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Though this year won't look the same as other years, its still a time of year where we may indulge in alcohol, sweets. Even if you are getting back on track you may notice you bloat often and have digestive complaints. You may be suffering at the hands of these foods due to histamine intolerance. A main player in reacting to food with symptoms of bloating, fatigue, rashes, and more is a result of high histamine. Histamine is both naturally found in foods like fruits and grains but people can have trouble breaking down histamine when their bucket is full, when they are stressed or have adrenal fatigue.
What is Histamine?
Histamine is an important part of your body’s immune response, but high levels of the chemical compound can cause health problems.
Histamine is a chemical produced in cells throughout the body as part of the body’s inflammatory response to allergy, infection, or injury.
When damaged or exposed to allergens, cells in the skin, nose, throat, brain, heart, and lungs release histamine, resulting in pain, itchiness, redness, runny nose, anxiety, migraines, and more.
Histamine also plays an important role in digestion by aiding in the production of stomach acid, as well as regulating sleep.
Over regulation therefore can also produce symptoms like acid reflux, racing heart, migraines, abdominal bloating and cramps, and lots more.
Histamine has been shown to recently be a major contrbutor in the role of array of symptoms with COVID Long Haulers also. If you are having trouble recovering you may have devloped actual diseases related to histamine overproduce like mast cell diseases or developed overall histamine intolerance. Good news there are ways to reset this by working with your doctors through detoxes, medications or supplements.
What causes Histamine Intolerance
  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Leaky gut
  • Fermented foods/leftovers
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Genetics (DAO Deficiency)
  • Viruses, parasites
  • Hormone imbalances (Often comes on in women after 35)
How do we Treat histamine intolerance
  • Eliminate food intolerances/triggers
  • Eliminate allergies(food & environmental)
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Address hormone balances
  • Supplement natural antihistamines and DAO to break down histamine before eating.
  • Digestive Enzymes - to assist digestion
  • Eliminate dysbiosis
Eliminate these foods:
  • alcohol
  • cheese
  • fermented foods
  • red fruits and citrus
  • soy sauce/vinegars
  • mushrooms

Whether you have true food allergies (IgE cell-mediated response—if you want to get scientific) or a food sensitivity (non-IgE response), the symptoms can be the same. As far as our treatments are concerned, we can successfully relieve most allergy symptoms as well as those to intolerances and sensitivities.

The list of foods that are high in histamines is quite large. I’m going to narrow down to the most important ones that commonly trigger sinus/respiratory, digestive, skin, eyes, fatigue, headache/migraine, and muscular/circulatory problems. Although I’m narrowing down, there are still a lot of them.


These are the highest histamine-releasing foods:

  • Bananas, Chocolate, Most Citrus Fruits, Eggs, Fish, Milk, Many Nuts, Shellfish, Strawberries, Tomatoes
  • Alcoholic drinks especially wine, Champaign and beer
  • Avocados, Spinach, Olives, Mushrooms
  • Processed Meats like hot dogs and lunch meats
  • Yogurt, Sour Cream, Buttermilk, Cheeses
  • Gluten-containing grains like Wheat, Rye, Barley, and many Oats
  • Yeast containing foods like Bread, Cakes, Crackers, etc. (including gluten-free)
  • Vinegar and vinegar containing foods like mayonnaise, Salad Dressing, Ketchup
  • Pickles, Relishes, Pickled Foods

Quite a list, isn’t it?

But wait there’s more…

All fermented foods are rich in histamine and molds, both of which are highly allergenic. And yes, that includes sauerkraut, kombucha, and all fermented beverages.

Did you really think we were done?  You can add to the list energy drinks, black tea, matte tea, and green tea.

I know what some of you are thinking—green tea, fermented foods, as well as many of the other foods listed above, are healthy, healing, and should be eaten.

Cynthia Preston, ND

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