Nickel is a silver-white metal that’s naturally present in our environment. It’s present primarily in connection with other metallic items, such as jewelry, coins, keys. But it can be found in food products in small amounts as well.
While most people don’t experience problems after consuming foods containing some nickel, others can experience an immune response. If you’re one of those people, you’ve definitely wondered if there are ways to check your nickel levels at home.
Can You Check Your Nickel Levels At Home?
Nickel allergies are becoming more and more common, but there’s no at-home test that can diagnose this condition. They are tests that allow you to check for the presence of nickel on items and metals, helping you avoid contact rashes which can be beneficial.
If you suspect a nickel allergy or develop a rash that you don’t know the origin of, make sure to contact your doctor, who will be able to diagnose you correctly.
What is nickel?
Nickel is a silver metal naturally present in the environment. When mixed with other metals, it’s often used in the production of jewelry, coins, keys, cell phones, eyeglass frames, stainless steel cooking equipment, and so many more.
While most people don’t have a problem with this element, some have an allergy that can cause many unpleasant symptoms. In those instances, you should limit your contact with nickel-based items.
What’s more, trace amounts of nickel can be found in some foods you eat. This can also cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to this mineral.
The good news is that most foods contain trace amounts of nickel if any at all. But there are some food products that are especially high in this element. They include:
- Soy, beans, and oats
- Flour, rice, and quinoa
- Exotic fruit, such as lychees, passionfruit, or Jambu fruit
- Arugula, peas, asparagus
If you suffer from a nickel allergy, it might be a good idea to avoid these high-nickel foods as much as possible to avoid any unpleasant symptoms. Nickel isn’t an element that we need to have in our diets, so even those who aren’t allergic might want to choose foods lower in nickel.
This is important since once the allergy develops, it’s irreversible.
Foods contain nickel because of several reasons. Firstly, some naturally have this element in them due to where they grow, such as cocoa.
Other foods, especially farmed veggies, absorb nickel from the ground they’re grown in or from the pesticides and fertilizers that the ground is infused with. Some nickel can also leak into the food you cook from pots and pans. So, if you’re allergic to nickel, you might want to opt for cutlery and cooking equipment that isn’t made with nickel.
You can also make sure you consume mostly nickel-free foods or that low in this element as there’s an abundance of them.
Some of the best low-nickel foods include:
- Fruit: peaches, pears, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and blackberries.
- Vegetables: bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, cabbage, cauliflower, and bok choy.
- Grains: pasta, white rice, cornflakes, and white bread.
- All types of meat except for canned varieties.
- Dairy: milk, yogurt, cream, butter, and cheese.
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of foods that you can consume on a low-nickel diet. It’s also worth noting that small amounts of foods that contain moderate amounts of nickel are still OK. But always make sure to listen to your body and eliminate any foods that worsen your symptoms.
How do I know if I should get my nickel levels checked?
Most people with a nickel allergy experience reactions on their skin, including redness, irritation, inflammation, and rashes. They usually happen when your skin comes in contact with items that contain nickel. But consuming foods containing nickel is also a culprit. In these cases, the symptoms can go even further and include:
- Respiratory issues
- Chronic fatigue
The internal symptoms are rarer but still occur. Also, consuming foods containing nickel on an empty stomach increase the severity of the symptoms. So, make sure to follow a balanced diet and avoid high-nickel foods if you know you suffer from a nickel allergy.
Again, most people without a nickel allergy don’t have to worry about taking in too much as long as they follow a healthy diet.
Foods that are high in nickel are still great sources of many important macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals. So, they should be a part of any diet, even if in small amounts and infrequently.
What are some alternative ways to check your nickel levels?
To check for nickel allergy, you have to get a patch test performed by a professional. Normally, the test just involves checking whether you get an allergic reaction when you come in contact with nickel.
It also doesn’t show precisely how much nickel is in your body, as what matters is any amount if you’re allergic. As a result, there are no at-home testing options available at the moment. So you have to book a doctor’s visit if you suspect you might have an allergy to nickel.
There are several home testing kits that can help you check levels of nickel on metals and other items, such as earrings and jewelry. If you suffer from a nickel allergy or sensitivity, you can also experience rash and infection at the spot on your body when you come in contact with the metal.
So, purchasing such a testing kit can be a good idea to avoid this problem.
Nickel allergies are becoming increasingly more prevalent. As a result, it’s not surprising that many people want to know if there are options to check their nickel levels at home without scheduling a doctor’s visit.
While there are ways to test items and metals for the presence of nickel, it’s not possible to perform a patch test yourself at home. So, if you suspect a nickel allergy or have unexplained rashes, consult your doctor to get the proper diagnosis.
I’ve been interested in food for many years, and nutrition is my passion. From cooking healthy meals to educating myself on the health benefits of food products, there’s nothing that I don’t enjoy writing and learning about.