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All You Need to Know About the Nickel Allergy

Nickel allergies are common conditions that can be caused or exacerbated by the nickel presence in foods. The majority of people that have nickel allergies only become aware when they develop an itchy rash after coming in physical contact with metals used in jewelry, other items of clothing, and various household items. In different situations, allergies can cause serious skin conditions — eczema and dermatitis, and patients should try to do everything possible to minimize exposure to nickel, including avoiding certain foods.

By Cookist

In this short read, we will break down all you need to know about nickel allergies, especially food allergies.

What are Nickel Allergies, and what are their causes and symptoms?


Nickel allergies are the body's negative immune response when in contact with products that consist of nickel. Like other allergies, the immune system mistakes nickel for a dangerous invader and begins producing chemicals to fight it, therefore causing an allergic reaction.

The first thing to look out for when finding out about the nickel allergy is an itchy rash on the part of the skin of the body that comes into direct contact with the element. It usually occurs on the ears when wearing nickel earrings or on the abdomen after using a metal belt buckle. When a person reacts harmfully to nickel, they become sensitive to the element, which usually lasts a lifetime.


The number of people sensitive to nickel is estimated to be between four percent and 13 percent in different countries. Nickel is found in soil and is found in most of

what we eat. If the diet of a nickel-sensitive person contains a sufficient amount of nickel, it can cause dermatitis.

Nickel allergies can appear right after an individual is first (or sometimes after several extended exposure periods) exposed to metal. Cosmetologists have shown that nickel allergies are high due to the common presence of metal in scissors.

Upon contact with nickel, metal particles can enter the skin and stimulate T cells in the immune system. When fully exposed to the allergen, the T cells proliferate until they then cause a rash. Nickel allergies can be a hereditary disease, but the actual reason for this immune system defect is unknown, and they're also no ways known to prevent nickel allergies.

A common symptom of nickel allergy is a ridge or skin rash in the area of ​​contact with metal. Coloration (usually redness) and dry spots on the skin, such as itchy burns, are other symptoms to take into account. In certain situations, the reaction can extend to other parts of the body, also known as nickel dermatitis, and/or it can cause eczema around the hands. In extreme cases, painful blisters can also appear.

A patch test can easily diagnose nickel allergies. Unfortunately, there is no cure known, but doctors can prescribe ointment and creams to apply to soothe the affected areas. Other than relieving symptoms, the only working remedy is to avoid exposure to nickel and eat a diet low on nickel.

How to stay on a low nickel healthy diet


Avoid foods naturally high in nickel like cocoa, chocolate, soy, oatmeal, nuts, and legumes; try to avoid all beverages and vitamin supplements that contain nickel, moderately drink tea and coffee, and limit the amount of canned food you eat.

Instead, eat foods low in nickel like fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products. Grains like wheat and rice are superior to whole grains in refined form. For vegetables, eat more potatoes and cabbage, and bananas, apples, and citrus fruits are the best fruits to avoid high levels of minerals.


Nickel is a trace metal present in almost every food we eat and is completely unavoidable from our diet. Therefore, it's best to look for foods low in nickel and eat a balanced and healthy diet.

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