Minerals Guide – NICKEL

Almonds – nickel-rich foods

Nickel in Food

Nickel is a trace mineral essential for our health, but many people are unaware of its importance. There is no recognized recommended daily amount (RDA) of nickel. It is involved in various bodily functions, including the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. If you want to increase your intake of this vital nutrient, here are some nickel-rich foods to consider adding to your diet.

What is Nickel Anyway?

  • Nickel occurs in Nature mainly in combination with the elements arsenic (As), antimony (Sb), and sulfur (S). An example of nickel ore is millerite, which is nickel sulfide, NiS. Nickel comes in a red nickel ore that is mainly nickel arsenide, NiAs, and in deposits consisting chiefly of Breithauptite, NiSb, and of NiAs2, NiAsS, or NiSbS.
  • The most important commercial Nickel deposits are garnierite, a magnesium-nickel silicate or variable composition, and varieties of the iron mineral pyrrhotite, FeS (with varying amounts of iron and sulfur), but which contains up to 5 percent nickel.
  • Nickel ores are transformed to dinickel trisulfide, Ni2S3, which is roasted in air to give nickel oxide, NiO, and this is reduced with carbon to give the ferromagnetic nickel metal, Ni, which can be rolled, forged, and polished. End of the chemistry lesson.

A Recent Addition to the Essential Minerals List: nickel has only been recognized as necessary in our bodies within the last forty years.

Why Is Nickel Important For Our Health?

The mineral Nickel, Ni2+, obtainable from nickel-rich foods, is essential for our health because it plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. Note that this mineral is not the metal. For example, it is involved in the production of certain enzymes that are necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Nickel also helps to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails and is important for the proper functioning of the immune system. Additionally, some studies suggest that nickel may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which could help to protect against certain diseases.

An Antidote to Stress?

Nickel acts as an antidote to the effects of stress hormones to help offset constricted blood vessels, high blood pressure, and increased heart rate. It may therefore be important in reducing the risk of stress-related coronary heart disease.

Precautions For Those With Nickel Allergies

Up to a fifth of Europeans have nickel metal allergies, such as contact dermatitis. If you have a nickel allergy, avoiding nickel-rich foods, such as seafood, is essential. Also, avoid other sources of nickel, like jewelry and metal objects. Common nickel allergy symptoms include skin rashes, itching, and swelling. If you suspect that you have a nickel allergy, it’s most important to speak with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of action.

Precautions For Those With Nickel Allergies

Another downside of nickel in the environment comes from nickel alloys in food processing machinery and cooking utensils. These contaminate food in contact with them. Nickel is also used as a catalyst during the manufacture of margarine, so one wonders. It’s wise to stick to pure butter, which has healthy saturated fats and doesn’t come from a chemical plant.

Top Nickel-Rich Foods To Add To Your Diet

If you want to increase your nickel intake, there are many nickel-rich foods. Note that this is the mineral, Ni2+, not the metal. As mentioned above, there is no RDA for nickel at this time, so guidance on the mineral’s uptake cannot be given, so it’s a matter of personal judgment. As a guide, some of the top nickel-rich foods include:

  • Nuts and seeds: such as almonds, cashews, and sunflower seeds
  • Whole grains: any cereal containing the endosperm, germ, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm. Wheat flour contains 12.7 mg of nickel per kilogram
  • Legumes: black-eye peas, lentils
  • Leafy greens: spinach and kale
  • Shellfish: clams, shrimp, crab, and mussels. These are known to be a rich source of nickel
  • Oats: this cereal is known to have high levels of nickel
  • Unpolished brown rice: this is another nickel another of the nickel-rich foods

Tests show that green vegetables contain 0.11 mg of nickel compared to other vegetables, which have 0.09 mg. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can ensure that you get enough nickel to support your overall health and well-being if you’re not allergic.

Other Nickel Benefits

In animals, nickel is known to help the sugar-lowering effects of the hormone insulin. It also has an effect on fat metabolism and seems to stabilize genetic material. In animals, it appears that nickel deficiency leads to impaired iron absorption and anemia. However, these effects have yet to be seen in humans. Finally, a Sizzling Minerals wafer or veggie capsule contains 188 mcg of nickel. However, that’s pure plant-derived hydrophilic nickel, not the metal in the environment that causes allergies.

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