the risk of heart disease, per newsmax.com.
What Are the Food Sources of Chromium?
Per naturalfoodseries.com, a recent survey showed that between 20 percent and 50 percent of people in developed countries, to include America, have a deficiency of trace metals in their bodies. Much of the blame for that has been the explosion of fast-food restaurants in recent decades. Such a deficiency in chromium has been linked to an increase in the incidence of diabetes and metabolic syndrome, with related symptoms in adults as well as children to include fatigue and anxiety. A chromium deficiency can also hasten the development of atherosclerosis and hinder the healing of wounds.
So, let that be an incentive to make yourself more aware of the need for a steady diet of chromium and where you can find it. Following are some of the foods best known for supplying chromium:
- Dried garlic
- Mashed potatoes
- Romaine lettuce
- Green beans
- Turkey breast
- Orange juice
- Grape juice
- Egg yolks
- Red wine
- English muffins
- Nutritional supplements
Chromium’s Health Benefits
Following is a more comprehensive look at the health benefits provided by sufficient amounts of ingested chromium in your body. Keep in mind there’s not a lot of room for error here – the absorption of chromium from the intestinal tract is low, per NIH, with only about 0.4 percent to 2.5 percent of the consumed chromium getting to where it needs to go, while the rest is excreted via bowel movements. So, eat up!:
- Prevent diabetes. Well, there’s no surefire guarantee that chromium can prevent diabetes, but it can lower the risk. Essentially, chromium can bolster insulin sensitivity, which helps the body process blood glucose in a healthy manner, per medicalnewstoday.com. Per naturalfoodseries.com, studies of test subjects with type-2 diabetes revealed a substantial reduction in cholesterol and blood sugar levels when given a chromium supplement for a period of four months.
- Reduce cholesterol. Left unchecked, your body’s “bad” (LDL) cholesterol is absorbed into your stomach lining before it later flows out via your arteries and other blood vessels, per naturalfoodseries.com. It can then tax your body’s metabolic rate, possibly leading to a variety of chronic illnesses. Chromium comes to the rescue by breaking down fats while keeping your body from storing cholesterol and bad fats, in the process promoting a healthy metabolic rate.
- Stave off weight gain. Chromium plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight by reducing food cravings as it works to make your body feel full longer after eating. Per naturalfoodseries.com, chromium supplements aid in the diminishment of adipose tissue created from the body’s retention of fat.
- Promote healthy brain function. Chromium works to enhance hypothalamic functions, which can hinder unwanted effects of aging on the brain and its functions, such as those dealing with memory loss.
- Enhance skin health. Chromium’s ability to regulate proper blood sugar levels is the key factor here. Fluctuating blood sugar levels can be the source of acne as well as unhealthy skin that lacks that healthy-looking glow.
- Prevent metabolic syndrome. In so doing, chromium consumption not only thwarts the storage of fat in your body, it can also assist in muscle regeneration, bone density maintenance, and protection of cells, per naturalfoodseries.com.
- Eye health. Chromium’s penchant for regulating blood sugar levels can help in preventing diabetes, a disease often linked to detrimental eye issues such as glaucoma.
- Liver health. Chromium’s aforementioned capacity to break down fats and carbohydrates takes such a load off your liver, whose mission includes filtering wastes from your body.