Many foods that are recommended for gut healing — like fermented foods and bone broths — are very high in histamine, which means that if you are intolerant to histamine, those foods can wreak havoc in your body! That’s right… the sauerkraut and kombucha you are eating thinking you are doing something good for your body could actually be causing more harm than good. And here’s the irony:  many people with gut issues develop a histamine intolerance. It’s especially common in people who have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) . This is why I think it’s so important to have a bio-individual approach when working with people who have gut issues… someone’s cure can be someone else’s worst food! There is no one-size-fits-all-approach. Histamine intolerance is unlike other food allergies or sensitivities in that the response is cumulative, not immediate. In other words, until your ‘bucket’ is full, you won’t have any symptoms, which makes it especially hard to pin point which foods are causing specific symptoms.

SYMPTOMS OF HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE

  Here are the most common symptoms of histamine intolerance. Not all of these symptoms occur in any single individual, and the severity of symptoms varies, but the pattern of symptoms seems to be consistent for each person.

  • Pruritus (itching, especially of the skin, eyes, ears, and nose)
  • Urticaria (hives)
  • Tissue swelling (angioedema) especially of facial and oral tissues and sometimes the throat, the latter causing the feeling of “throat tightening”
  • Hypotension (drop in blood pressure)
  • Tachycardia (increased pulse rate, “heart racing”)
  • Symptoms resembling an anxiety or panic attack
  • Chest pain
  • Nasal congestion, runny nose, seasonal allergies
  • Conjunctivitis (irritated, watery, reddened eyes)
  • Digestive upset (including nausea and reflux/heartburn)
  • Some types of headaches
  • Fatigue, confusion, irritability

  As a general rule, anything aged or fermented is high in histamine. This means that most ‘tasty’ foods are high in histamine ;-( Very high:

  • Soy sauce
  • Kimchi
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt
  • Kombucha
  • Aged cheese
  • Alcohol of any kind, but especially wine
  • Vinegar
  • Mustard
  • Cured meat (including bacon),
  • Fish (except really fresh fish that has been frozen as soon as caught)
  • Shellfish
  • Tinned fish
  • Smoked fish

  Medium high:

  • Eggplant
  • Mushrooms
  • Canned vegetables
  • Dried fruits
  • Avocados
  • Pumpkin
  • Leftover meat (After meat is cooked, the histamine levels increase due to microbial action as the meat sits. Freezing the leftovers slows down this process, so will be lower in histamine).
  • Spices: cinnamon, chili powder, cloves, anise, nutmeg, curry powder, cayenne

Other foods that can be problematic :

  • Tea (regular or green)
  • Coffee
  • Cacao
  • Chocolate

FOODS THAT CAN TRIGGER A HISTAMINE RELEASE

Just to make things even more complicated, there are certain foods which, although not high in histamine, will trigger a release of histamine in the body.

  • Banana
  • Citrus fruit
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Raw egg whites

 

THINK YOU HAVE HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE… WHAT NOW?

If you think that you might have histamine intolerance, I recommend trying a low histamine diet for a few weeks, and then re-introduce to notice a reaction. It’s important to know that a histamine intolerance is often caused by an imbalance of gut bacteria, SIBO, leaky gut, etc. So, although reducing your consumption of histamine will help you feel better quickly, addressing the root cause is what will truly help your whole body come back into balance. To get you started, our FREE QuickStart Guide offers an opportunity for you to trial a low histamine mini elimination diet to see you feel any better.

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