In order to detox from excess copper we need to heal our gut and digestive system. We can do this by (1) Eating more animal products, (2) eating more fat, (3) avoiding dairy products, (4) avoid foods that further deplete zinc and/or increase copper and (5) drink more water.
- Eating more animal products
Animal products are the most concentrated source of zinc. In particular, we should eat more:
- Eggs, and
- Eating more fat
Adding more fat into your diet will help with bile production and enable a clearer pathway for the excess copper to be excreted. Make sure that you are eating good quality fat, none of these chemically manufactured seed oils – that will just make your condition worse!
- Avoiding dairy products
So dairy doesn’t actually add copper to your body, but it does contribute to depleting your zinc levels and throwing your copper-zinc ratio further out of whack. It is especially detrimental to copper toxicity when dairy is eaten with foods high in phytates (rice and grain-based foods such as wheat bran, rice bran, whole wheat, corn, rye, oats and brown rice) as it dramatically decreases our body’s ability to absorb zinc.
- Avoid foods that further deplete zinc and/or increase copper
These foods include:
- Leafy greens,
- Sunflower seeds,
- Sesame seeds, and
- Beef liver.
Nutritiondata.com is an excellent website for analysing which foods have high levels of copper or a less than optimal zinc-copper ratio.
- Drink more water
So we touched on the importance of drinking water to mobilise the excess copper before. But it is important not to drink water half an hour before, or an hour after eating, as this can dampen digestion through diluting gastric juices. Another important note if you want to go down the route of TCM, never drink cold water (for the same reason as not eating cold food).
Ok so these guidelines seem all well and good on paper, but the truth is, in the early stages of the copper detox process you may not be able to stomach all that meat and fat. And that’s ok. Detoxing takes time. We found that homemade chicken broth with a little bit of organic, grass-fed butter (and yes we know we said to avoid dairy, but this was one of the fats we could tolerate, you could always try ghee) was all we could eat for a while.
But as our digestion starts to heal and the copper detox process begins, we can slowly introduce more foods. For example, we were able to tolerate a little bit of chicken breast and some zucchini. We also could eat pumpkin seeds – and whilst technically they are high in copper, they are one of the few plant-based sources of high zinc.