As we get older, it becomes increasingly important for us to make sure that we’re getting enough vitamins and minerals through our diets to keep ourselves in good health. While problems like blood sugar issues, cognitive decline, and excess weight tend to arise, eating right can help stave them off and keep us feeling our best. Chromium is a nutrient that benefits you in these ways and more.
Chromium is a mineral that the body needs in small amounts to perform a number of its functions. Most notably, chromium helps with blood sugar control, weight management, and even cognitive functioning.
Chromium is used in the pathways that signal insulin in our bodies, so it helps control the amount of sugar that is absorbed into our bloodstream and cells. In doing so, it helps to regulate blood sugar levels and give us stable energy throughout the day.
Several studies suggest that chromium may help regulate blood sugar. In one study, subjects who took a 200 milligram chromium supplement saw significant reductions in blood sugar levels. In addition, subjects also had an improved response to insulin after taking the chromium. In a larger study including over 62,000 people, researchers found that those who took supplements containing chromium were 27 percent less likely to have diabetes.
Some research suggests that chromium may have benefits for those trying to manage their weight because it helps control hunger. One eight-week study found that overweight women who took chromium had reduced food intake and reported reduced hunger and cravings. Another smaller study found that subjects taking chromium not only experienced less binge-eating episodes, but also had less symptoms of depression.
Chromium may also help in the prevention of cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s dementia. Other research suggests that the mineral may improve cognitive functioning. Results from a 2007 study showed that older adult subjects experiencing early memory decline had improved cognitive functioning after taking chromium supplements.
Glucose is one of the main sources of fuel for our brains. The study authors say these results show that since chromium improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity, it can improve nutrient absorption and blood flow to the brain, helping us avoid or slow down cognitive decline.
Adding more of this healing mineral to your diet is easy. Good sources of chromium include broccoli, whole grains, garlic, grape juice, orange juice, green beans, red wine, and turkey, so go ahead and pile them on your plate.
You can also get chromium with a supplement, but as always, get your doctors OK beforehand. Be sure to look for chromium picolinate, the safest and most easily absorbed form of the mineral (it’s also the form used in each of the mentioned studies). For one we love, try this product from Solgar ($10.11, Amazon).
Chromium should be taken with caution. Dosages between 1200 and 1400 mcg per day have been associated with kidney problems in women, so again, start small with doses and consult with your healthcare provider beforehand.
We’re wishing you a long, healthy life!