Histamine is released as part of the body’s natural immune response to an allergen or injury, but for some people too much histamine or a histamine intolerance can cause or exacerbate symptoms such as itchy skin, a stuffy nose, or digestive issues.
There are some foods which are high in histamine, that may aggravate or worsen these symptoms, but there's also some that are naturally low in histamine which may help in easing or reducing the severity of symptoms caused by histamine. These foods form part of a low histamine diet, which essentially means avoiding or reducing foods that are high in histamine or which may trigger the release of histamine.
A low histamine diet can be quite restrictive, and so it’s important to work with a registered nutritionist to ensure that your overall diet is balanced, otherwise you could run the risk of nutritional deficiencies. It’s also important to understand why you have a high histamine load or histamine intolerance and working to address the root cause.
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Our top 20 best low histamine foods:
Eggs are a low-histamine food as well as being a complete protein, meaning they make a great addition to a low histamine diet. Egg yolks provide a good source of vitamin D which has also been shown to help stabilise mast cells, the cells in the body that release histamine.
2. Fresh or frozen meat
When it comes to meat, it’s often the cooking method that influences histamine levels, such a frying or grilling, so boiling or poaching your meat helps to keep histamine levels low
3. Fresh or frozen fish
Canned fish are high in histamine and best avoided, but using fresh or frozen fish such as salmon, cod or hake are all low histamine fish
Berries are packed full of antioxidants and polyphenols that help support the gut microbiome, which plays an important role in helping to manage histamine.
Apples, especially their skin, are rich in quercetin, which helps to inhibit the production and release of histamine and acts as a natural antihistamine.
Quinoa is packed full of nutrients, and like eggs, is a complete protein. It also contains copper and zinc which may help reduce histamine load.
Aged and ripened cheeses including Parmesan, cheddar and stilton, are all high in histamine. However fresh cheese such as mozzarella is low in histamine.
These vegetables are a great source of luteolin, a bioflavonoid that helps to keep mast cells stable.
Like apples, onions, especially red onions, are a great source or quercetin that is a natural antihistamine.
Compounds found in fresh ginger, including gingerol, help to stabilise mast cells as well as having natural anti-inflammatory benefits.
Pomegranates are not only a good source of vitamin C, a natural antihistamine, they also support gut health and contain a polyphenol called ellagic acid, that can help stabilise mast cells through its powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
12. Sprouted lentils
Sprouted lentils have been found to be an excellent source of the DAO enzyme, the enzyme that is responsible for metabolising histamine.
13. Mung bean sprouts
Like lentils, mung bean sprouts are a natural source of DAO, but they also contain vitamin C and quercetin which are both antihistamines.
Broccoli is high in the antihistamine vitamin C, but broccoli also contains sulforaphane which has been found to help stabilise mast cells.
Like its cousin broccoli, cauliflower is also a good source of both vitamin C and sulforaphane.
Fresh garlic, not aged garlic, is high in vitamin C, a natural antihistamine that helps to break down histamine in the body faster.
Watercress contains two key nutrients, flavonols and megastigmanes, that can significantly inhibit the release of histamine.
Chives belong to the allium family, like onions and garlic, and have mast cell stabilising properties that prevents the release of histamine.
Almonds contain key nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, vitamin B12 and phosphorus, all of which have been shown to increase DAO enzyme levels.
20. Butternut squash
Butternut squash is high in vitamin E which inhibits histamine release from mast cells.
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