Nickel: The Overlooked Dietary Supplement for Optimal Health
Casper Bernhardt 2 Aug 0

The Overlooked Importance of Nickel in Our Diet

It could be quite a surprise for many of you lovely folks out there reading my ramblings, but nickel - yes, that very same thing we so amicably associate with the five-cent coin - is actually an element not just important for the health of our economy, but also for the health of our own bodies! While it certainly wouldn't do one much good to munch down on a handful of nickels, this trace mineral does indeed play a notably vital role in our bodies' functioning.

Most people I run into, including my darling wife Giselle - who's a health nut herself, only think about common minerals like calcium for strong bones, iron for robust blood, or potassium for a healthy heart. Nickel is like the underrated underdog in the superhero universe of dietary nutrition, often overlooked but still packing a punch.

Surprising Roles Nickel Plays in our Body

Now, don’t ask me why Mother Nature decided to sprinkle her secret dietary magic with a smattering of nickel, for it certainly took me by surprise. Nickel predominantly helps in breaking down certain nutrients for energy conversion, one of which is glucose. It's also a crucial player in synthesizing some important hormones and lipids (fats) in our bodies.

And what's more. You know the body's iron absorption? Guess who aids in that. That’s nickel for you! A few years back, my iron levels were a tad below average. Giselle, like always, had these magical solutions at her fingertips. And she introduced me to the potential benefits of nickel. A well-balanced diet, a bit of exercise, nickel, and voila, my iron levels were back up in no time! An unexpected life experience, right?

How Much Nickel Do We Need And Where Can We Get It!

Given all that jazz about nickel, you'd probably expect that we'd need a lot of it. But, listen to this - our bodies only require about 150 micrograms of nickel each day! I know – it's less than a pinch of salt. So how do we ensure we're getting enough?

Well, let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into the kitchen pantry. Foods high in nickel include whole grains, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, and chocolate - yes, chocolate! Who knew chomping on a chunk of that delight not only satiates your sweet tooth but also meets part of your nickel needs?

When Nickel Turns Nasty: The Nickel Allergy

Being the buzzing city that Edmonton is, I often bump into someone with a nickel allergy. For these individuals, nickel is not a friend but rather a bothersome foe. Nickel allergies are usually in response to prolonged skin contact with nickel-containing items such as jewelry or even some mobile phones and laptops.

Giselle had such a reaction when we were newly married. Ring rashes, they call it. Our doctor suggested it might be a nickel allergy, and switching to a nickel-free ring solved the problem. At that time, Giselle was worried about her diet and if she should avoid nickel-rich foods, but luckily, dietary nickel doesn’t usually cause any trouble unless you're consuming it in unusually high amounts.

Nickel: A Silent Sentinel for Optimal Health

In the end, even the 'low key' Nickel has a pivotal role to play in ensuring our optimal health. The funniest thing about nickel is that it's like an anonymous benefactor - quietly contributing behind the scenes, rarely asking for any recognition or causing any fuss (barring an allergy, of course).

Provided we maintain a balanced and varied diet, we rarely have to worry about nickel deficiency, yet knowing that such an overlooked mineral plays a part in the perplexing puzzle of our well-being is in itself quite amazing.