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51 Foods That Lower Histamine (Anti Histamine Foods List)

When I began an antihistamine diet, I couldn’t have even told you what histamine is, much less why it might have been causing all this trouble for me. It was a hail mary, in all honesty, but damn did it work.

Within a week I was feeling 50% better, and when you already feel like the gum scraped off the bottom of someone’s shoe, 50% better is nothing to scoff at. While I’m still sorting out the root cause(s) for my histamine issues, I’m also continuing to research anti histamine foods I can work into my diet to help bring a variety of flavors and nutrients to every meal.

So what are histamines?

Histamine is a natural inflammatory substance released by the mast cells, which are a type of white blood cell responsible for immediate reactions to perceived allergens. When your histamine level overloads in one area of the body, it leads to inflammation, which can result in food allergy symptoms and even have a cascading effect upon the body.

Histidine decarboxylase (HDC) is the sole member of the histamine synthesis pathway, producing histamine out of the amino acid histidine in a one-step reaction (with Vitamin B6 as a cofactor).

This means that histamine can be produced very quickly, an evolutionary trait which is helpful for alerting you to danger, but less helpful if your immune system has begun interpreting everything as dangerous. So while mast cells are an integral part of the body’s immune response to foreign substances, sometimes they can become unstable and overreact to certain foods.

What happens when mast cells destabilize?

They release histamine (and other inflammatory substances, albeit in smaller amounts), causing an inflammatory condition known as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). MCAS is a type of Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD), a group of immune conditions which affect the functioning of mast cells.

Mastocytosis is a similar disorder, and treatment similarly involves lowering the body’s histamine load. The first step towards calming this histamine reaction is to clean up your diet, and slowly add in more anti histamine foods.

How do antihistamine foods help with histamine intolerance symptoms?

Food is really the best antihistamine for histamine intolerance, as most of us aren’t necessarily overloaded by our environment— as with traditional histamine toxicity (a.k.a. seasonal allergies)— but by our food. This goes back to the three main ways that histamine levels become problematic: ingested histamine, low DAO (diamine oxidase, which clears histamine), and histamine-liberating foods.

There can be genetic contributions, but these factors most commonly arise when we consume high histamine food, DAO-blocking food, and food which releases histamine from other foods. Anti histamine foods are all naturally low in histamine, but they also bring other histamine-clearing benefits to the table.

The foods’ superpowers range from helping to stabilize mast cells to increasing DAO production or simply reversing oxidative damage from inflammation. Some of them even interrupt the making of histamine itself, by affecting volume & rate of HDC production (thereby slowing the body’s ability to produce histamine).

Most of them also contain a significant amount of one or more co-factors in the production of DAO, such as vitamin B12, saturated fats, zinc, magnesium, iron, and omega-3 fats.

Antihistamine Foods List

The antihistamine foods list below is a living document that I’ll continue to update as I discover new ingredients which may help us in our pursuit of health and happiness— you should never have to prioritize one over the other.

If you’ve found this post because you’re just getting started with a low histamine diet, I recommend beginning by reading my 5-day low histamine diet plan. Jumping into a whole new lifestyle headfirst can work for some people, but for others, adding or taking away a large variety of foods at once can send your system into a tailspin.

So before adding in a bunch of foods that lower histamine, consider a three-pronged approach of: 1) removing the highest histamine foods; 2) eating more low histamine foods in their place; and 3) adding in anti histamine foods last. All that said, below are dozens of foods with natural antihistamine properties.

Because I’m a science-minded individual who loves to cook, I’ve sorted each of these natural antihistamine foods based on their function in the kitchen. Most foods have multiple reasons why they’re listed here, so I’ve done my best to link sources for further reading.

Antihistamine Herbs

  • Basil (esp. Holy Basil)
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Lemongrass
  • Mint (Spearmint, Peppermint)
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Antihistamine Spices

  • Black Cumin (nigella sativa)
  • Caraway
  • Cardamom
  • Cumin
  • Fennel Seed
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric

Antihistamine Vegetables

  • Artichoke
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Bell Pepper
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli (& Broccolini)
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Dandelion Root (also good as tea)
  • Greens (Mustard, Collard)
  • Onion
  • Radish
  • Squashes (other than pumpkin)
  • Watercress
  • Zucchini

Antihistamine Fruits

Other Natural Antihistamines

  • Aloe Vera (anti-inflammatory in small doses)
  • Fresh Capers (preserved in salt & rinsed before use are also ok)
  • Hibiscus (great as a tea or chopped up and added to stews)
  • Manuka Honey
  • Monk Fruit Powder (as a powerful sweetener)
  • Moringa (stabilizes mast cells)
  • Spirulina (inhibits histamine release)
  • Stinging Nettle (great for tea, or adding to smoothies in powdered form)

Whether you’re struggling with a runny nose or a leaky gut, it’s important to understand how natural antihistamines can help you heal. For those who’ve also chosen to consume your antihistamine in food form, do you have any others to add to the list?

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Dorothy

Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Thank you for this informative site. I am just learning what has been causing my chronic headaches. First discovering the impact of gluten but when being gluten free didn’t resolve the headaches completely, I realized histamine was also impacting my health.

I started drinking bone broth and then meat broth (after realizing bone was high in histamine) because I read they can heal leaky gut. I started making my own meat broth, not cooking more than 4hrs, but since I started drinking it and not eating histamine foods, my headaches have not improved. Does it take some time to have an impact?

Can you tell me, if I use a dried powder form of bone broth, will it be high in histamine? The powder from would be so much easier than making my own. I know that bone broth is high in histamine but wonder if the dried form is lower in histamine.?

Thank you

Max

Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Hi, Dorothy! I'm not a doctor, so this is just from my personal research, but powdered anything is going to be higher in histamine due to the processing required, but bone broth regardless is VERY high histamine. If you're looking to heal your gut, I recommend asking your doctor about l-glutamine-- it's slightly excitatory, so try to take it first thing in the morning at least an hour before eating. But l-glutamine is one of the main components in bone broths, besides collagen, which makes them so healing for the gut. I've been taking it on-and-off for the last few years and it always helps get my stomach back into gear. It comes in a white powdered form, and I recommend buying a high quality brand and taking it in water rather than a pill of some kind, so it has more immediate contact with the lining of your gut. I'm sorry you've been dealing with all this, but I'd swap the bone broth for the glutamine and give it at least a week alongside the low histamine diet!

Bill

Thursday 5th of January 2023

Hi Max, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the work you have put into this site. I had been to allergists and dermatologists with no luck, and was struggling for many months with itching skin that would become debilitating about once a week, before I found this site. I had tried tampering with my diet over the course of those months with no luck, but after finding your lists, I was able to clear up in one week! I am so grateful. If you use Bitcoin, I would love to send you some as a thank you and to support your work on this site. Feel free to email me. Thank you!

Max

Thursday 5th of January 2023

That's very kind of you, Bill. I'm sorry you were dealing with that, but I'm so glad you've been able to heal & manage that through diet. But my favorite part about running this site it that every post makes this info just a little bit more accessible to everyone— please feel free to donate a little something in my honor, however!

Lee

Tuesday 29th of November 2022

I have coeliac disease and multiple food intolerances. Recently diagnosed with hay fever and recommended to go on a low histamine diet. Unfortunately it's leaving very limited food options. I would be grateful to hear from anyone with multiple food intolerances and sharing in whatever has worked for them. Kind regards from Lee in New Zealand.

Nicole

Friday 18th of November 2022

Hi there, thank you so much for your hard work (and probably a lot of personal trial and error) in compiling this list to help the rest of us. I have just started having having troubles this year, apparently going through menopause and low oestrogen is a time of life when it’s common to have histamine reactions even if you’ve never had them before (mine manifest in hives all over my neck and collarbone area). I really appreciate your list as a starting point, and will follow your 3 step advice on easing into a different way of eating. Thank you thank you 🙏 Nicole

Max

Sunday 20th of November 2022

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this, Nicole, but I hope this list (definitely a lot of research, and trial & error!) helps you stabilize and find some normality in this new stage in life. My mom had to have an emergency hysterectomy and dropped suddenly into menopause, so I know that it can be overwhelming, to say the least. Sending hugs & soothing thoughts!

Lucy vozila

Sunday 11th of September 2022

Thank you for all the information about histamine intolerance It has been very helpful. Just wanted to ask you are there any probiotic supplements that can restore my unhealthy gut and help with histamine intolerance.

Max

Sunday 11th of September 2022

There are definitely probiotics out there formulated with HIT in mind, but because I'm not a doctor, I stay away from speaking on those topics (and I've never tried any myself). I'd check over on Mast Cell 360 for some insight into probiotics, however, because I think she has a lot more data and anecdotes on that topic on her site. Glad to have been of help, Lucy, and I hope you continue to get more answers & healing coming your way!

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