Many food intolerances are confused with food allergies that are caused by elevated levels of histamines in food. These elevated histamine levels can make eating foods, such as strawberries and many other foods, a miserable experience. Effects of the sensitivity can vary from common digestive problems, abdominal pain and spasms, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, headaches, to skin rashes. Histamine rich foods also affect people with bad sinus allergies or skin irritations.
“Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter. Histamine triggers the inflammatory response.” -Wikipedia definition
If your body system is “off balance”, you may want to start trying to eliminate certain foods from your diet to see what the cause may be. By keeping a food journal, you can see what might affect you. Another way to find out about food sensitivities is through blood testing.
Get ready to be shocked with how many foods have histamines!
- Alcohol, particularly red wine and champagne. Also white wine and beer.
- Aged, smoked, canned fish and fish sauces. Tuna fish, mackerel, sardines, anchovy, herring, catfish, salmon.
- Smoked and processed meats such as salami, ham, bratwurst and bacon
- Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Sunflower seeds
- Coffee, black tea
- Bread and confectionery made with yeast
- Peanuts, cashews, walnuts
- Certain vegetables: spinach, eggplant
- Avocado, Mushrooms, Peas, Olives
- Certain fruits: strawberries, bananas, papayas, kiwi, pineapple, mango, tangerines, grapefruits, red prunes, tomato, citrus
- Anything pickled
If you’re trying a histamine-free diet you can still opt for:
- All veggies except spinach & eggplant
- Fruits: Apples, pears, blueberries, blackberries, coconut, cranberry, grapes, guava, melons, plums, pomegranates
- Chicken, Turkey, Beef (no deli meat)
- Whole Grains (no breads though- they have yeast!)
- Almonds, macadamias, pecans, brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
- Corn, Potatoes, Beans
Those who might want to consider a “histamine-free” diet can try it for a week up to a month. This is NOT a fad diet, it’s only recommended for those who suffer from allergies, skin, irritations, lupus, digestive or bowel issues.