Nutritionist-Certified Recipe Roundup: Low Histamine Edition |
Histamine intolerance is a condition that is gaining notoriety in the functional medicine world, which can happen when the body’s natural ability to break down histamine is impaired or overwhelmed by the amount of histamine in the system due to too many histamine triggers. Histamine is a chemical produced by the body as a part of its natural inflammation and immune system responses. It also functions as a neurotransmitter (brain chemical messenger) and plays an important part in gut health. See this article to learn more about histamine and the symptoms of histamine intolerance.
Histamine intolerance always has a deeper root cause – so while eating low histamine and doing some targeted supplementation can start to help manage your symptoms, it’s necessary to work with a qualified practitioner who can help you do some testing to get to the root of where those symptoms are coming from. Otherwise, when you go off a low histamine diet, all the symptoms may come right back.
A low histamine diet removes:
- Foods that are naturally high in histamine, such as: aged and fermented foods (cheese, vinegar, wine, processed meats), spinach, eggplant, avocado, tomatoes, soy sauce, etc.
- Foods that act as histamine liberators in the body, which trigger a release of histamine in response to eating these foods, such as: citrus fruits, alcohol, chocolate and cocoa, bananas, legumes, some spices, etc.
- Foods that block or inhibit DAO, an enzyme needed to break down histamine, such as: caffeine, energy drinks, teas, coffee, alcohol, etc.
- Note: this is not a complete list of foods to remove for a low histamine protocol.
A low histamine diet focuses on:
- Fresh meat and fresh, low histamine fish
- Fresh fruits & vegetables (aside from certain ones like tomatoes, spinach, avocado, and citrus fruits, which meet at least one of the criteria above)
- Fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed ghee
- Gluten-free grains: rice, quinoa, certified gluten-free oats, millet*
Meal prepping for a low histamine protocol can be tough – because the longer leftovers are stored (or the longer food is cooked), the more the histamine content increases due to the transformation of the amino acid histidine into histamine. Many people choose to cook all their meals from fresh if possible, but to save time, you can also batch cook, then freeze leftovers in individual glass containers and then re-heat as needed. Cooking methods that produce the lowest amount of histamine include the instant pot, air fryer, flash frying on the stovetop, or baking at high heat in the oven for shorter periods of time. Avoid slow cooking methods like the slow cooker, or braising/cooking in the oven for long periods of time.
*A note about the recipes: Some practitioners prefer to take a completely grain-free, paleo-style approach to a low histamine protocol, while others are gluten-free but do include some gluten-free grains. If you suspect you have histamine intolerance, make sure you work with a qualified Functional Medicine practitioner who specializes in histamine intolerance and/or mast cell activation syndrome to make sure you get the help and personalized guidance you need!
Chicken & Veggies Meal Prep Sheet Pan Bake (omit tomatoes)
Air Fryer Turkey Breast (use ghee instead of butter)
Steak, Sweet Potato & Apple Hash (sub olive oil for avocado oil)
Sweet Potato Wedges with Tahini (omit paprika)
Garlicky Roasted Asparagus (use coconut oil)