People who get symptoms like sneezing, itching, or hives in reaction to histamine-containing meals may benefit from a reduced histamine diet. Histamine is a substance found in the human body and some foods.
The low histamine diet can assist a person in determining which foods are responsible for their symptoms. They may notice a difference if they avoid such items. This procedure can be helped by the assistance of a nutritionist.
This page discusses how histamine affects the body, what histamine intolerance is, and which foods people should avoid. It also includes a sample meal plan as well as grocery shopping and preparation advice.
Histamine is a chemical that controls how the body reacts to external objects and injuries.
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- hives (urticaria)
Despite the discomfort that these sensations might produce, histamine plays an important and complicated part in the body’s defenses.
Histamine has a ‘paradoxical nature,’ according to a 2018 study, because it can both increase and reduce inflammatory levels.
Experiments in the lab Histamine, according to the scientists, may aid wound healing and limit tumor development. However, these findings have yet to be duplicated in people.
Intolerance to histamine
Foods that contain or release histamine might cause symptoms in certain people. Histamine intolerance is the medical term for this condition.
Histamine intolerance has symptoms that are similar to those of an allergic response and can impact several body systems.
Among the signs and symptoms are:
- abdominal pain
- watery eyes
The enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO) is responsible for the breakdown of histamine in the body.
People with lower DAO levels have greater histamine levels and are thus more likely to develop allergies.
A short research found that DAO activity was reduced in 10 of 14 people who visited an allergy clinic. In addition, 13 people said DAO supplementation helped them with at least one symptom.
DAO activity was shown to be lower in 316 people with probable histamine intolerance than in those who did not have the condition. After 6–12 months on a reduced histamine diet, 20 of the participants’ symptoms improved or eliminated.
Histamine has different effects based on age, sex, and heredity. Histamine intolerance appears to be linked to the gut lining and gut flora.
People with histamine intolerance were compared to those with food intolerances and those with no intolerances at all in a 2018 study. Histamine intolerance was associated with a reduction in bacterial diversity in the gut as well as a compromised gut lining.
Histamine is produced by several bacterial species found naturally in various foods and probiotic supplements, which may exacerbate symptoms of histamine sensitivity.
Is a low-histamine diet beneficial?
The low histamine diet tries to alleviate histamine sensitivity and allergy symptoms. The diet may be beneficial for certain people, however there is insufficient evidence to support this claim.
A short 2018 research found that a low-histamine diet for four weeks helped individuals with hives feel better.
Low histamine diets have also been proved to assist people with atopic dermatitis and suspected histamine sensitivity minimize symptoms.
More high-quality research on histamine intolerance are needed currently in order to better understand the condition and the best therapies.
According to an article published in the Journal of the Academy of Diet and Dietetics, people with histamine intolerance should take a personalized approach to nutrition.
Medication, stress levels, and a person’s overall health all have an impact on what works best for them.
In 2017, research suggested that dieting should be done in stages. This comprises avoiding histamine-containing meals for 10–14 days before resuming them for up to 6 weeks. This can be used to determine a person’s histamine tolerance.
People should get expert nutritional guidance before attempting any form of restrictive diet to ensure they are getting appropriate nutrients and to avoid an unwarranted deterioration in their quality of life.
Foods to stay away from
Histamine levels are greater in the following foods:
- some types of fish
- aged cheeses
- processed meats
- wine and beer
- fermented products
According to studies, even if a food does not contain histamine, it might “release” it in the body. Scientists aren’t sure how this happens, however certain people may have an allergic reaction to certain meals, such as:
Foods containing amines, which are chemically similar to histamine, can also compete for DAO. This implies that if a person consumes a lot of these foods, histamine will not be broken down as rapidly, which might result in symptoms.
Foods that contain other amines include:
According to some sources, the following foods are strong in histamine or histamine-releasing enzymes, or they inhibit the DAO enzyme:
- yeast extract
- black tea
- Mate tea
- energy drinks
- pickled and canned foods
- chocolate and cocoa products
Example diet plan
The following is an example of a reduced histamine diet that might be followed while monitoring symptoms.
- apple, melon, and pear fruit salad with chopped pistachios
- smoothie made with mango, coconut milk, chia seeds, and kale
- puffed rice with coconut milk
- oatmeal made with water or coconut milk
- cottage cheese and cucumber on toast
- quinoa and herb salad
- chicken, lettuce, and grated carrot sandwich
- chicken and kale salad with chopped grapes
- Pasta with olive oil, garlic, herbs, and chicken or borlotti beans.
- Low histamine fish, such as trout or cod, freshly caught and served with zucchini and roasted carrots.
- Homemade turkey burger with sweet potato wedges.
- Chicken with new potatoes, broccoli, and green beans.
- celery sticks
- apple slices and natural peanut butter
- carrot sticks
- cottage cheese
The amount of histamine in a dish is affected by its freshness. Learning how different methods of manufacturing and storage affect histamine levels in food is a good idea.
It’s also important to consider how a person buys for and prepares meals.
A person with histamine intolerance can keep track of their symptoms and perhaps minimize them by:
- eating foods as soon as possible after purchase
- keeping a food journal to record symptoms and triggers
- planning meals in advance
- asking restaurants about their ingredients when eating out
- buying fresh food, shopping more often if necessary
Histamine levels are also influenced by several drugs and supplements. If a person thinks anything they’re taking is making their symptoms worse, they should talk to their doctor.
Someone suffering from histamine intolerance may benefit from a low-histamine diet. Planning a variety of meals, avoiding foods high in histamine, and setting aside time to make fresh foods can all help a person manage their symptoms.
If someone feels they may have histamine intolerance, they should seek medical care immediately.
When adopting a restricted diet, people must ensure that they do not miss out on critical nutrients. People should seek the counsel of a certified dietitian or nutritionist before embarking on a long-term exclusion diet.