Histamine is a biological compound released by cells in the body as a response to inflammatory or allergic reactions. Injuries may also cause the release of histamine.
Developing a histamine intolerance presents you with all types of digestive issues and complications with your immune response. When histamine levels get too high in sensitive individuals, they start to experience dysfunction in normal body functions.
What are the Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance?
You may notice the following symptoms occur during over-exposure to the compound if you’re intolerant of histamine.
Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance
- Migraines and headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Digestive problems
People dealing with severe histamine responses may experience anxiety, irregular heart rate, and difficulty regulating their body temperature. If these symptoms occur, the affected individual should seek medical assistance immediately.
What to Do If You Have Histamine Intolerance?
We produce histamine naturally alongside another enzyme, DAO – diamine oxidase. The DAO breaks down your histamine, and when we are deficient in this enzyme, we start to exhibit signs of histamine intolerance after overexposure to the compound.
Another significant contributor to the development of histamine sensitivity is poor digestive health. When the digestive system doesn’t have the capability of digesting food efficiently, it leads to the overgrowth of bacteria in the gut.
As a result, the person starts to experience elevated histamine levels as the body tries to combat the digestive inflammation caused by the bacteria. Therefore, the more you can do to limit digestive inflammation, the lower your body’s levels of histamine circulating.
The Low-Histamine Diet Plan
You might find it surprising how adjusting your diet can bring your relief from your condition. As mentioned, the GI tract is responsible for assimilating nutrients from your food. When it’s in an inflamed state, digestion slows, causing levels of histamine to rise.
Therefore, eating foods that cause a minimal inflammatory response is the best way to manage your symptoms on a day-to-day basis.
So, what are inflammatory and anti-inflammatory foods? The chances are that you never though out your diet from this point of view. However, food makes a significant impact on our digestive system.
What Is Digestive Inflammation?
Have you ever experienced a craving so strong it forced you to devour an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s to yourself in a single sitting? I’m sure most of us are guilty of this at some point in our lives. However, remember how it tastes so good as you’re eating the ice cream?
For those that remember, we’re sure you also remember how your tummy felt for the next few hours after making that tragic dietary mistake. It tastes so good going down, but then there’s misery for hours afterward as your stomach complains.
That’s an example of digestive inflammation in action. All the sugar and lactose in the ice cream id making your digestive system do back flips, and you’re bearing the full brunt of its wrath.
By eating foods that have a low inflammatory response in the GI tract, you get to avoid these kinds of digestive nightmares that lead to a wave of histamine and inflammatory cytokines.
What Foods You Can Eat on the Low-Histamine Diet Plan?
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as food that is entirely free of histamine. However, many foods are low in histamine, and that causes minimal amounts of digestive inflammation. Focus on foods that are nutritious and meet your daily calorie requirements.
Foods You Can Eat
- Fresh meats, such as poultry, pork, beef, and turkey
- Non-citrus fruits like berries
- Fresh eggs
- Glutted-free grains, like rice and quinoa
- Dairy substitutes, such as almond and coconut milk
- Fresh veggies
- High-quality oils like EVOO and extra-virgin coconut oil
The idea of preparing your low histamine diet plan is to choose foods that limit digestive inflammation. Typically, you’re looking at foods that are high in protein and healthy fats, while being low in carbs.
If you enjoy eating carbs, then get these nutrients from whole grains like oats, sprouts, and quinoa, rather than wheat sources like bread and pasta.
Eating meats like fresh wild-caught salmon are high in essential fatty acids that are good for reducing inflammation.
What Foods Should I Avoid on the Low-Histamine Diet Plan?
Foods to Avoid
- Processed meats
- Refined grains
- Sugar and sugar products like soda and candy
- Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and xylitol – stevia is a good substitute
- Fermented foods like kefir and sauerkraut
- Citrus fruits
- Dried fruit
All these foods cause massive amounts of GI inflammation and plenty of histamine production. Remove all of them from your diet, and you’ll significantly reduce your symptoms of digestive inflammation and distress.
Several beverages can increase histamine levels in the body. Make sure that you eliminate the following drinks from your daily diet plan.
Drinks to Avoid
- Alcoholic drinks, including beer, wine, and spirits
- Carbonated sugary soda
- Energy drinks
- Black tea
- Green tea – surprising, as green tea limits digestive inflammation, but it’s high in enzymes that block DAO production in the body.
It’s best to drink only water in the first week of practicing the low-histamine diet. If you notice a difference in your condition after the first week, introduce other options, and note the results in your daily diet journal.
What are the Benefits of the Low Histamine Diet Plan?
After a few days of running the low histamine diet plan, you should start to notice the following benefits.
- More vitality and energy
- Improved sleep
- No afternoon energy crash
- Better levels of mood
- You’ll get sick less often
- Lower levels of body fat
- Better digestive health
- No digestive distress
- Better health markers including lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and inflammatory markers
The benefits will keep building, and you’ll feel your best after four to six weeks on the diet plan.
In Closing – Track Your Progress
Make sure that you track your daily progress with your anti-histamine diet. Keep a daily journal of the foods you eat, the beverages you drink, and how your tummy and body feel on a day-to-day basis.
If you ever need to visit your doctor or nutritionist, this kind of information is invaluable for understanding your condition and the treatments available to you.