If you want to rid yourself of that red flushed face, random feelings of anxiety and itchy rashes (all symptoms of histamine intolerance, full list here), then there are steps that you can take to achieve this.
Whilst you cannot control the amount of histamine that is naturally produced in your body, you CAN control the foods you eat. Most foods and drinks contain histamine, but some in much higher amounts than others. By making some dietary changes, you can see some great improvements.
Remove all foods that are known to be high in histamine.
Truth be told, scientist are still researching exact amounts of histamine in different foods and what impact they have on DAO and HMNT activities (DAO explained below). But there are foods that we know are most likely to cause symptoms for people with a histamine intolerance.
The best way to move towards a histamine intolerance ‘symptom free’ existence, is to initially eliminate all of these foods. Don’t panic, it is unlikely that they will all have to be forgone forever.
The research that inspired this list can be read here.
Histamine Rich Food List
- aged cheeses
- canned, pickled, and fermented foods
- smoked products, such as sausage, ham, bacon, or salami
- legumes, such as chickpeas, soybeans, and lentils
- many prepared meals
- salty snack foods
- sweets with preservatives
- chocolate and cocoa
- green tea
- most citrus fruits
- canned fish, such as mackerel and tuna
- chili powder
Reintroduce the foods one at a time.
I would recommend avoiding all of the foods on this list for at least 30 days, more if possible. Whilst avoiding the foods on this list you may also wish to supplement with DAO.
If following this low histamine diet your symptoms do subside, then it is quite safe to say that a histamine intolerance or low DAO levels has been your issue. But it could be that you don’t need to avoid all of the foods on the list above. I’m positive there are a few items on the list you would prefer to not have to exclude forever.
In order to find out if any of the food or drink items you can tolerate without issues, simply reintroduce them one at a time. It’s important that you keep the rest of your diet on low histamine foods whilst you are trialling reintroduction. This way, if you re-introduce a food and notice symptoms, you know that it is probably best to continue to avoid that food going forward.
You are probably thinking, what can I eat? The histamine rich food list is pretty extensive, but there are plenty of foods that you should be able to consume without flaring up histamine intolerance symptoms.
Low Histamine Foods
- freshly cooked meat, poultry (frozen or fresh)
- freshly caught fish
- gluten-free grains: rice, quinoa
- pure peanut butter
- fresh fruits: mango, pear, watermelon, apple, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapes
- fresh vegetables (except tomatoes, spinach, avocado and eggplant)
- dairy substitutes: coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk
- cooking oils: olive oil, coconut oil
- leafy herbs
- herbal teas
As you can see, there are still plenty of fresh and healthy foods that are low in histamine. The fresher the food is alway better when dealing with histamine intolerance, foods increase their levels as they age or femment. You can still eat a healthy and varied diet, and over time, you should also be able to add some of the foods from the high histamine list, once you have trialled their re-introduction and not noticed any symptoms from doing so.
Everybody has a different situation, I highly recommend staying positive and optimistic whilst trying to discover the root cause of your issue and on your journey to better health. With a little effort and following the steps above, I am confident you will make the condition extremely more manageable, if not completely eliminated.
It’s all about the bigger picture. If you discover that it’s mainly red wine for example that gives you issues, having one glass isn’t going to put you in hospital, so if you decide treating yourself to a glass of red occasionally with the knowledge that you will likely get flushed, that is your decision, but at least you can make it an informed one.