Histamines are compounds that are a normal part of our local immune responses.
Normally histamines are not a problem, but in some people there is an overproduction of histamines or an inability to properly breakdown the build-up of histamines in the body.
When the levels of histamines get too high in the body, symptom such as hives, headaches, sneezing, fatigue and irritability are often seen. The symptoms are often just like allergy symptoms.
The exact causes are unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are most certainly at play. For people with histamine intolerance, the primary course of action should be to identify and treat the underlining cause of the histamine intolerance. Recent research tends to point to mast cell disorders in many of the cases.
Foods High In Histamines
Some foods are naturally high in histamines, but almost any food that’s fermented or aged will also be high in histamines. The curing, aging or fermentation process create more histamines. Here’s a list of things to avoid:
- Cold cuts
- Canned fish
- Smoked salmon
- Citrus fruits
- Raw egg whites
- Wine and alcohol
- Dried fruits
- Coconut aminos
- Fish and seafood
- Leftover meat
Histamine Releasing Foods
Some foods are low in histamines, but trigger the release or histamine in the body and should be avoided as well:
What To Eat Instead: Low Histamine Foods
- Fresh meat
- Bell peppers
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Coconut milk
- Sweet potatoes
A Few Recipes
Here are a few low histamine recipes to try:
A Few Final Tips
- As histamine levels in leftover food quickly rise, a good trick is to freeze leftovers right away in single-serve portions. This works especially well for leftover meats.
- Some nutrients help the body get rid of excess histamines. Vitamin C, vitamin B6 and copper are three such nutrients.
- Avoid probiotic supplements.
- DAO enzyme, available as a supplement, brings relief for many people and helps break down histamines in the body.
- Our in-depth article about histamines
- This podcast by Chris Kresser
- This food list by Whole30