Ask The Allergista: I was just diagnosed with a nickel and chromium allergy - HELP!

This reader caused me to do some more research on foods which contain nickel and wow.... looks like I'll be cutting a LOT more out of my diet if I'm going to stick to this low nickel diet... My doctor told me I didn't need to think about cutting out foods containing nickel unless my skin wasn' t improving. Since my skin still has issues and his diagnosis was a few years ago, I've been avoiding all the foods I thought were high in nickel for the last week and a half.

In the list below, I was avoiding everything from the top of the list - chocolate - down to "millet". I will NOT be avoiding the rest of the stuff on my upcoming business trip this week because I've already done my planning for it and I am SO not changing things now. I leave soon and I have enough to do before my trip as it is.

Q:

I just found out I am allergic to both chromium and nickel. That doesn't seem to leave me many food choices! Is there anyplace I can get a comprehensive list of items or a book that gives the levels of all foods?

I get a rash on my hands when I eat chocolate and whole wheat for sure (and of course when I touch metal), but my big concern is if a titanium screw a surgeon put into my knee when I had my knees replaced (had to have ceramic knees due to my allergies) could be leaching into my body. I plan to go see an allergist since I really haven't done that since the diagnosis. I wonder what I CAN eat. So far, rice and white fish seem to past muster.

A:

Thanks for writing me :-) You know, I haven't found a book that contains information like that, but if you find it, please let me know! That's a great idea: a book that lists the naturally occurring metal levels for all foods.

In the meantime, these are the foods I've found out about which contain nickel:

  • chocolate, particularly dark
  • green, brown and white beans
  • spinach
  • canned food
  • wheat
  • shellfish
  • ground meat
  • vitamins
  • figs
  • pineapple
  • prunes
  • raspberries
  • shellfish
  • mussels
  • sunflower seeds
  • licorice
  • nuts
  • canned food
  • baking powder
  • oats
  • seeds
  • rye
  • millet
  • lentils
  • peas
  • soy products (tofu, soy sauce, soy beans)
  • sprouts
  • brussel sprouts
  • asparagus
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • spinach
  • canned food
  • red kidney beans
  • chickpeas
  • cabbage
  • corn
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • carrots
  • pears
  • bananas
  • tomatoes
  • raisins
  • rhubarb
  • dried fruit
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • tuna, processed meats with fillers or coatings
  • Tea
  • beer
  • red wine

And Chromium:

  • Beef
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Oysters
  • Wheat germ
  • Green peppers
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Spinach
  • Black pepper
  • butter,
  • molasses
  • corn
  • sweet potato
  • apples
  • organic eggs (I don't understand why, but ok)
  • tomato
  • broccoli
  • garlic
  • orange juice
  • grape juice
  • green beans
  • turkey breast

And yes, the issue with nickel and surgery is absolutely a concern of mine too, actually. Dental work as well! My specialist said that many dentists don't know that there's any nickel in the titanium they're using. He instructed me to have any dentists call him if I was having work done.

I've started cutting out foods w/nickel a little bit, but have yet to do it completely. Not looking forward to it :-/
I hope I've been of some help!
Sincerely,
The Allergista
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