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High Histamine Foods List (What to Avoid)

High Histamine Foods List (What to Avoid)

A good way to ease into a low histamine diet is to start by eliminating the worst culprits, that is, the foods which most directly raise your histamine levels: the high histamine foods. Whether you have MCAS, mastocytosis, or a more general histamine intolerance, cutting out high histamine foods is essential for managing your symptoms. Most food lists out there just dictate what to eat and what to avoid, but rarely do they dig into why there are so many high histamine foods out there.

The secret is: most of what we label as high histamine foods are actually low in histamine. But they’re foods which have some other characteristic(s) that make them trigger reactions in most people with histamine issues. This is actually good news for you. It means that even a couple weeks into the diet, you may be able to start reintroducing some high histamine foods— if you discover the root cause of your histamine intolerance.

opt for lower histamine foods

If your symptoms aren’t very bad or you’re trying to ease some seasonal allergy woes, you can just start by emphasizing lower histamine foods, slowly & eventually replacing each of these high histamine foods.. But beyond the foods with the highest histamine levels, I want to dig into four other types of foods which you’ll find on the list below. Each of these types of foods can raise or abnormally sustain your histamine levels.

You can find a more in-depth look at what to eat on a low histamine diet in my low histamine foods list, but looking at it directly, there are foods which:

Once you figure out why you’re so sensitive to histamine, you may find that you’re able to reintroduce certain foods more quickly due to why they were initially eliminated. I’ve marked the 5 reasons why a food may need to be avoided on each food below, according to the symbols I’ve added next to each of the reasons listed above.

High Histamine Foods List

High Histamine Grains and Starches

  • ~Bleached or enriched flour
  • *+Cocoa powder
  • *Frozen meals (contain preservatives)
  • ~Gluten-containing foods (like seitan)
  • Most gluten-free breads (usually contain yeast & other iffy ingredients)
  • ~Pie crusts (commercial)
  • ~Prepackaged dessert mixes
  • ~Wheat (includes spelt and other types of wheat)

High Histamine Vegetables

  • •Anything fermented or preserved at above-freezing temps (such as sauerkraut or kimchi)
  • •Eggplant
  • *Green beans (string beans)
  • -Mushrooms
  • *-Peas
  • *Pumpkin
  • •Spinach
  • *Soybeans (incl. edamame)
  • *Tomatoes

High Histamine Fruit

  • •Any very ripe fruits
  • *Avocadoes
  • *Bananas
  • ~Commercially-made jams, jellies, juices, or preserves
  • •Cranberry sauce (commercial)
  • •*Dried fruits (including prunes, raisins)
  • *Grapefruit
  • •Olives (preserved)
  • *Orange (& most any other citrus)
  • *Papaya
  • *Pawpaw
  • *Pineapple
  • *Plums
  • *Strawberries
  • *Tomatoes

High Histamine Dairy & Dairy Substitutes

  • •Hard cheeses (basically anything aged, such as parmesan or gouda)
  • •Kefir & other culture dairy
  • •Preserved cheeses (like in brine, such as feta or halloumi)
  • •Preserved creams (i.e. clotted cream or anything with preservatives)
  • -Raw milk
  • •Sour creams (crème fraîche, cream cheese, etc.)
  • •~Yogurts (commercial)

High Histamine Proteins

  • •Aged meats (anything which has been preserved in any way: canned, dried, smoked, etc.)
  • •Cured meats (bacon, deli ham, hot dogs, pepperoni, etc.)
  • •Fish – all others
  • •*~Impossible Burgers & Beyond Meat (largely fillers of unknown origins)
  • •Ground Meats
  • •Leftover cooked meats
  • *Protein powders (commercial)
  • •Processed meats
  • ~Seitan
  • •Shellfish
  • ~*Soy-based foods (like tofu or tempeh)
  • *Uncooked Egg Whites

High Histamine Fats & Oils

  • ~Canola oil (inflammatory)
  • ~Corn oil (inflammatory)
  • *~Fats or oils with added color, flavor, and/or preservatives
  • ~Hydrogenated & partially-hydrogenated oils
  • ~Margarine & other butter substitutes (like I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
  • ~Reddy Whip (& other oil-based whip toppings)
  • ~Palm oil (refined)
  • ~*Peanut oil (inflammatory)
  • ~Safflower Oil (inflammatory)
  • ~Shortening (hydrogenated oils)
  • ~*Soybean oil (inflammatory)

High Histamine Nuts, Seeds, and Legumes

  • ~•Canned or pre-packaged anything (beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.)
  • *-Peanuts
  • ~Red Beans (canned or dry)
  • ~Soybeans (incl. edamame)
  • ~Tofu
  • *-Walnuts

High Histamine Herbs, Spices, and Flavorings

  • ~Anise
  • ~Chili Powder
  • ~Cloves (but worth trying to reintroduce)
  • ~-Curry powder
  • ~Cayenne
  • •-*MSG (a.k.a. monosodium glutamate or yeast extract)
  • -Nutmeg
  • ~Paprika (hot or smoked)
  • •-*Seasoning packets (usually contain MSG & other high histamine foods)

Click here to see the list of low histamine herbs & spices.

High Histamine Sweeteners

  • ~Artificial Sweeteners
  • ~Candy (store-bought)
  • ~Corn Syrup
  • ~*Flavored Syrups
  • ~Fondant
  • ~Frostings (icings)
  • ~Store-Bought Jams (& conserves, jellies, marmalades, and preserves)
  • ~Molasses
  • ~Sugar (refined, brown, light brown)
  • ~Sugar Alcohols (other than erythritol)

Miscellaneous High Histamine Foods

  • *Artificial colors & flavors (including food colorings)
  • •+Alcohols (including wine, beer, hard seltzers, etc.)
  • •Bone Broth (commercial/boxed)
  • -Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • +Caffeine
  • *Carob
  • *Carrageenan
  • *+Chocolates (cocoa/cacao)
  • *Citric Acid
  • •Condiments (pre-made; most contain citrus juices, vinegars, tomatoes, preservatives, etc.)
  • *Ketchup
  • *Lecithins
  • ~Maltodextrin
  • •Mayonnaise
  • •Mincemeat
  • •Miso
  • •-*MSG (a.k.a. monosodium glutamate or yeast extract)
  • •Mustard
  • •Natural Flavorings (could contain high histamine ingredients)
  • •Pickles
  • *Potassium Sorbate
  • *Potassium Triphosphate
  • •*Salad dressings (store-bought)
  • *Sodium Benzoate
  • *Sodium Nitrite
  • *Sodium Triphosphate (preservative)
  • •-*Soy sauce (& tamari)
  • •Vinegars (except apple cider vinegar)
  • *Xanthan Gum

For help avoiding high histamine foods on your next trip to the grocery store, check out my low histamine shopping list.

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