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What to eat on a low-histamine diet

Low histamine eating

The concept of histamine intolerance is spreading fast as health practitioners, and people are starting to tie their health problems back to histamines. The solution to histamine intolerance? One of the first steps to take is to eliminate/limit high histamine foods. You may be familiar with the list of high histamine foods (spinach, strawberries, cheese, etc.) to avoid, but what you should be focusing on is what you CAN eat. In this post, we are talking about foods TO eat on a low-histamine diet, aka low-histamine foods.

What are histamines? 

We have a whole blog post on this, but in short, histamine is a naturally occurring chemical in our body that plays a role in the body’s immune system, digestion, and central nervous system. Histamines are best known for causing an immediate inflammatory response to an “invader” or allergen. In some cases, like seasonal allergies, there is an inappropriate response to histamines resulting in the dreaded nasal congestion, runny eyes, and fatigue. 

So how does this lead to histamine intolerance? Enzymes will typically break down histamine so that it does not get overly high, but if we do not break down histamine properly, it builds up and develops histamine intolerance. There are many causes of histamine intolerance that should be addressed when working with a health practitioner.  

Despite the root cause, it is likely that limiting or removing high histamine foods or foods known to trigger histamine release in the body for a period of time (usually 2-4 weeks) will be advised. 

What foods are low-histamine?

There are a variety of foods that naturally contain histamine – lots of them being super healthy ones! They can cause the release of histamine or block the enzyme (diamine oxidase or DAO) that breaks down histamine. The traditional low-histamine diet can be pretty extensive and challenging to manage at first, but with some creativity, it gets easier to manage (and remember, this is not forever!)

While there are a bunch of low-histamine foods, we like to focus on quality. 

Low-histamine animal proteins (fresh!): 

  • Chicken and turkey 
  • Beef
  • Eggs 
  • Fish (salmon, halibut, branzino, filet of sole, flounder) 

Low-histamine fats: 

  • Nuts (almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamia, brazil) 
  • Olives/olive oil, seeds (flax, chia, pumpkin, sunflower) 

Low-histamine veggies (fresh!): 

  • Enjoy all veggies! BUT limit avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes

Low-histamine fruits (fresh!): 

  • Blueberries 
  • Apples
  • Melons
  • Figs
  • Mango 
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Pears 

Low-histamine grains: 

  • Gluten-free grains and products  (think: rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, amaranth, millet)

Low-histamine dairy: 

  • We suggest sticking to plant-based milk, cheeses, and yogurts

Sample 2-day menu of eating low histamine meals

Day 1: 

  • Breakfast – Gluten-free oatmeal with blueberries, maple syrup, coconut flakes, and flax seeds
  • Lunch –  Salmon salad over a bed of romaine, pumpkin seeds,  low histamine veggies of choice, and olive oil dressing 
  • Snack –   Apple with almond butter
  • Dinner – Turkey burger with sweet potato fries and grilled asparagus

Day 2: 

  • Breakfast –  Smoothie with blueberries and mango, almond butter, chia seeds, zucchini or frozen cauliflower, almond milk, and protein powder.
  • Lunch – Butternut squash soup with side salad 
  • Snack: Low-histamine nut mix 
  • Dinner: Roasted chicken with asparagus and brown rice 

Want more inspo? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite low histamine recipes!

Bottom Line

When working with clients who present classic symptoms of histamine overload, we have seen great success when implementing a low-histamine diet or limiting specific high histamine foods. Even eliminating these high histamine foods for as little as two weeks and then slowly reintroducing these foods one by one can be so beneficial on your health and symptoms. 

Suffering from histamine intolerance? Click here to work with me!