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Low-Nickel Diet Plan

Nickel allergy is a common metal allergy that causes contact dermatitis, usually on the hands. Nickel exposure is generally from contact with jewelry, buttons, fasteners, cosmetics and detergents, but some food items do contain nickel and can cause a flare-up if ingested. Most nickel-containing food items, with the exception of mussels, are grains, nuts and legumes that have gained their nickel content from the soil they were grown in. With a little planning, a low-nickel diet can be healthy and well-balanced.

Low-Nickel Foods

It’s important to incorporate food sources that are low in nickel, while taking care to avoid those high in nickel. Low-nickel foods include beef, ham, poultry, cucumber, cheese, milk, yogurt, onion, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, corn, squash, carrots, apples, pears and strawberries. Other food items low in nickel include liver, kidney and sausage, however these items should be eaten sparingly when following a healthy diet plan. These particular protein sources are high in saturated fat and cholesterol and should be eaten only in moderation.

High-Nickel Foods

Sources of Nickel in Your Diet

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Food items with the most significant nickel content should be avoided to help curb allergic reactions. These foods include dark chocolate, cocoa powder, mussels, many nut sources, such as hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pistage nuts, legumes like brown beans, soy beans, chickpeas, yellow peas and mung beans, and grain sources such as oatmeal, wheat bran, oat bran, millet, soy flour and buckwheat.

Food Choices

For a low-nickel diet plan, incorporate low-fat dairy, lean meats and low-nickel fruits and vegetables. Most grain sources, which are high in fiber, are also high in nickel so it’s important to get enough dietary fiber from fruits and vegetables. The Produce for Better Health Foundation recommends filling half your plate at each meal with fresh produce and this is also a good rule of thumb for optimum health when following a low-nickel diet.

Menu Suggestions

Foods High in Protein & Low in Potassium & Sodium

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For breakfast on a low-nickel diet, try low-fat yogurt with sliced apples or pears or a fruit smoothie made from yogurt, strawberries and a few ice cubes. Lunch could consist of a salad with mixed greens, sliced chicken breast, sliced pears and goat cheese. Another lunch time option could include lettuce roll-ups stuffed with chicken or ham salad, with a side of cucumber coins, carrot sticks and light salad dressing for dipping. For dinner, try cabbage roll-ups filled with ground beef or a lean cut of beef with a side of carrots, squash or fruit salad.