Lately it seems like every week there's yet another trendy health ingredient you supposedly need to try, whether that be whatever's being touted as the new quinoa or the hottest smoothie-ready superfood. But with more of a focus on wellness than ever before, testing out a new food, drink, or supplement seems a small price to pay if it means potentially offering you benefits like an increase in energy or a better functioning immune system. Enter chromium and its plethora of benefits.
While it's highly likely you haven't heard of it, the mineral is rapidly gaining recognition for its ability to regulate insulin levels — something that has numerous benefits to your body that you might not even know about. As certified naturopath Dr. Laurie Brodsky explains, "Chromium itself is a metallic element that we lose from our bodies during times of stress. It also gets lost through urine and sweat so after acute exercise, your body is in a state of relative chromium deficiency."
Whether you are aware of it or not, most of you reading this may already be lacking in the mineral due to a handful of factors. "We're more commonly deficient than not in chromium," says Dr. Brodsky. "Any other forms of stress or infection or even women who are pregnant or lactating, are people who are more commonly susceptible to chromium deficiency along with anyone with metabolic or blood sugar regulation issues like Type 2 diabetes." Additionally, your age may be a reason. "As we age, our chromium absorption decreases," she adds. "And because we're constantly secreting it when we sweat and exercise, this ultimately means we constantly need more of this specific element over time."
Thankfully, more and more forms of chromium are becoming readily available, whether it be in the form of a tasty beverage — like Dirty Lemon's latest concoction — or a daily supplement you can easily add to your regimen. Need a little more convincing? Read ahead for a few more reasons you might want to consider adding the mineral into your diet ASAP — plus a few ways to try it out.
Fights Hormone Imbalance & Fatigue
"Chromium can actually impact hormones through insulin in particular, which is so important for everyone because insulin helps us with the storage and absorption of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat," Dr. Brodsky explains. "Whether you're eating a good diet or not, it's surely going to be composed of carbs, proteins, and fat so that's why chromium applies to anyone because it helps to metabolize, store, and absorb all food groups."
Curbs Sugar Cravings
Good news for anyone trying not to succumb to a sweet tooth: Adding chromium to your diet may help. "A lot of cravings typically develop in a much deeper state in the brain like the amygdala or the hypothalamus, which tells you 'I'm really hungry — give me sugar now!'," Dr. Brodsky says. "When you mitigate these neural pathways at the cellular level, you can gently affect and change your homeostatic balance." Using the mineral — as opposed to eating sugary foods — to regulate your insulin means you can avoid the crash-and-burn effect, plus you'll be far less likely to be reaching for a sugar-filled fix.
There's a reason drinks like Dirty Lemon +Chromium are becoming trendy for pre-workout sipping. "Muscles are made of protein and when you're properly assimilating, absorbing, and metabolizing your nutrients, your body is able to build healthy, clean, strong, and lean muscle mass," explains Dr. Brodsky. "Chromium doesn't equal muscle mass but it does help with work performance and energy expenditure by keeping your blood sugar and insulin levels in control."