Histamine intolerance is a dietary intolerance that is difficult to diagnose because it’s characterized by a wide variety of symptoms, often unrelated. They range from allergies, to hives, headaches, migraines, digestive disorders, anxiety, and so on.
This is a widespread food intolerance, but often misunderstood. Thus, we decided to show you the 10 most common symptoms of histamine intolerance, and 10 foods that you should avoid eating.
Histamine is a molecule secreted by some cells of the body, mainly the white blood cells. But, we can also enter it through food.
For example, some foods produced through microbial fermentation, such as sauerkraut, contain large amounts of histamine. Also, we can find it in smoked and processed meat, mature cheese, pizza, and wine vinegar.
Histamine plays several roles in the human body:
- Stimulates the secretion of gastric juice, which further helps food digestion
- Helps regulate the body temperature, blood pressure and pain
- Regulates the sleep-wake cycle
- Increases the power and frequency of the heart beats (by the release of adrenaline)
- Regulate the hormonal balance
- Cuts appetite
- Takes care for the state of the central nervous system
- Sometimes, we can link it to some symptoms observed in asthmatics and allergy sufferers
When your body does not break down histamine properly, it comes to a build-up. Usually, this build-up causes the blood vessels to swell and is accompanied with headaches and an itchy and miserable feeling. This is what we call histamine intolerance.
When the level of histamine in the body is very high, it causes serious side effects, such as dilation, or enlargement of the small blood vessels, which is an inflammatory response.
With histamine intolerance, the difficulty lies in the fact that many different foods, usually good for the human health, are rich in histamine. Some of those foods are cheese, tomatoes, spinach, oranges, sunflower seeds, vinegar, yoghurt and cinnamon.
This complicates the intolerance even more, because we regularly consume most of these foods! In addition, small amounts of histamine-rich foods can cause no symptoms, but as soon as a certain limit is exceeded, the body will begin to react.
The most common symptoms of histamine intolerance are:
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Hives (Urticaria)
- Itching sensation in the skin, eyes, ears and nose (allergy symotoms)
- Digestive disorders, especially heartburn
- Decreased blood pressure
- Heart palpations
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Fatigue and irritability
If you often suffer from many of these symptoms, especially heartburn, headaches and allergy-like symptoms, this may be related to the food you consume, indicating that you have a histamine intolerance.
To treat histamine intolerance, you must first avoid all foods rich in histamine. Also, you need to treat your digestive tract by eliminating the proliferation of intestinal bacteria. Once these foods rich in histamine have been eliminated from your diet, you will notice a substantial improvement in your condition.
What Foods Are Rich In Histamine?
- Fermented foods like yogurt, vinegar, sauerkraut, soy sauce, cheese
- Seafood, such as tuna, herring, sardines, and mackerel
- Processed meats like sausage, salami, bacon, pepperoni
- Peanuts, cashews, and walnuts
- Spinach, tomato, banana, avocado, pineapple, papaya, eggplant, , strawberries, and citrus fruits
- Chocolate and cocoa
- Black and green tea
- Some spices, and in particular cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, curry, and cayenne pepper
Imagine, a fresh green salad, made of spinach and tomatoes, with your favorite cheese and balsamic vinegar could cause health problems! The same goes for citrus fruits, yogurt, and cinnamon!
For this reason, people who suffer from histamine intolerance are often confused by their symptoms, because they may feel very bad after eating a really healthy meal!
Note that rosacea, a severe skin condition, may also be related to histamine intolerance. People who suffer from it notice a marked improvement after a treatment of the gastrointestinal system. This treatment includes a rebalancing of the intestinal flora, an identification of food intolerances, and adding betaine hydrochloride and enzymes to promote good digestion.