Why do you need it?

You only need a little chromium, but it plays an important role in regulating your blood sugar and insulin. It’s also needed for protein and fat metabolism. Diets high in processed foods may be lacking in chromium but a healthy vegan diet can provide enough to cover your needs.


Symptoms of chromium deficiency may include high blood sugar levels, tiredness and poor skin health.

How much do you need?

Experts don’t know how much chromium people need. So, there’s no recommended dietary allowance for chromium. Instead, experts came up with a minimum amount of chromium that people should get, this is called the adequate intake. For women ages 19 to 50 years of age, it’s 25 micrograms (μg) a day and for men ages 19 to 50 years, it’s 35 micrograms. 

The adequate intake for infants, children, adolescents, older adults and pregnant and lactating women are given below.

Recommended nutrient intakes for chromium. Click to read more…
Age groupRecommended nutrient intake
Infants and children
0-6 months*0.2
7-12 months*5.5
1-3 years11
4-8 years15
Females, 9-1321
Males, 9-1325
Females, 14-1824
Females, 19-5025
Males, 14-5035
Females, 51+20
Males, 51+30
Pregnant woman30
Lactating woman45
*For infants from birth to age 12 months, the AIs are based on the average chromium intakes of infants fed primarily human milk and, for older infants, complementary foods.
Source: Chromium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Available from:

Where to find chromium

The best plant-based sources of chromium include fruit and vegetables, wholegrain foods, pulses, nuts and seeds. You can boost your intake with herbs, spices and  a little dark chocolate. The amount of chromium in foods varies widely depending on local soil and water conditions. Make sure you eat a wide variety of foods to ensure an adequate intake. 

  • Vegetables: Most vegetables contain some chromium, a cup (146 grams) of green beans provides 2.2 micrograms and a cup (210 grams) of mashed potatoes provides 2.7 micrograms, but a cup (156 grams) of cooked broccoli provides 22 micrograms.
  • Fruits and juice: Apples (including peel), bananas and oranges provide some chromium one cup (240 millilitres) of grape juice provides 7.5 micrograms.
  • Wholegrains: Millet, sorghum and brown rice all provide variable amounts of chromium.
  • Pulses: Peas, red kidney beans, black beans, mung beans, cowpeas (black-eyed peas) and red ‘masoor’ lentils all provide some chromium too. Half a cup of peas provides 0.4 micrograms of chromium. 
  • Nuts and seeds: Brazil nuts, almonds, sunflower and sesame (simsim) seeds all contain chromium. 
  • Herbs and spices: Garlic, basil, thyme, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger and cumin etc.
  • Cocoa and dark chocolate: in moderation.