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Low Histamine Food List– Sooo What Do I Get to Eat?

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Starting the Low Histamine Diet

Confusion. It can be overwhelming hearing what you’re not supposed to eat. Before this particular doctor appointment, I had never heard of a low histamine diet. If I had read about it on the internet, I would’ve chalked it up to another trending fad. My doctor handed me a pithy little list of what to avoid, which left me wondering, “Well, what SHOULD I be eating?” I found an extensive histamine food content list from a Swiss association (SIGHI) that matched up with all the no-no’s of my specialist and went from there.

This is an elimination diet. The idea is to minimize the amount of histamine getting into your system by means of your food to see if doing so can get you feeling any better. Read about best practices, and get a grocery list and free recipes at the Low Histamine Diet Page.

Low Histamine Food List

Here’s a food summary I used as a guide when starting my ultra-low histamine diet. Safest means foods with lowest possible histamine content. Tolerable means foods with some low amount of histamine, so consume in smaller amounts.

Dairy

Safest: butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, young gouda, mascarpone, milk, mozzarella, ricotta

Avoid aged cheeses. Organic dairy products generally have less additives, making them a great option.

Meat

Safest: beef, chicken, turkey, fresh fish

Avoid aged meats.

Starches

Safest: cornflakes, oats, quinoa, rice (rice cakes, rice krispies, rice noodles)

Tolerable: wheat (pastas, cereals, bread, etc.)

Nuts

Pretty much avoid this category, though macadamia nut appears to be low.

Fats

Safest: olive oil, canola oil, margarine

Vegetables

Safest: artichoke, asparagus, beets, sweet bell pepper, bok choi, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chicory, corn, cucumber, fennel, green beans, lettuces, parsnip, pumpkin, radish, squashes, sweet potato, yam, white onion, zucchini

Avoid anything pickled, and nightshades (includes spicy peppers, eggplants & tomatoes).

Fruits

Safest: apple, apricot, blackberry, blueberries, cherries, coconut, cranberries, dates, grapes, lingonberries, lychee, melons, nectarine, peaches, persimmon, pomegranate, raisins

Avoid citrus.

Sweeteners

Safest: caramel, fructose, honey, lactose, maple syrup, sugar

Avoid artificial sweeteners and malt extract.

Spices

Safest: cinnamon, turmeric

Tolerable: ginger, nutmeg, poppy seeds, vanilla extract

Avoid: soy sauce, balsamic & wine vinegars

Tea:

Safest: peppermint tea, holy basil, verbena, rooibos

Tolerable: Most herbal teas are low in histamine.

Avoid: black tea

Other Beverages:

Safe: carrot juice, cherry juice, cranberry juice

Tolerable: coffee, sodas

Avoid: alcohol, energy drinks, chocolate drinks

Don’t forget to freeze left-overs (especially protein), because histamine is produced as microbes break-down food!

I personally have felt a marginal difference on the low histamine diet, but others feel immensely better and swear by it. After a few weeks of hardcore elimination dieting, I decided to just avoid the highest histamine offenders for most meals. A huge improvement through the process was finding a few more mild triggers like malt and cloves. A huge benefit was just generally cleaning up my diet and getting into green smoothies. Clearly my body has trouble enough staying healthy, so why not give it plenty of nutrients to do the best it can. Maintaining a decent appetite can be a struggle for a lot of us POTSies, so smoothies offer a way to get in calories and decent nutrition! After years of restricting calories and intense workouts, I never imagined missing an appetite. Nothing like chronic illness to make you appreciate the most simple things.

Free Low Histamine Diet Recipesfree low histamine diet recipes

 

Reference:  Foods selected based on their histamine content as defined in the histamine food list provided by SIGHI.

Published in Low Histamine Diet Treatment & Help

12 Comments

  1. Jan Jan

    Cinnamon is on most ‘avoid’ lists…

    • brandy brandy

      Cinnamon is actually listed as a “zero” on the extensive Swiss Interest Group for Histamine Intolerance list all my posts are based on. I reference it everywhere… please check it out! http://www.mastzellaktivierung.info/download/foodlist/21_FoodList_EN_alphabetic_withCateg.pdf

      Since everyone is different in their sensitivities, each person needs to tailor their own list. Histamine is by no means the only thing a person, especially a person with a mast cell disorder, is probably sensitive to. Starting with foods that are low histamine is simply a great place to start. Actually many with mast cell disorders are additionally sensitive to salicylates, so if you have trouble with many low histamine foods, it’s worth looking into a salicylate sensitivity… http://salicylatesensitivity.com/about/food-guide/

      Hope this helps!

  2. Liz H Liz H

    First, I am new to histamine considerations. I’m very happy to have found your blog. I’ve seen a few that seem to have a lot of info that conflicts with the SIGHI lists, so it’s great to find one that I can trust.

    Second, how is the histamine content of Mozzarella sticks? The Simple Truth Organic brand of shredded mozzarella has these ingredients: organic low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese (organic cultured pasteurized reduced fat milk, salt, microbial enzymes), powdered cellulose (added to prevent caking).

    The same brand of mozzarella sticks has only these ingredients: CULTURED PASTEURIZED PART SKIM ORGANIC MILK, SALT, ENZYMES

    • brandy brandy

      Hi Liz! Thanks- I’m glad some of my work here is actually useful! The histamine content of a specific food or preparation isn’t something we can readily measure, so we’re left with general guidelines derived from food sample testing, which is probably done with lab testing using immunoassays or liquid chromatography. All I can think to say is that for cheese, the fresher the better! Serious Eats’ Chef Alton Brown explains that low-moisture mozzarella (like your sliced or shredded cheese) is favored for a lot of recipes like pizza, and explains that it’s processed by allowing the fresh cheese to sour and age. This would logically put it in the “aged” cheese category, which we’re generally told to avoid, but I wonder if it is fresher than a lot of other cheese options. I personally don’t have an issue with mozzarella in any form, but then again I only eat cheese in modest amounts like on a slice of pizza once in a while. Hope you get to enjoy! Here’s the link I referenced: http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/02/the-pizza-lab-the-best-low-moisture-mozzarella-for-pizzas.html

      • Liz H Liz H

        Thanks Brandy.

        I think you’re right about it being less aged than other cheeses. I took another look at the SIGHI list. Besides mozzarella, it lists cottage cheese and ricotta as also being histamine free. They’re not aged, but nor are they commonly eaten in a super fresh state, so I’ll assume that various forms of mozzarella are fairly low histamine. I’m collecting easy forms of protein – things that I can keep on hand that don’t require preparation before eating. Fortunately there are a few nuts on the list as well.

        Btw, I’ve found that organic cheeses tend to have fewer additives than others.

        • brandy brandy

          Thanks for sharing, and that’s a great point about organic cheeses… I’ll have to add that!

  3. Aly Aly

    Hey there! Reading this list as a POTsie and suspected MCAS. I’m feeling frustrated by the overlap of great POTS foods and bad histamine foods, like pickles and dried meats… how do you keep a high salt diet for POTS without tons of histamine?!? I’m very overwhelmed.

    • brandy brandy

      That can definitely be a frustrating aspect of having both these conditions! Know it may only really be an issue long-term if you try the low histamine diet and find that eliminating those particular salty foods has you feeling better… if not they should be added back in. The long-term goal of the diet is to have the widest variety possible, only eliminating what makes you feel worse (if anything actually does) histamine or otherwise. I’ve never eaten much salt to begin with, so I learned to be heavy-handed with my salt shaker to douse a lot of my savory foods with plenty of salt. For sandwiches I even take to salting each individual layer. It adds up quicker than you might think. I also recommend supplementing with some products if you’re not doing that already. This page might be helpful… https://www.naughtylittlemastcells.com/how-to-up-your-salt-intake/ Wishing you the best!!

  4. Vicki Vicki

    I am just discovering this way of eating after having visited the ER one too many times and now carrying an Epipen. I have anaphylactic shock reaction, always begins in my face/mouth/lips and then progresses to my uvula and ……………
    I want you to know that I totally appreciate this page and have saved it to my favorites! Thank you for your willingness to help those of us who are just learning, and appreciate the blessing of life, and want to continue on!
    I do have a question, and wonder if you would possibly know the answer.
    *Does a reaction that always begins around the mouth always indicate that the anaphylactic reaction is due to an ingested food?
    Trying to narrow things down here, but without much assistance from a physician who seems competent, I feel a bit at a loss.

    • brandy brandy

      Hi Vicki! Thanks for sharing- I’m glad some of this is being put to use! This question definitely is one for a real medical professional, but I could say that if it was me, I would definitely question what is physically triggering my mouth… maybe a food, maybe something I’m breathing and inhaling. For me, triggers can be hard to pin down and prove, especially because my reactions are almost always delayed and not immediate. Hindsight can be much clearer with some time. If you’re not already I’d suggest making a detailed daily log like I describe on the Low Histamine Diet page to help you identify potential causes and patterns. Also I’d recommend checking out Facebook support group pages where you can search and solicit other patient experiences if you’re not doing that already too. They might also have some suggestions for finding a great specialist, which is hugely important! The Mastocytosis Society actually is now using inspire.com as a place for their nurses to answer patients questions, so that could be a great option. Wishing you all the best and hope you’re hanging in there!

  5. Janice Janice

    Just want to say, “Thank you!” for posting this information.
    It is really appreciated…

    • brandy brandy

      Thanks, Janice! Comments like these keep me motivated to keep the site up and running. Hope all’s well!

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