Shopping Cart

Low-nickel Diet

This diet is sometimes of benefit to adults with eczema. Make sure that you have absolutely no contact with any nickel (e.g. in jewellery, jeans studs, watches or hair clips) throughout this diet, and for at least two weeks before starting it. You may find it helpful to protect yourself from nickel contact by using Nickel Solution™ available from the website.

Ideally you should also stop treatment with steroids or anti-histamines a week or so before starting the diet. This allows any improvement to be easily observed. Obviously you should get your doctor’s permission to do this.

The diet could take anything from six weeks to six months to take full effect. Some people have a complete clearance of their eczema, while for others there is a partial but distinct improvement.

The foods with a high nickel content, which should be avoided as far as possible, are:

  • shellfish
  • green peas and beans
  • beansprouts and lucerne sprouts
  • dry beans and lentils (pulses) of all kinds
  • soya protein and products containing it (e.g. vegetarian sausages and burgers)
  • spinach and kale
  • lettuce, leeks
  • wheat bran (Avoid bran cereals and other products. Replace wholemeal bread with white bread or eat it in moderation only – you can get plenty of fibre from fruits and vegetables.Do not eat multi-grain breads at all).
  • oatmeal, millet and buckwheat
  • raspberries, prunes, pineapples, figs
  • chocolate and cocoa
  • tea from tea dispensers (restrict intake of other tea and coffee, and don’t make them too strong)
  • peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds and marzipan
  • liquorice
  • sunflower seeds, linseed
  • baking powder, in large amounts
  • vitamin or mineral preparations that contain nickel (check the label carefully)

Nickel is also found in drinking water and absorbed from certain cooking utensils, so:

  • Do not use items plated with nickel (e.g. tea balls, some tea strainers, egg beaters). The extremely shiny appearance of nickel makes these easy to recognise.
  • Do not cook acid fruits in stainless steel pans, since the acid leaches some of the nickel out of the stainless steel. An enamel cooking pot is safe.
  • Minimise the amount of tinned food you eat.
  • In the morning, run off the first litre of water from the tap, as this may contain nickel released from the tap itself.
  • Install a water filter – one that removes nickel from water used for drinking and cooking or a whole-house filter that removes it from water you use for bathing, showering and laundry too. Click here for our recommendations.

Several other foods and drinks seem to aggravate the skin of nickel-sensitive people, even though the foods are not rich in nickel. These foods should also be avoided:

  • beer, wine
  • herring, mackerel, tuna
  • tomatoes, carrots, onions, apples, oranges and other citrus fruits, including their juices

Foods you CAN eat:

  • Fresh or cooked, but NOT tinned peaches, pears, raisins, rhubarb, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and other berries.
  • Fresh or cooked, but NOT tinned vegetables.
  • All plain dairy products eg. milk, cream, cheese, butter, yogurt etc.
  • Refined wheat and most corn products. Pasta, white rice, cornflakes, cornmeal, and white breads are all low in nickel.
  • Fresh or cooked, but NOT tinned  fish and meat. chicken, turkey, beef, and eggs.  
  • Alcoholic beverages, coffee, and tea (though not from urns or machines), juice, squash and cordials from low-nickel fruits.

Please check with your doctor before embarking on any diet and do not use this guide as a substitute for the advice of health professionals.