Do certain foods trigger your unwanted symptoms? Similar to food allergies and sensitivities, histamine intolerance it may be another cause of your adverse reactions to food. However, histamine intolerance is not well understood by most people and its diagnosis can be difficult. Still, there are ways to reduce histamine natural and easy ways to mitigate symptoms.
What is histamine intolerance?
Histamine is a chemical that has many functions in the body. It is found naturally in certain foods and is best known for its powerful actions during an allergic or inflammatory reaction.
However, what is histamine intolerance? Despite the name, histamine intolerance is not a proper histamine “intolerance.” In contrast, histamine intolerance occurs when you have too much histamine than your body can break down effectively.
The main enzyme in your body responsible for breaking down histamine is called diamine oxidase (DAO).
Symptoms of histamine intolerance
While the symptoms of histamine intolerance vary, some common reactions resulting from this condition may include:
- Headaches or migraines
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Low blood pressure
- Hives and/or itching
- chronic fatigue
- irregular menstrual cycles
And many more. However, diagnosing histamine intolerance is very complicated, so individualized functional medicine tests are used to get to the root of the problem (rather than relying solely on symptoms).
7 ways to naturally reduce histamine
To correct histamine intolerance, the root causes must be ascertained. To discover its unique root causes, you’ll likely need some lab tests and working with a histamine specialist. Still, there are a number of steps you can start now to naturally lower your histamine levels.
- Balance your hormones naturally.
- Reduce foods high in histamine.
- Emphasize nutrient-rich foods.
- Take a good quality multivitamin supplement.
- Avoid high levels of niacin in supplements.
- Take supplements to reduce histamine.
- Relax and meditate daily.
Here are some of the foods with the highest histamine content:
- Processed and packaged foods.
- Leftovers from more than 48 hours.
- Alcohols such as wine, champagne, beer, whiskey, brandy.
- Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, etc.
- Cold cuts: bacon, salami, pepperoni, deli meats, and hot dogs.
- Food additives such as carrageenan, colorants, sodium benzoate, monosodium glutamate, guar gum.
- Aged cheese such as Swiss, cheddar, Parmesan.
- bone broth
- fish and shellfish
- Cow meat
- Dry fruits
- Peanuts and cashews
If you’re looking at the list of histamine-rich foods and you’re worried there might be nothing left to eat, don’t worry. Yes, you will need to reduce your intake of these foods, but you can also replace them with many delicious foods that reduce histamine.
histamine lowering foods
This is a list of some of the foods that have been shown to reduce histamine. So try to load up with as many of these as possible.
- Fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, rosemary, parsley, ginger, and oregano.
- Herbal teas: mint, tulsi, lavender, ginger.
- Brussels sprouts
- Cabbage, Green and Red
- Napa Cabbage / Chinese Cabbage
- Onions – any kind
- Chives (green onions, especially the green parts)
- Romaine lettuce, red and green leaf lettuce
The conclusion is:
Eat very few processed and packaged foods.
Reduce foods high in histamine.
Replace those foods with foods that reduce histamine.
If you do, you’ll be on your way to consuming lower levels of histamine.
A very important piece of advice is to avoid long-term use of antihistamine medications if possible. This is because antihistamines don’t actually remove histamine. They only block histamine receptors. This helps short-term symptoms. But in the long run, antihistamines trick the body into thinking histamine levels are too low. The body responds by pumping out even more histamine. The more antihistamine medications you take, the more histamine your body will produce. This can create an unhealthy cycle.
Instead, you can try supplements that actually lower your histamine levels. These will work much better in the long run. There are many options, but here are 3 good ones to start with:
- diamine oxidase
- Vitamin C as Camu Camu
If you follow these steps and still have high histamine symptoms, then it’s time to work with someone who can help you. Find a histamine specialist who is a functional practitioner. This type of doctor can help you identify the unique causes of histamine intolerance and create a plan of action.
You want someone who has been working with histamine intolerance for at least 5 years. This is because histamine intolerance is a very complex issue for many people. Fortunately, working with the right histamine specialist can go a long way toward getting you back on track.