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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

Antihistamine Spices

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

Antihistamine Vegetables

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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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!

John Morrisom

Wednesday 3rd of August 2022

Thank you for your blog, I feel better equipped to handle my allergies that primarily from food, secondarily pollen, dust, etc. I found that my gut health is a major influence to the all the bodily systems, and I have been focused on balance of the flora. I have been doing intermittent fasting as well. All the best and God Bless you.

Max

Wednesday 3rd of August 2022

I'm very glad to have offered any help, but all the work is on you. You've got this! Thank you for your kind comment, John.

Lorri

Thursday 21st of July 2022

Right now, I take Benadryl or Allegra to keep from flare-ups. Also, eating more antihistamine foods.

Max

Thursday 21st of July 2022

I've had to be on a daily antihistamine for the last 5 or 6 months, thanks to an allergy to my boyfriend's cats, and I've found it to be super helpful! I was skeptical before, and I don't take one when we're away for the weekend, but it's a solid tool to keep in your tool belt. I'm glad you've found things that work for you!

Adam

Monday 13th of June 2022

Hello, appreciate your information! I use to struggle for decades with symptoms that so called doctors have simply diagnosed as IBS, Heat Rash, Depression, Bi-Polar and the list goes on.

For me, I have been through the medical system so many times. Been put into the psych ward 7 times. Yes, exactly 7. My sad adolescent story boo Hoo me. Blah blah 😑

All doctors wanted to do was throw shit medication down my throat to solve the symptoms, but never giving me answers or hope that I would get better. Not once.. (my bitterness toward so called doctors is quite high)

I have a more then above intelligence, however, I was trained to follow and be an obedient sheep.

So I wholeheartedly took the advice of the so called doctors. Years of following this path of seeing a new doctor, prescribed this shit, that shit, I finally came to a crashing point and the only solution to end the torture. Hang myself.. (during these years in my 20’s I was doing a lot of self medicating with alcohol. Definitely the wrong solution.)

Luckily I had enough people who loved me and a good friend who saved my life.

The last time I was in the ward. I made a promise to my dad to stop drinking and went to rehab. I have been sober now for 10 years.

The last 10 years I have remarkable strides in understanding that EVERYTHING that has been plaguing me my entire life has been associated with the inability to break down Fructose and having intolerance to Histamines.

That’s right, every damn thing. So much lost time, so much suffering do to the ignorance of high paid drug lords. The so called doctors.

I am sitting here today. Pain free, mind clear, on NO medication, no drugs, no alcohol, a free sole.

I have a family, a successful business, and everyday I am continually tweaking and discovering new foods I can eat.

So I wrote all this sad shit for the one or two people who might actually read this who are smart enough to listen to your own body. Make your own moves and take control of your taste buds, your cravings and make serious change to your life.

Done with my soap opera.

lowhistamineeats

Monday 13th of June 2022

First off, I am so sorry that you've had so many terrible experiences in the medical system. Unfortunately that seems to be becoming the norm for people like us, but I am glad that you've found some parameters of your mysterious illness. I'm also grateful there are so many people like your friend out in the world, who choose to save us when we're at our lowest. But wow... fructose and histamine. Those are two very prevalent and often-misunderstood substances! I hope you continue to find these new food options each day, and thanks for sharing your story, Adam.

Gay smith

Friday 27th of May 2022

Great list.. I'm really new and questions I can't find answers to.. can you direct me to answers or Answer them 1. Can I take frozen food sealed with foods average and put it in my sous vide to defrost in water and then cook..? 2. I do home canning.. if my meat is fresh (based on all I've read just killed) can I pressure can it? Will it "grow" histamine in the sealed jar?

Thank you.. freezing itimited my room and finding cooking methods acceptable is tough.. also if canning is possible I can take food with me

lowhistamineeats

Saturday 28th of May 2022

Hi, Gay! I'll answer as best I can, but I'll be honest-- I have very little experience with canning. I know that you can defrost frozen foods in warm water, preferably in 20 minutes or less, though, which is much shorter than a sous vide takes to cook normally (but I can't speak to defrosting, so if defrosting takes less than 20 minutes in the sous vide, you shouldn't have a problem).

As for the canning, well, the issue with histamine and meat is that histamine is formed directly from the degradation of proteins. The amino acid histidine is turned into histamine thanks to bacteria, which commonly live on the raw meat (hence even refrigeration not being enough). So if you feel incredibly confident that 1) there is very little bacteria on the meat and 2) there is absolutely no oxygen able to enter the jars, and therefore the bacteria will quickly starve, you should be okay. This is based on my own light research, and I am not a food safety processional, but it does appear that the majority of the risk comes from the processing environment (if you search "canning" within this study, or "histamine" within this article, you can read more about what science knows about histamine formation during canning, which is all I have to go off of without personal experience). So if you're confident about the freshness of the meat and the cleanliness in processing, then I say go for it. Try canning a small batch and wait a week or two, then give it a very small taste, just like with reintroducing any other food.

I hope this helped, and please let me know how it goes, if you proceed!

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