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Histamine Intolerance

Histamine is a chemical involved in the immune system, proper digestion, and the central nervous system. As a neurotransmitter, it communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a component of stomach acid, which is what helps you break down food in your stomach.

A person might be most familiar with histamine as it relates to the immune system. If you suffer from seasonal allergies or food allergies, you may have noticed that certain over-the-counter antihistamine medications provide quick relief of the symptoms. This is because histamine’s role in the body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response. It serves as a red flag in your immune system, notifying the body of any potential attackers.

Histamine causes the blood vessels to swell, or dilate, so that the white blood cells can quickly find and attack the infection or problem. The histamine build-up is what causes a headache and leaves you feeling flushed, itchy and miserable. This is part of the body’s natural immune response, but if the histamine is not properly broken down, you could easily develop histamine intolerance.

Because it travels throughout your bloodstream, histamine can affect the gut, lungs, skin, brain, and entire cardiovascular system, contributing to a wide range of problems often making it difficult to pinpoint and diagnose.

Many factors can cause high levels of histamine. These include:

  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Allergies 
  • Leaky gut
  • GI bleeding
  • Fermented alcohol like wine, champagne, and beer
  • Deficiency of Diamine Oxidase (DAO)
  • Histamine-rich foods

In addition to the histamine produced inside your body, there are also a variety of foods that naturally contain histamine, cause the release of histamine, or block the enzyme that breaks down histamine, diamine oxidase.

Histamine-Rich Foods:

  • Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne and beer
  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, etc
  • Vinegar-containing foods: pickles, mayonnaise, olives
  • Cured meats: bacon, salami, pepperoni, luncheon meats and hot dogs
  • Soured foods: sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, soured bread, etc
  • Dried fruit: apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins
  • Most citrus fruits
  • Aged cheese including goat cheese
  • Nuts: walnuts, cashews, and peanuts
  • Vegetables: avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes
  • Smoked fish and certain species of fish: mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna, anchovies, sardines

Histamine-Releasing Foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Nuts
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Shellfish
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat Germ
  • Many artificial preservatives and dyes

DAO-Blocking Foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Energy drinks
  • Black tea
  • Mate tea
  • Green tea

Fortunately, there are many low-histamine foods:

  • freshly cooked meat, poultry (frozen or fresh)
  • freshly caught fish
  • eggs
  • 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

For more information go to: http://www.histamineintolerance.org.uk

Histamine Resized

 
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