Shellfish such as crab are good sources of copper.
Adult men and women over 19 years of age need approximately 900 micrograms of copper each day, says the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board. Without adequate copper, your body may not be able to absorb iron properly or to synthesize red blood cells and collagen. You may also be more likely to develop anemia, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis if you're deficient in copper. By consuming a varied diet that includes copper-rich foods regularly, healthy individuals can get enough copper, says the Linus Pauling Institute. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned about your copper intake.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that beef liver has the highest natural concentration of copper of any food. A 3-ounce serving of cooked beef liver contains 12,400 micrograms of copper, far more than the recommended daily allowance of the mineral for adults. Since the largest amount of copper that can be consumed regularly without the risk of toxicity is 10,000 micrograms daily, it's best to eat beef liver only occasionally, and in small amounts.
Several types of shellfish can provide over 100 percent of the required daily intake of copper per serving. Cooked oysters contain 3,650 micrograms of copper in every 3 ounces, while a 3-ounce serving of lobster has 1,318 micrograms and 3 ounces of Alaska king crab provide 1,005 micrograms. Cooked clams contain a lower concentration of copper -- 585 micrograms in each 3-ounce serving -- but are still considered an excellent source of the mineral because they provide over 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance in a serving.
Cooked shiitake mushrooms have nearly as high a concentration of copper as lobster, providing 1,299 micrograms of the mineral in every cup. This amount of shiitake mushrooms can be prohibitively expensive -- "The Christian Science Monitor" reports that some grocery stores sell shiitakes for almost $20 per pound. However, budget-friendly white mushrooms are also rich in copper. A 1-cup serving of cooked white mushrooms has 786 micrograms of copper, or 87 percent of the copper requirement for a man or woman.
All cooked dried beans and legumes are a source of copper, but cooked soybeans have the highest concentration at 700 micrograms in every cup. Other beans dense with copper include white beans, which contain 608 micrograms per cup; garbanzo beans, at 577 micrograms in every cup; and lentils, with 497 micrograms of the mineral in each cooked cup. Kidney, lima, Great Northern, navy and pinto beans and black-eyed peas all provide at least 41 percent of the RDA of copper in a cooked cup.