If you’ve got a problem with histamines it can be a real Debby downer, but it doesn’t have to be.
Guestblogger and naturopath—Megan Ezzy—tells us about histamines, what they are, how they affect our health, and what foods we should avoid and enjoy to lead a low-histamine lifestyle.
What is histamine?
Histamine is a messenger in the body which triggers the release of stomach acid, and it’s also released when the body feels as if it is under threat.
What happens when our body triggers histamines?
This can cause inflammatory reactions such as hives, asthma, eczema, dermatitis, and hay fever—or in severe cases—anaphylaxis or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS).
How do histamines accumulate in the body?
Histamine can accumulate in the body in a few ways, namely:
- when our detoxification pathways—like our liver, lymphatic system, and gut—aren’t functioning optimally; or
- when ingested histamine foods aren’t being broken down, due to a deficiency in an enzyme known as DAO (i.e. Diamine Oxidase); or
- when someone has a methylation mutation. This can result in symptoms and syndromes such as migraines, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, IBS, and ADHD.
How do you reduce histamine reactions?
So, how to reduce your histamine reactions and lead a low-histamine lifestyle?
As much as you can, identify and avoid triggers such as:
- aggravating foods (listed below)
- dogs and cats
- perfumes and soaps
- stress (easier said than done.)
Support your detoxification pathways by:
- reducing caffeine
- increasing water
- seeing your naturopath (book online here)
For added detoxification support, lymphatic massage and Epsom-salt bathing help detoxification of the lymph (which cleanses our blood), therefore increases oxygenation and circulation of the blood.
Do some dedicated gut healing (maybe after Christmas and New Year).
Nourish the nervous system, for example:
- find ‘me’ time
Studies have shown that reducing stress through Pranayama breathing (yoga) can also reduce your immune responses, through relaxation of the sympathetic nervous system.
Foods that aggravate histamines
Bone broths are fantastic for healing the gut, but they are also really high in histamine.
Anything fermented, dried, aged, or slow cooked (think soy, wine, cheese, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, bacon) will increase the histamine, salicylate, and amine levels in the food and therefore, aggravate this condition.
It’s also best to avoid gluten and certain histamine-releasing fruits and vegetables such as avocado, citrus, strawberries, tomatoes, and nuts.
What foods can I eat?
There are plenty of nutritious options if you’re trying to avoid histamines, such as
- stir-fried or grilled meats
- fresh-caught fish
- fresh fruits and vegetables (except for those ones I mentioned above, i.e. avocado, citrus, strawberries, tomatoes)
- olive oil
- herbal teas
Also try to find foods with magnesium and Vitamin C as they are natural antihistamines.