Nickel allergy can cause persistent eczema and other types dermatitis, particularly on the hands and abdomen. Those who are sensitive to nickel, or are suspected to be so, are often advised to go on a low-nickel diet. Avoiding physical contact with items containing nickel (such as jewelry, keys, hair pins, cooking utensils, etc.) in combination with a low-nickel diet may help alleviate the sometimes severe discomfort provoked by this metal allergy.
Peaches, pears, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries are all considered to be low-nickel fruits. Any of these can be eaten fresh or cooked, but not canned. Raspberries, pineapple, figs, dates, and prunes should be avoided. Apples, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits are low in nickel content but can exacerbate allergy symptoms.
Most vegetables are allowed on this diet. Recommended vegetables include: bell peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, and cruciferous greens (cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy). Avoid green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, lettuce), and legumes, especially dried beans and lentils. Bean sprouts also have a high nickel content. Vegetables may be fresh or cooked; canned items are discouraged.
All plain dairy products--milk, cream, cheese, butter, yogurt--are allowed. Avoid chocolate milk and raspberry or citrus yogurt.
Refined wheat and most corn products are permitted on this diet. Pasta, white rice, cornflakes, cornmeal, and white breads are all low-nickel foods. Whole wheat and multigrain flours, however, are high in nickel content. Avoid wheat and oat bran, oatmeal, brown rice, and flower seeds (such as sunflower and sesame).
Avoid nuts, seeds, and soy.
Most kinds of animal protein are low in nickel content. Chicken, turkey, beef, and eggs are recommended. Shellfish, such as shrimp and oysters, and salmon are higher in nickel. Do not eat canned meats and fish, such as tuna.
Alcoholic beverages, coffee, and tea (though not from urns or machines) are allowed, as are sodas, and juices from low-nickel fruits. Avoid apple and citrus juices and chocolate drinks.