Top Foods High in Chromium

Chromium is a trace element found in many kinds of food. It’s an essential mineral that we must get from our diets, though our bodies only require small amounts. Studies show that chromium plays an important role in blood sugar regulation, brain function, and breaking down fats and carbohydrates. 

Scientists continue to study chromium to understand its health benefits and determine if supplementation could help treat certain conditions. While this research is ongoing, it suggests that getting enough chromium is a vital part of a balanced diet.   

Why You Need Chromium

Scientists don’t completely understand chromium’s effects in our bodies, but studies associate deficiencies with several health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. The recommended amount for daily chromium intake is 35 micrograms for men and 25 micrograms for women. 

Scientists believe that chromium may offer health benefits, including:

Blood Sugar Control

Research shows that chromium reduces insulin resistance, a condition that causes your body to respond poorly to the naturally-occurring hormone insulin. Additionally, scientists believe that chromium enhances the effects of insulin and may help improve blood sugar levels. Studies have also found that chromium deficiency is linked with a higher risk of diabetes, though it’s still uncertain whether chromium supplementation could treat existing diabetes.

Heart Health

Chromium’s effect on blood sugar may lower your heart disease risk. Studies associate low chromium levels with an increased risk of heart attack — and the lower the level, the higher that risk becomes.

Cholesterol Management

Several studies show a correlation between low chromium intake and high cholesterol and triglycerides levels, fats in our blood that can build up inside artery walls. Over time, this artery plaque can lead to heart disease and stroke

While more research is needed, maintaining adequate chromium levels may help your body regulate cholesterol and triglyceride levels. 

Foods With Chromium

It’s easy to get enough chromium through a well-balanced diet. Because the mineral comes from soil, it’s in most vegetables, fruits, and whole grains along with grain or grass-fed meats. 

Processed meats like deli ham and bacon are also high in chromium, but research shows high processed meat consumption can increase your risk of chronic diseases

Continued

These eight foods offer healthy sources of chromium:

1. Mussels

Shellfish in general are a great source of chromium. Mussels stand out with their 128 micrograms per 3.5-ounce serving, while oysters offer 57 micrograms and brown shrimp offer 26 micrograms.  

2. Broccoli

Most vegetables have some chromium content, like green beans with 2.2 micrograms and mashed potatoes with 2.7 micrograms per cup. However, a cup of cooked broccoli can meet nearly your entire daily amount with an impressive 22 micrograms. 

3. Grape Juice

Grapes are naturally rich in chromium and grape juice offers a concentrated source of the mineral. One cup of grape juice contains about 7.5 micrograms of chromium. It’s important to look for 100% grape juice products, as many commercial brands add extra sugars, flavorings, and other ingredients that reduce the juice’s nutritional content.

4. Brewer’s Yeast

Brewer’s yeast is used to make beer but it’s also a nutritional supplement often mixed with drinks like water, juices, and smoothies. It’s rich in many vitamins and minerals, including 3.3 micrograms of chromium per one tablespoon serving. However, brewer’s yeast can cause bloating and nausea in some people. 

5. Meat

Of all meats, lean beef contains the highest amount of chromium with an impressive 2 micrograms per three-ounce serving. You can also find chromium in turkey and chicken breast. Per three-ounce serving, turkey has 1.7 micrograms and chicken has 0.5 micrograms.

6. Wine

Like its non-alcoholic cousin grape juice, wine contains high levels of chromium. Amounts vary based on the wine varietal and origin, with red wine samples containing between 1.7 and 21.4 micrograms per cup and white wines between 1.6 and 10.5 micrograms per cup.

7. Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are famous for their rich nutrient content for a reason. Just one nut has 1 microgram of chromium. A handful of 10 Brazil nuts gives you 10 micrograms of chromium, which is roughly a third of your daily requirement.

8. Whole Wheat 

Whole wheat flour has 21 micrograms of chromium per 100 grams, which adds the mineral content to many wheat-based products. A whole-wheat English muffin, for example, has 3.6 micrograms of chromium.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 05, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Diabetes Education: “A scientific review: the role of chromium in insulin resistance.”

European Food Information Council: “Chromium in the diet.”

Harvard Medical School: “Chromium: The forgotten mineral.”

International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research: “Health Risks Associated with Meat Consumption: A Review of Epidemiological Studies.”

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: “Determination and Levels of Chromium in French Wine and Grapes by Graphite Furnace Atomic Absorption Spectrometry.”

Mount Sinai: “Brewer’s Yeast.”

National Institutes of Health: “Chromium.”

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Chromium in the diet.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Pagination

Get Diet and Fitness Tips In Your Inbox

Eat better and exercise smarter. Sign up for the Food & Fitness newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of WebMD subscriptions at any time.