Aluminium is everywhere – it is found in food, water, air and many other things which we use every day. A small amount of aluminium is not toxic and most of it is excreted directly. It is toxic if we take too much of aluminium.

The main sources of aluminium include:

• Food – most of the foods contain small amount of aluminium. Tea, cucumber, spices and herbs contain high amounts of aluminium. Aluminium is bound with many substances present in food and thus the absorption is not very high. The common food sources of aluminium are tea, coffee, cereals and soft drinks. Processed food also contains too much of aluminium. The food additives with E-Numbers, E173, E541, E554 and E556 have aluminium or aluminium salts. Compared to breast milk most cow milk formulas have 10 to 20 times more aluminium. Soya based formulas have 100 times more aluminium. Baking powders also contain aluminium in large amounts.
• Water – drinking water has very low amount of aluminium. But this could be absorbed easily. In some countries to remove the turbidity in the drinking water aluminium salts are used and here the levels can be very high. Not all water filters can remove aluminium from drinking water.
• Aluminium cooking vessels – normally aluminium pans and pots are not bad. The problem starts if you cook foods which contain more acids. These foods have very high levels of aluminium. It is better to avoid aluminium cooking vessels. There are many good alternatives available today.
• Packing materials – most of the foil-lined cartons or aluminium cans have little aluminium as they have a lacquer, cardboard or plastic coating. The food can be contaminated with aluminium when food containing acids are packed or cooked in aluminium foils or aluminium trays. Do not store food in aluminium foils.
• Medicines – Many antacids for treating ulcers or indigestion contain large amount of aluminium salts. Normally very little is absorbed. Do not take vitamin C supplement or food rich in vitamin C during you take this medicine and vitamin C makes more aluminium to enter in the blood. Most of the deodorants contain aluminium salts or even aluminiun crystals are directly used as deodorants. Some of the shampoos contain also too much of aluminium.

If you take food rich in aluminium like tea or cucumber vitamin C must be avoided completely. This means tea with a fresh slice of lemon is very bad and you must avoid this completely. These foods must also be avoided during the major meals so that more iron is absorbed. Here vitamin C supplement or fruits containing vitamin C are very useful.

Do not cook acid containing foods like tomatoes or tarmarind in aluminium cooking vessels. These release more aluminum from the vessels to food.

If we know the sources it is easy to avoid aluminium.