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Histamine Intolerance

Posted on 20th May 2018

What is histamine?

Histamine is a chemical released by our body in response to allergy, injury or inflammation. When an allergenic food enters the body, and we are deficient in the enzyme called Diamine Oxidase (DAO), which breaks down histamines, we cannot break down histamine and it collects within the body.

What happens when we have a histamine intolerance?

Histamine intolerance is when the body reaches a threshold, after  gradual build-up of histamine in the body. This is due to deficiency of the DAP enzyme, hindering the body’s ability to break down the histamine.

Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance can include;

  • Headaches/Migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Stuffy nose/sneezing
  • Watery/itchy eyes
  • Hives
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach cramps
  • Flushing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Swelling in face, mouth or throat

Possible Root Causes of Histamine Intolerance

  • IgE Allergies (substances that are generally safe to ingest for most people)
  • SIBO (bacterial overgrowth)
  • High Histamine Food intake
  • DAO Blockers (alcohol & black/green teas)
  • DAO Deficiency (deficient in the enzyme, Diamine Oxidase, that breaks down histamine)

The diet

Unfortunately, there are a lot of nutrient dense foods that are high in histamine. These foods are generally healthy for us and provide us with essential vitamins and minerals.

It may be possible to build tolerance within the body by;

  • Following a strict low histamine protocol for 30 days and then slowly add in the high histamine foods, combined with the quercetin rich foods (natural anti-histamines) and see how you react. It is important to eat the combined foods in order to keep the histamine down, since you are already sensitive to it. Keep a diary of your reactions when you begin to introduce foods, this way you can see what foods you still react to and also to see if you are beginning to build tolerance.

Or you can try to avoid overloading your system with high histamine foods in a short space of time and instead keep intake in moderation (this is very individual) and combine quercetin rish foods, alongside avoiding DAO enyme blockers.

Low Histamine Foods (Eat Often)

  • Meat, Poultry and Fish (fresh or frozen)
  • Gluten Free Grains (quinoa, rice, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Leafy Herbs
  • Herbal Teas
  • Milk Alternatives (coconut, hemp, almond)
  • Fresh Vegetables (except listed as AVOID)
  • Fresh Fruits (apples, pears, cantaloupe, grapes, watermelon, mango)

Quercetin Rich Foods (Eat Often And Combine With High Histamine Foods)

  • Fresh Fruits (apples, plums, cranberries and juice, black currants, capers)
  • Fresh Vegetables (kale, onions – all varieties, red being the highest, spinach)
  • Fresh Herbs (tarragon, watercress, chives, coriander, lovage, dill)
  • Cocoa Powder (raw)

Medium Histamine Foods

  • Fresh Fruits (bananas, papayas, strawberries, avocados, pineapples, raspberries, apricots, kiwis, nectarines, peaches, citrus)
  • Fresh Vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, nightshades, fava beans, mushrooms)
  • Honey
  • Nuts (walnuts, cashews, peanuts, etc.)
  • Fish and Seafood (shellfish, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, smoked herring, etc.)
  • Fermented Foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, vinegar, kefir, yougurt, etc.)

High Histamine Foods

  • Alcohol
  • Dried Fruit
  • Chocolate
  • Milk (Dairy)
  • Wheat Germ
  • Fermented Alcohol (wine, beer, champagne, etc.)
  • Fermented Foods (sauerkraut, kimchi, vinegar, kefir, yougurt, etc.)
  • Pickled Foods (olives, pickles, mayonnaise, etc.)
  • Cured Meats (lunch meats, hot dogs, pepperoni, bacon, etc.)
  • Soured Foods (sour cream, buttermilk, sourdough and other high yeast breads, etc.)
  • Fish and Seafood (shellfish, tuna, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, smoked herring, etc.)
  • Aged Cheese (parmesan, blue, asiago, etc.)
  • Goats Cheese
  • Food Dyes and Artificial Sweeteners
  • Ascorbic Acid (look at supplements list)
  • Fresh Fruits (bananas, papayas, strawberries, avocados, pineapples, raspberries, apricots, kiwis, nectarines, peaches, citrus)
  • Fresh Vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, nightshades, fava beans, mushrooms)
  • Honey
  • Leftovers (due to bacteria)
  • Nuts (walnuts, cashews, peanuts, etc.)