Although our bodies naturally make histamine, this substance tends to be present in many of the foods we eat. It is the consumption of these histamine-containing foods that can cause a variety of health problems, especially for those with histamine intolerance. Histamine intolerance can also occur when a person is DAO deficient. DAO is the enzyme responsible for breaking down histamine in the body. If a person’s DAO activity is low, they may experience allergic-type symptoms after consumption of histamine-rich, or histamine-releasing, foods. These symptoms can include itchy and watery eyes and nose, skin rashes, stomach cramps, headaches, and more. Your threshold level for histamine is going to determine how much your body can handle. Since there are varying levels of histamine in foods, it’s important to know which foods are high in histamine, which foods are low, and which foods are histamine-free.
5 low histamine alternatives
The following is a list of foods that contain histamine, along with a substitute that’s histamine-free:
High histamine food #1:
Protein sources, such as seafood, chicken, eggs, and processed meats.
Choose small cuts of lean beef, or eat a variety of legumes, which are both high in protein.
High histamine food #2:
Fruits that are high in histamine include apricots, raisins, pineapple, dates, and berries.
Choose these fruits instead – pears, apples, watermelon and mango.
High histamine food #3:
Soda, fruit juices and teas.
Drink water. Adding lemon or a sprig of mint for flavour is a good idea. Be sure to experiment with flavours so you won’t get tired of drinking the same thing all the time.
High histamine food #4:
Fermented foods like tofu and kimchi. This includes some cheeses and yoghurt, as well.
Small amounts of cottage cheese and ricotta cheese are allowed, as well as plain yoghurt.
High histamine food #5:
Tomatoes and tomato-based products.
Use vegetables that are similar in taste and consistency, like squash, carrots or pumpkin.
Good to Know
Try to avoid any foods that have food additives and/or preservatives in them. A short list includes sulphites, artificial colouring and dyes, BHA, BHT and benzoates.