With almost any diet for gut issues, vegetables are the core ingredients your doctor will recommend you focus on when formulating recipes. In the case of the antihistamine diet, this mean focusing on low histamine vegetables like the few dozen listed here. Some people may not be able to tolerate a few of these veggies due to oxalate, sulfur, or salicylate issues, but there will be at least one low histamine vegetable on this list that you can tolerate; I can almost guarantee that.
In fact, I’d even categorize many of these as antihistamine vegetables, meaning that they contain substances such as quercetin, which stabilize the histamine-releasing mast cells. Below are 37 vegetables low in histamine
What Makes Some Vegetables High Histamine?
Histamine is formed as a result of the degradation of protein, and more specifically of the amino acid histidine. The formation of histamine is due to the ripening or ageing of foods in unsanitary environments; there, histamine-producing bacteria help to more quickly decay the food. So some vegetable are high histamine because they’re overripe, though this is rarely the case with vegetables due to their low protein content.
More commonly, high histamine vegetables are marked as such because they’re considered ‘histamine liberators,’ meaning that their presence allegedly signals to mast cells to release histamine. Although this idea of histamine liberators proliferated in chemical-isolating studies done in the 1950’s and ’60’s, no recent studies have been done to try to replicate these results.
Beyond directly containing high levels of histamine or ‘liberating’ histamine from other cells, there are 3 reasons some foods may be considered high histamine. One is if they contain high levels of other biogenic amines, which compete with histamine to be cleared from your system. This is somewhat related to the next reason, which is if they maintain existing histamine levels, generally by preventing the clearing of histamine. Finally, some foods are believed to increase intestinal inflammation, as in the case of spicy foods (like hot peppers).
Medium & High Histamine Vegetables
- Anything fermented, preserved, spiced, or over-ripe
- Hot Peppers
- Green Beans (string beans)
- Soybeans (incl. edamame)
How Can You Keep Vegetables Low in Histamine?
Just like with other foods, refrigerating vegetables before you cook them will slow the growth of any mold or bacteria already on the surface. This is a great first step. Additionally, you should only wash vegetables you plan to eat pretty soon, as water attracts both mold and bacteria. Even if stored air-tight in the fridge, this still creates the perfect breeding ground for both to proliferate.
If you’re still quite new to a low histamine diet, make sure you’re keeping a food diary of what you’ve eaten each day & any ongoing HIT symptoms. You should do this throughout your first couple months on the diet, or as long as you’re still reintroducing foods. It will be important to review both elements of it for later adjustments by yourself or your doctor.
This is especially important because some people have sensitivities to certain plant compounds present in some foods and not others. So if you continue to react when only eating low histamine vegetables, this doesn’t necessarily mean that histamine isn’t your problem. This is where working with a doctor comes in and is so important, because they may be able to see connections between foods or reactions that you can’t see.
What Vegetables Are Low Histamine?
Low histamine vegetables in italics should be emphasized, as they’re particularly antihistamine.
- Bean Sprouts (preferably homegrown)
- Bell Peppers
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Fennel Leaves
- Lettuces (all)
- Summer Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
- Swiss Chard
- Yuca (Cassava)