How do you start a low histamine diet when you suspect histamine intolerance or Mast Cell Activation. While it may seem overwhelming and confusing at first, It’s easy when you know what you should and shouldn’t eat. Today’s article we need to discuss what you CAN eat on a low histamine diet.
If you missed my first post on getting started with low histamine diet, I outlined what foods you need avoid. You can check out article 1 here.
Part 2: What to Eat When Following a Low Histamine Diet for Histamine Intolerance
Confused about low histamine diet?, Feeling like there is nothing left to eat and feeling overwhelmed? This is how most patients describe the journey when it comes to following a low histamine diet for histamine intolerance or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. But here is some good news!
- Low histamine diets are not done for months and months with no end in sight.
- A Low histamine diet is only used as a tool while the underlying root cause of histamine intolerance is addressed.
- As it relates to diet, following a low histamine diet does not have to be as difficult or as challenging as you may think. Do you need to make some changes?…. Yes…. Is change difficult? Yes…. but only in the beginning. Do You need to have an open mind to embarking on a low histamine Diet… Yes! Can it be done? Absolutely!
Here are some important Tips regarding Mindset Following a Low Histamine Diet
- There are many foods that are incredibly flavorful, nutritious and easy to prepare on a low histamine diet.
- Rather than focus on the foods you can’t eat when following a low histamine diet, Focus on the foods you CAN eat on a low histamine diet.
- Remember the rule we talked about in the first article, for every food you eliminate you need to find a new food to replace it with. If you don’t find a substitution or replacement for the foods you are eliminating, you will end up with many different kinds of nutrient deficiencies. Ultimately, this will lead to more histamine filling your bucket.
With that being said, lets jump in.
WHAT You CAN eat on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
One of the keys to always keep in mind when following a low histamine diet is to make sure the foods you choose are Fresh, Nutrient dense foods.
When possible, choose vegetables that have are bright and vibrant in color, as these are the foods highest in vitamins, antioxidants, Flavonoids and polyphenols.
Polyphenols are ubiquitous in food and have long been recognized to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities
Best Vegetables To Eat When Following a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance
- Bok choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Cabbage, Green and Red
- Kale (flat dinosaur or lacinato kind – curly is high oxalate)
- Napa cabbage / Chinese cabbage
- Onions – any kind
- Scallions (green onions – especially use green parts)
- Daikon radishes
- Romaine, red and green leaf lettuce
- Dandelion greens
- Butter lettuce
- Mustard greens
Best Proteins To Eat When Following a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance
When it comes to eating meat on a low histamine diet, you want to make sure you are purchasing the freshest cuts of meat possible. Always check sell dates, look for words like organic, free range, grass fed cuts of meat.
If you ever unsure of how fresh your meat is, I recommend you speak with the butcher. Chicken, lamb, pork, bison, goat, venison and beef are all acceptable choices of meat protein. If you are wondering about fish, this is where you need to exercise the greatest degree of caution. Unless you are catching your own fish, as fish age, they contain very high levels of histamine. For this reason, I typically recommend avoiding fish in the initial stages of following a low histamine diet for histamine intolerance and mast cell activation syndrome.
What About Eggs, Nuts, Beans and Legumes as a Source of Protein on a Low Histamine Diet
If your histamine intolerance is severe or you are experiencing a flare up, it’s best to avoid eggs, nuts, beans and legumes as these foods are high in histamine or lectins.
While it’s true, eggs can be a great valuable source of protein (6-8 grams per eggs), many people already have an unknown egg allergy or egg sensitivities/intolerance to eggs.
At DrHagmeyer.com I routinely check for food sensitivities and food allergies. For many patients, some of the foods they most frequently eat are the foods they are most sensitive too.
Histamine Levels in Food Changes according to Cooking Methods
According to this study, when it comes to preparing food, cooking methods does influence histamine levels.
Take for example grilled seafood versus raw or boiled seafood. Studies that have looked at food preparation have shown that grilled seafood had higher histamine levels than raw or boiled seafood.
When it comes to grilling meat, grilling increased the histamine level, whereas boiling decreased it.
When it comes to fried vegetables versus raw vegetables, Fried vegetables had higher histamine levels than raw vegetables.
Best Fats To Eat while Following a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance
Tired, run down, fatigue, brain fog, Hormone problems? Healthy fats have a huge impact on every aspect of health. One very important aspect regarding fats is the balance of omega 3 to omega 6 ratio. I like to look at the omega 3 index and it is something I often test with patients.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids is very important to those patients suffering with Histamine intolerance. We know that one of the main benefits of omega 3’ is the impact it has on DAO enzyme activity.
Best Fats to Eat While Following a Low Histamine Diet
- grass fed butter
- Fish oil
- extra-virgin olive oil
- virgin coconut oil
- grass fed ghee
- cold-pressed flax oil
- cold pressed avocado oil
- unrefined palm oil
Can I eat Nuts and Seeds on a Low Histamine diet?
Most nuts and seeds are not permitted on a low histamine diet however, those nuts and seeds that are permissible according to some researchers and on a very limited bases include;
- flax seeds
I typically recommend the avoidance of all nuts while we work to address the root cause of histamine intolerance with my patients. For those patients that must have nuts, I advise to use them very sparingly.
Avoid the all too common mistake where you are eating handfuls of “allowable” low histamine nuts.
Best Herbs on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance
One of the greatest ways of seasoning foods is with the use of Fresh herbs. Here in the USA, I don’t feel we use Herbs to their fullest potential. Fresh Herbs are a great way to take your dishes to the next level. You will be amazed at the difference fresh herbs can make.
Here are some of my favorite herbs for a low histamine diet. These can be used liberally without fear of causes histamine overload.
- Basil – any type
- Garlic chives
Best Fruits to Eat while Following a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance
While fruit contains many beneficial polyphenols and flavonoids, which again are a great source of antioxidants, excess sugar stimulates mast cells to release histamine.
Excess sugar (even if its natural) also affects the gut Microbiome, causes Insulin resistance, weight gain and promotes inflammation.
Obviously, some fruits are higher on the glycemic index than others. Try to stick to low histamine fruits that are also lower on the glycemic index.
If you are someone who has blood sugar dysregulation, insulin resistance, Hypoglycemia, or Diabetes this is something to be aware of.
1 in 11 unknowingly have insulin resistance which is a prediabetic state.
The best fruits to eat on a low histamine diet will be
- Green apples
Other lower histamine allowable Fruits include,
- all types of apples
- fresh apricots
- fresh cranberries
- fresh currant
- fresh figs
Best Grains To Eat When Following a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance
I saved the best category for last because this is where things get blurry very quickly. My advice goes against the grain (pun intended) when it comes to grains and low histamine diet.
I personally tell patients to tread very lightly when it comes to grains. I know many other doctors, Functional nutritionists recommend them on a low histamine diet. Here’s where I differ.
Most of the patients I work with also struggle with IBS, IBD, SIBO, Celiac disease, GERD and just about any other GI problem you can think of.
- Grains are high in lectins
- Grains are high in Oxalates (Wheat, Corn, White and Brown rice)
- Grains are highly inflammatory
- Grains contain Phytic Acid
- Grains cause leaky Gut
- Grains are high on the glycemic index drive Insulin Resistance
- Grains are cross reactive with Gluten
- Grains have been Genetically Modified
- Grains are sprayed heavily with pesticides
- Grains often contain high mold counts due to storage.
- Grains block uptake and absorption of Iron and other minerals.
While grains provide the bulk of carbohydrates in the American diet, one of the things you will need to do is find your optimal carbohydrate intake once you have minimized grains.
Some people eliminate grains and they feel great, some eliminate grains and they notice a drop-in energy, experience Brain fog and lethargy. While there are many reasons for this, finding your own optimal carb intake will require experimentation. Keep a food chart to track your energy levels when you start a low histamine diet.
With all of this being said, If you still want to try implementing some grains while you are on a low histamine diet, these are are the allowable grains on a low histamine Diet.
- Tigernut flour
- Organic Flax meal
- Hi-maize resistant starch (corn)
- Coconut flour
- Shirataki noodles (Yam)
- Sorghum flour
- Sweet Potatoes
- Celery Root
People who Read this article also recommend
- Getting Started on Low Histamine Diet part I
- Watch my video on resistant starches
- Gluten Cross Reactivity
- Histamine Intolerance and SIBO