Are These High Histamine Foods Exacerbating Your Symptoms?

High histamine foods and drinks are usually the final straw when it comes to histamine intolerance or histamine overload.

As histamine builds up in the body, usually due to gut inflammation, food sensitivities, pathogenic activity, dysbiosis in the gut, and other underlying factors, we become less tolerant of other natural sources of histamine, like high histamine foods and drinks.

What usually happens is, we start to notice symptoms get worse when we have these high histamine foods or drinks. Symptoms like…

  • headaches
  • migraines
  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • anxiety
  • heart palpitations
  • insomnia

The food isn’t the only problem though… more on that later.

Avoiding high histamine foods with a low histamine diet can go a long way in helping to manage these things if high levels of histamine in the body is contributing.

It’s one part of the strategy to get some relief while investigating and addressing what’s causing the histamine overload in the first place…

Reacting to high histamine foods and drinks isn’t the problem in itself. It’s WHY you’re having a reaction…

The food is the last drop in the bucket causing the whole thing to overflow.

We’ve gotta get the overall level in the bucket down and avoiding high histamine foods can help with that, but you’ve gotta also find what are the bigger fillers….

In the meantime, avoiding and minimizing these foods can help…

high histamine foods

Most Potent High Histamine foods and drinks….

  • Pickled and fermented foods
  • Yogurt
  • Condiments and dressings
  • Beer and wine
  • Canned foods
  • Bone broth

Foods with higher histamine levels or that stimulate histamine production internally…

  • Bananas
  • Avocado
  • Citrus fruits
  • Nuts
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Shellfish
  • Chocolate
  • Dried fruit
  • Eggplant

foods with high histamine

A low histamine diet is about lowering your overall level of histamine (ie. dumping the bucket) so you don’t have to avoid these foods entirely. It’s more about being aware of their consumption so you’re not over consuming high histamine foods.

For instance, if you’re starting your day with a banana, spinach, chocolate smoothie (something that’s super common these days – that’s “healthy” right?!)…

For someone struggling with histamine intolerance, that recipe can be a histamine bomb.

There’s a big difference between that and ordering a salad out that happens to have tomatoes…

Usually it’s a matter of finding the level you can tolerate and adjusting and adapting as root cause dynamics improve.

What interferes with histamine breakdown and clearance….

  • Alcohol
  • Black tea
  • Green tea
  • Energy drinks
  • Yerba mate

high histamine foods - blocks DAO enzyme

Alcohol requires the DAO enzyme to break it down so it can monopolize it not leaving enough to degrade histamine, too.

Black/green tea, energy drinks and Yerba mate block production of the DAO enzyme.

The DAO enzyme is made in the brush border of the intestinal lining so if there’s inflammation in the gut because there’s some sort of dysbiosis, bacterial overgrowth or pathogen, or leaky gut going on, that inflammation is gonna interfere with enzyme production, contributing to histamine intolerance.

That includes not just the DAO enzyme, but enzymes that breakdown proteins like gluten and dairy are made at the brush border as well and these are easily impaired with inflammation, too.

Impairment in these enzymes contributes to intolerance of these foods which is why you can be intolerant to them without it being an allergy or sensitivity. This is where a lot of people struggle. The issue isn’t with the food. It’s what’s going on with the gut.

Clean up the gut. And you can better tolerate the food.

We also need enough B6 to produce DAO, a nutrient easily depleted by stress, too much alcohol and birth control pills.

Are you starting to see how easy it is to get a perfect storm of factors that creates histamine intolerance?

Ready to start unraveling the mess of underlying factors creating your own symptoms?

As a functional health coach I help folks get to the real root of their symptoms so they can finally feel like themselves again. Ready to get started? Best thing to do is to grab a spot on my calendar for a time to chat here.

Megan Adams Brown

The content in this post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical advice.

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