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diet

Low-histamine diet

Diet

If you have a histamine intolerance, a low-histamine diet can help. But first things first: What exactly is a histamine intolerance, and how would you know you have one? Good questions! Because...it’s not so simple. Histamine is the chemical that triggers an inflammatory response when your immune system is under attack. Usually, an enzyme in the body called diamine oxidase (DAO) will break down histamine, but if that reaction doesn’t happen as it should, histamine can build up, triggering symptoms, and you can develop—yep—a histamine intolerance. You can also be sensitive to histamine if you have mast cell activation syndrome. Here’s the problem with histamine: It travels through your bloodstream and can cause headaches, high blood pressure, hives, anxiety, stomach cramps, and flushing, to name just a few reactions. If these symptoms plague you, this diet might provide some relief. The reason: If you have a histamine intolerance, what you eat can add to the problem because there are foods that naturally contain histamine, others that cause the release of histamine, and still others that block DAO from doing its histamine-breakdown job in your digestive tract. Finally, you can also be deficient in DAO. See…definitely not a simple problem! But fortunately, diet can be part of the solution, as it aims to reduce high histamine foods to reduce circulating histamines.

Foods to Eat

Vegetables: Any fresh or frozen (except those listed in “Foods to skip”) Fruits (all except those listed in “Foods to skip”) Fresh white fish Fresh beef (not aged), veal, lamb, poultry (without skin) Egg yolk Rice, corn, oats, quinoa, millet, buckwheat Dairy alternatives: coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk Most leafy herbs Ginger Beverages: herbal tea, soda water, homemade fruit and vegetable juices (with permitted fruit/veg) Fresh coconut meat Cashews and hemp seeds

Foods to Avoid

Vegetables: tomatoes (including ketchup and tomato sauce), spinach, arugula, green peas, eggplant, mushrooms, and seaweed Fruit: overly ripe bananas, soft avocado, citrus fruits, papaya, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries, plums Dried fruit Fatty fish and shellfish, including tuna, salmon, mussels, lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and prawns Smoked, aged, or cured meats and fish Legumes: lentils, beans, soy, and soy products (tofu, tempeh, soy milk) Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, soy sauce, pickles, and olives Yeast-risen foods like bread, bagels, sourdough, and pastries Cheese, especially aged cheeses Cocoa and chocolate Black tea, green tea, and coffee Alcohol, especially fermented alcoholic drinks, including wine, champagne, beer, and liqueurs Vinegar Nuts (except cashews) and seeds Bone broth Leftovers

What Studies Say

Histamine intolerance is real, and a diet that curbs histamines can help. Researchers have also explored low-histamine diets for specific conditions, like chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU), itchy hives that can go on for months or years. Studies have shown that being on the diet for 3 or 4 weeks reduces symptoms and improves quality of life for those with this condition. And one study found that those who have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (the symptoms are very similar to histamine sensitivity) might benefit from a low-histamine food regimen.

Effort Level

Vegetables: Any fresh or frozen (except those listed in “Foods to skip”) Fruits (all except those listed in “Foods to skip”) Fresh white fish Fresh beef (not aged), veal, lamb, poultry (without skin) Egg yolk Rice, corn, oats, quinoa, millet, buckwheat Dairy alternatives: coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk Most leafy herbs Ginger Beverages: herbal tea, soda water, homemade fruit and vegetable juices (with permitted fruit/veg) Fresh coconut meat Cashews and hemp seeds

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