Histamines in Food

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.
  • Pizza
  • Smoked and processed meats such as salami, ham, bratwurst and bacon
  • Sauerkraut
  • Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar
  • Soy sauce
  • Cheese
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chocolate/cocoa
  • 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.

12 Comments

  1. shirley on July 7, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Thank you I have found joy in living again



  2. Heather on July 7, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Hi Shirley, sorry to hear about your suffering, but glad to hear the meds helped make it better.



  3. shirley on July 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I forgot to push the button for email to be sent to me. Will do on this one. P.S. thank you for all the information



  4. shirley on July 2, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    I suffered for years with burning itching swelling rash all over my body. I went to an allergest who did nothing for me. I just wanted to die and end all the pain I was in.my family doctor decided to put me on 4 different antihistamines. The rash went away and only comes back a couple times a year for a few days. I didn’t know until yesterday that food had histamine in it. I am going to do my best to avoid or at least limit most of these foods.



  5. Willow Silverhawk on May 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Anything cultured (including yogurt), cured, fermented, aged, or pickled is high histamine.



  6. Frank on May 4, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention about tomatoes.



  7. Rhian on February 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    I was just wondering about yoghurt! I eat a plain onken fat free bioyoughurt and the only ingredient in it is cows milk…is this still bad due to the fermenting process…



  8. zol on February 10, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Mangos I think are fine, nectarines I am not sure bad. Any one gave up coffee?



  9. Heather on February 6, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Hi Lara,

    Eggs have low histamine.



  10. lara on February 5, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    great article thank you very much. Are you able to tell me about eggs and there histamine content



  11. Heather on November 17, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    Hello Janet, thank you so much for your detailed comment and feedback about the histamines in food. I retrieved that data about the bread from another site on food histamines, but I have studied about the other foods listed. When I wrote that post, I wanted to check other sites to see if I was forgetting to mention anything, but I really can’t remember the source.

    I think bread and yeast can vary for people and how it affects them. I do agree soy can be evil! But sometimes soy, like edemame, can be good for menopausal women or people with really sore/tender breasts (so studies say) but sometimes I wonder if it’s just the effect “because we think it works, it will”. I love to study nutrition and relay what I learn, but love to hear from people like you that can offer up personal experiences. So thank you again for coming to BlendHappy and for commenting!



  12. Janet J on November 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I am not sure that your data about bread is correct. I am highly sensitive to products with histamine – both those foods that contain histamines as well as those foods that trigger histamine release (two different categories). While I agree with most of your information, I was surprised that during my trial and error on a very low histamine diet, that bread does not affect me in any way (unless it is baked in a bakery with soy – soy is evil!) After trying to collect as much information as possible on low histamine foods, I have found many sites that agree that “yeast” is a histamine releaser – however, more studies now indicate that the histamine is released during the baking process and there is NO yeast in the final product, so it does not affect your histamine levels. The same is true of egg whites – if you put an egg white in a smoothie or power drink and drink it raw, it does act as a histamine releaser (also known as a “liberator”), but if the egg is cooked, it should not affect your histamine levels. I know this is a brand new field and I have suffered with this condition for several years now, each year getting worse until an astute and forward thinking doctor (allergist) put a label to my condition and sent me to a registered dietician. I also realize that the jury is still out on several foods and there is a lot of conflicting information out there; however, I found your website very helpful and wanted to just share the information that I have found in hopes that you will be able to either confirm it or deny it. Thanks for all you are doing!