Nickel is a silvery-white tough metal that is found in trace amounts in the soil, air, water, and the biosphere. It is mostly used in the manufacture of stainless steel, apart from jewelry, machinery parts, and coins and used as a catalyst. It is the most common metal associated with allergy affecting around 4-13.1% of population. About 10% women are affected by nickel allergy and increased prevalence is noted among hairdressers (27-38%). Nickel can lead to allergic contact dermatitis (at the affected site and rarely at a distant site), hand eczema due to chronic exposure, baboon syndrome (generalized rash) that is rare and chronic urticaria that is extremely rare.(1)

Advertisement

Nickel is found in the concentration of 5-500 microgram/g in soil, 0.5-5 microgram/g in plant tissue, 0.1-5 microgram/g in animal tissue and 5-100 microgram/l in freshwater. Since nickel is more common in plant tissue than animal tissue; the nickel content of food is strongly influenced by the concentration of nickel in the soil that varies from one place to another.(1)

Advertisement

Does Beer Have Nickel In It & Are Peas High In Nickel?

Nickel is present in most of the food items and an average human can have an average intake of 300-600 microgram of nickel per day. The major source of dietary nickel is plant-based food; therefore the amount of nickel ingestion varies from person to person, place to place, and dietary habits, whether taking plant-based foods or animal-based foods and the residence of a person.(1)

Foods with high nickel content irrespective of the soil content include whole wheat, whole grain, oat, rye, millet, buckwheat, tea, chocolate, cocoa, gelatin, soy products, baking powder, red kidney beans, legumes (peas, lentils, peanut, soya beans, chickpeas), dried fruits, canned foods, strong licorice, beverages and certain vitamin supplements.(1)

Advertisement

Both fresh and frozen, boiled, drained green peas contain 26 mcg per 100 g of nickel in them. The highest amount of nickel is found in peanut butter, which is 192 mcg per 100 g.(2)

Other foods that contain high amount of nickel include beer, red wine, tuna, mackerel, herring, shellfish, linseeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, walnuts, marzipan, onion, tomatoes, and raw carrots.(1)

Indian diet is especially rich in plant-based foods than Western diet; therefore, it contains greater amount of nickel. Vegetables, cereals, and pulses are the major components of Indian diet, which all contain high amounts of nickel. Even beverages, such as cow milk, tea, and coffee form a major part of nickel-containing foods. A high concentration of nickel is found in processed foods due to the stainless steel containers used for their packing; however, minimal amount of nickel is released when food is cooked in stainless steel utensils, although cooking acidic food may lead to release of more nickel in the food.(1)

Although it is suggested that a daily 25-35 mcg of nickel is required in the diet, the exact role of it in biochemical functions of the body is still unclear. Since nickel is present in both plant and animal-based diet, it is impossible to exclude it from one’s diet; however, certain measures can be taken to reduce the nickel content in the diet. Foods and beverages high in nickel along with canned foods can be avoided; whereas, meat, eggs, and poultry can be incorporated for low nickel diet. Milk and milk products (butter, curd, cheese, paneer) have low nickel content. Cereals such as polished rice, refined wheat or corn can be used along with vegetables such as cabbage, cucumber, and potatoes along with mushrooms can be used, whereas green leafy vegetables should be used sparingly. While cooking it is important to avoid nickel-plated utensils and also to avoid cooking acidic foods in stainless steel utensils. People with nickel allergy should also avoid drinking the initial tap water in the morning or avoid it for cooking as it contains higher nickel content.(1)

References:  

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 22, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest