After a long day when I need to relax or while reading a book, I drink a cup of warm tea. Typically there isn’t a day where I don’t drink one to two cups of tea as it’s so much of my afternoon and nightly routine, especially in the winter.
When first diagnosed with a nickel food allergy, or systemic nickel allergy syndrome, I was given the long list of foods to avoid. The list only included excluding tea from my diet if it was dispensed using a stainless steel tea filter basket, strainer or infuser. I was so relieved to know I could still drink tea without aggravating my nickel food allergy. Plus drinking lots of water daily helps flush our body from harmful toxins, like nickel.
However like everything else, I continually read the ingredients of the tea I purchase. Many of the loose leaf teas don’t include soy, but unfortunately several of the bagged teas do contain soy or soy lecithin. Why, some companies use an emulsifier to preserve dried natural tea leaves, I will never understand.
My tea brand of preference is Celestial Seasonings. I love how their teas are sealed without using any stainless steel staples or pieces of strings. The herbal tea flavors Celestial Seasonings’ sells that I drink are Chamomile, Honey Vanilla Chamomile, Cinnamon Apple Spice, Country Peach, Lemon Zinger, Peppermint, Sleepytime, and Tension Tamer (which has both vitamin B6 & B12). Some these teas include the ingredient “natural flavors” which I know many of you avoid, but it hasn’t cause me any issues.
From time to time I’ll drink green teas in the early afternoon, but I primarily drink herbal teas. If I want to drink loose leaf teas, I use a three piece ceramic mug purchased at a local Chinese store. In the summer I make iced tea by placing 3-4 tea bags in my glass sun tea container with a plastic spignot.
Boiling hot water on the stove top I use the nickel free glass Medelco Stovetop Whistling Kettle. The plastic handle is entirely nickel free, but there is a stainless steel rim around the outside of the glass to secure the handle in place. Other notable features of this kettle are that it’s lightweight, dishwasher safe, holds up to 12 cups of water and is affordably priced at $9.99. Personally I like watching the water boil. When the water is fully boiled it doesn’t whistle too loud, so when I use it I stay close by the kitchen. You must remove the plastic lid to pour and I caution against placing it on or near the hot burner, as it would probably melt.
Author Ashimav D. Sharma who writes frequently about nickel allergies and the low nickel diet writes how tea can be both high in nickel and also interfere with the body’s absorption nickel. Similarly both Penn State’s Dermatology Department and “What Allergy” blogger Ruth Holroyd list tea on the okay column for foods you can drink, as long as if it’s not from a metal dispenser.
Purchasing nickel free products to facilitate making and enjoying tea enables me to drink tea often without causing my body to negatively react. If you drink tea often or have a favorite tea brand I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below!
 Sharma AD. Low nickel diet in dermatology. Indian J Dermatology. 2013;58:240. [PMC free article][PubMed].