Eating for a Nickel Allergy

low nickel foodsA reader recently wrote in that her daughter has a nickel allergy, asking for meals ideas. 

As always, if you suspect you have an allergy, check with your doctor first — but there are certainly changes in your food choices that could help. 

Up to 10 percent of the population suffers from some form of nickel allergy, and exposure can come from objects such as jewelry, coins, cell phones and even cooking utensils. Like most allergies, symptoms tend to build up over time, and usually show up as dermatitis or other skin issues.

Unfortunately, many of the healthy foods we know and love contain nickel.

Dr. Zirwas, a dermatologist at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, says nickel is in higher concentrations in legumes, whole grains and nuts, and to limit those foods.

As for other healthy whole foods containing low amounts of nickel, he suggests finding out the amount that can be tolerated without having a reaction. Here’s a list of some of the high-nickel foods, but check out this handy chart as a basic but not complete reference for foods listed by nickel content (high, low and medium).

High Nickel Foods, More Than 0.5 mg per Kilo

  • soy
  • beans
  • seeds and nuts such as almonds, linseed, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower, pumpkin seeds
  • whole grains such as oatmeal
  • tea and chocolate
  • baking powder
  • canned foods

Meal Planning

  • Breakfast

    Smoothies made with a base of kefir or plain Greek yogurt, including blueberries (NOT raspberries), pears and peaches.

    Scrambled eggs with chopped red bell pepper, mushrooms, and your favorite jarred salsa.

  • Lunch or Dinner

    Make chicken or fish skewers (NO shell fish), sprinkle on your favorite seasoning and grill.

    Sprinkle lean beef filet with salt and cook with thinly sliced asparagus in olive oil. Top with a handful of chopped fresh basil.

  • Dessert

    Baked apples in the oven or in a crockpot with a sliver of butter and ground cinnamon, just hold the nuts and seeds!

    Vanilla low-sugar frozen yogurt or my personal favorite frozen kefir.


  1. Tomatoes are a medium Nickel food. Buy organic to avoid Nickel contamination from pesticides and use sparingly.

  2. V. Redmond says

    Just diagnosed with nickel allergy 2 days ago. Cleaned out my fridge this morning. Had watermelon for breakfast and blueberries for lunch as I’m unaware of what’s safe to eat. Thanks for you site. I plan to signup for recipes.

  3. Hi, my daughter is being allergic to dairy and now to nickel? What can I do? Where to start? Where to cook as seems everything has nickel. Thanks, Marli

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