Some foods hold an impressive ability to work as anti histamine foods. For this reason, it is great to include these nutritious foods on a low histamine diet or any healthy diet.
In this post, learn about the top antihistamine foods, food preparation tips, supplements, and meal plans to keep your body feeling free of allergy symptoms all year long.
Anti Histamine Foods
First, if you are looking for some natural antihistamines, here is a list of antihistamine foods that you can include in your diet regularly.
Then you should also make sure to avoid high-histamine foods if you are sensitive to histamines in foods. We will review those in a bit.
- Ginger is a natural antihistamine and works as well to reduce histamine symptoms. It works so well that it is as effective or more so than some antihistamine medications. To reduce allergy symptoms, sip on a cup of ginger tea or add ginger to almost any sweet or savory dish such as broccoli ginger stir fry or carrot ginger soup.
- Onions get a gold star for reducing histamine levels because of their high quercetin content. Aim to have onions every day if you are working on reducing the histamine load in your diet.
- Apples are one of the many antihistamine-rich foods. Eating apples is also an easy way to increase your antioxidant intake while dampening histamine release in the body. Owing to their quercetin content, an apple a day may help keep the allergies away.
- Parsley helps dampen inflammation that can cause an overactive histamine release in the body. Enjoy parsley with just about any savory meal or in a green smoothie to help support healthy histamine levels.
- Thyme is an herb that helps reduce histamine reactions in the body according to research.
- Sage is rich in an antioxidant called luteolin which helps to stabilize histamine-releasing cells (mast cells). So sage helps reduce the overall histamine burden in the body.
- Oregano is another herb that is rich in luteolin which curbs histamine in the body.
- Extra virgin olive oil is rich in oleic acid which helps dampen histamine by increasing enzymes that break down histamine in the body called DAO. However, some people with severe histamine intolerance don’t tolerate it, so introduce it slowly.
- Raspberries contain the stabilizing antioxidant called quercetin. They are one of the types of berries that are also very low in histamine content.
- Cherries contain vitamin C and quercetin, both of which help to reduce allergy symptoms. Choose fresh cherries or cherry juice for the most benefit.
- Capers are the food that contains the highest quercetin of all. This means that they are very helpful for reducing allergic immune responses. However, they do contain some histamine, so test them slowly to see if they are going to work for you.
- Radicchio is the food that is by far the highest in the antioxidant luteolin. Luteolin helps to decrease histamine levels.
- Sweet green peppers are also very rich in luteolin as well. This makes bell peppers a very suitable food for anyone with histamine intolerance.
- Celery contains antioxidants including apigenin and luteolin that help curb histamine release. They work by reducing mast cell activation.
- Turmeric is another spice that helps to reduce the build-up of histamine-producing cells called mast cells. For this reason, it is helpful to add this antioxidant-rich spice to both sweet and savory dishes like chicken curry.
- Fennel, both as fennel seeds and fennel bulbs, are not only helpful for digestive function, it dampens inflammation in the body as well. By decreasing inflammation, fennel helps to calm down allergy symptoms in some people.
- Holy basil dampens inflammation and helps the body adapt to stress. Stress is a known trigger for histamine. Not to be confused with sweet basil, holy basil is most often found in teas and tinctures.
- Nettles are my favorite histamine-reducing foods. This is because it works in 3 ways to help reduce the allergic response in the body: it reduces inflammation, blocks H1 (histamine receptor) production, and stabilizes mast cells that release histamine. For people who don’t want to experiment with cooking stinging nettles, there are nettles supplements that you can take.
- Buckwheat helps to lower histamine by reducing histamine release from mast cells. Eating buckwheat is healthy because it has more nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants than grains like oatmeal. As a big perk, it is also gluten-free. You can add buckwheat to your diet by including it in pancakes, eating soba noodles, and using it as a substitute for rice, barley, or couscous.
- Chia seeds are rich in magnesium which is a nutrient that helps regulate histamine in the body.
- Black rice decreases inflammatory compounds in the body that can trigger an allergic histamine release by cells. Not to be confused with wild rice, black rice is available in most supermarkets and online.
- Bean sprouts contain an enzyme that breaks down histamine called DAO (diamine oxidase) which makes them great for an antihistamine diet.
- Pea sprouts are also rich in the enzyme DAO which helps the body clear out histamine. It is one of the foods that block histamine before it ever gets into your body.
- Fresh fish contain lots of nutrients that help break down histamine in the body and also contain omega-3 fatty acids that help make the enzyme called DAO. This enzyme helps reduce histamine levels in the body.
- Fresh meats help lower histamine levels because they are rich in minerals and protein necessary for a balanced immune response. Because of this, eating fresh meats like poultry, meats, and pork help keep overactive histamine release at bay.
- Organ meats may not come to mind when you are thinking of antihistamine foods, but they help support a healthy immune system that can help dampen the release of histamine. Kidney organ meats are particularly useful because they contain a lot of DAO enzyme that helps break down histamine.
- Eggs contain a lot of nutrients that help support healthy immunity which in turn helps to regulate histamine. The nutrients in eggs that can help reduce a histamine response are vitamin B6, iron, riboflavin, and vitamin B12.
- Hulled pumpkin seeds are useful as one of the many histamine-lowering foods because of their rich mineral content, especially magnesium. Magnesium helps to prevent the conversion of histidine into histamine.
- Almonds are a nutrient-rich food with multiple antihistamine compounds, including omega-9 fatty acids, magnesium, and antioxidants. However, it is best to first follow a low histamine diet for a while before introducing almonds as they tend to be a trigger food for GI issues or allergic responses in some people.
- Black tea, including oolong tea, may contain a small amount of natural histamine, but the best part about these teas is that they reduce histamine production in the body. This has a much bigger net anti-histamine effect than pro histamine effect in the body. In fact, many people find black tea helpful in reducing allergy symptoms.
- Chrysanthemum flower tea is an herbal infusion that is rich in luteolin, which helps to reduce histamine amounts in the body. As a side benefit, it also reduces uric acid levels in the body.
- Quinoa is rich in copper and other nutrients that help the body break down histamine in the body. Just make sure to rinse your quinoa before cooking to reduce the gut-irritating compound in them called saponins. Even better yet, soak it in water for an hour or two before cooking it to help you digest it better.
- Artichoke hearts are rich in the flavonoid luteolin which helps stabilize the cells that store histamine. This means that artichokes help reduce overactive histamine response.
- Broccoli is top-notch when it comes to health foods because it helps neutralize toxins in the body while also reducing the body’s histamine levels. For an extra potent form, choose broccoli sprouts.
- Leafy greens are great for their antihistamine effects with the exception being spinach, which is relatively high in histamine. The best greens for histamine intolerance are watercress, arugula, leaf lettuce, Romaine lettuce, collard greens, and kale.
How to Cook Your Foods to Lower Histamine Levels
If you are wanting to reduce your histamine levels, it is ideal to eat them fresh and freshly cooked.
When cooking foods, you should boil them as much as possible instead of frying them. This is because boiling foods helps to decrease the histamine content. However, frying may increase the histamine content.
Also, make sure to eat foods when they are freshly cooked. If you have leftovers, freeze them right away to avoid histamine accumulation due to the aging of the food.
Natural Antihistamine Supplements
Sometimes people need a little extra antihistamine boost from natural anti histamine supplements.
Good choices include:
- Vitamin C reduces histamine production in the body and the most effective form of vitamin C is liposomal vitamin C.
- Bovine Colostrum-binds allergens so that allergy symptoms are reduced.
- Butterbur acts like a natural antihistamine without the side effects of antihistamine drugs.
- Bromelain helps to reduce an overactive immune response to allergens.
- Probiotics-certain probiotics help break down histamine, including soil-based probiotics, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Bifidobacterium longum.
- Quercetin is an effective and safe antihistamine supplement that improves immune balance and helps to stabilize histamine-releasing cells.
- DAO enzymes are natural histamine-degrading enzymes that are very effective in reducing histamine levels in the body.
- Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that also helps calm down allergy symptoms by reducing histamine release.
High Histamine Foods
Fermented foods have long gotten a reputation for their high histamine content, but this isn’t entirely true. These foods are high in biogenic amines that are similar to histamine, so they may give people similar symptoms to histamine.
Certain fermented and aged foods, however, truly do have a high histamine content.
The highest histamine foods are:
- Soy sauce
- Aged cheese
- Red wine
It is best to avoid or limit these foods if you are trying to decrease histamine, especially alcohol because alcohol causes the body to have a reduction in histamine breakdown in the body.
Foods also have less histamine and other biogenic amines when they are fresh.
Some foods like sauerkraut are technically high in histamine, but the portions needed to cause a rise in histamine are large. Small amounts, in other words, are probably fine to include even for people with histamine intolerance.
Some people with histamine intolerance also react to foods with oxalates and foods with lectin. So be mindful that you may need to individualize your diet to meet your own unique needs.
Low Histamine Foods
Besides the antihistamine foods listed above, many foods are low in histamine and are suitable to include in your daily diet. These include:
- Gluten-free flour
- Gluten-free pasta
- Sweet potatoes
- Bok choy
- Tomatoes (yes tomatoes)
- Citrus fruits
You may notice that some of these foods have been categorized as high in histamine such as tomatoes and citrus fruits. Yet, research shows that these foods are actually low in histamine amount.
Still, if you notice you react to any particular food, including citrus or tomatoes, it makes sense to minimize or eliminate these foods in your diet.
Meal planning with anti histamine foods
Not sure what to eat when you are trying to reduce your histamine levels? Here are some examples of meal plans for you.
But make sure that you avoid anything that you personally struggle with tolerating.
- Buckwheat pancakes topped with fresh raspberries
- Poached eggs
- Nettles tea
- Arugula salad with apples (keep the skin on)
- Topped with hulled pumpkin seeds
- Anti-inflammatory turmeric vinaigrette
- Fresh cherry juice
- Baked chicken thighs-drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and top with parsley
- Baked potatoes topped with chopped green onions
- Sauteed green peppers and onions
- Holy basil tea
- Chia seed pudding
- Poached eggs
- Fresh berries
- Chrysanthemum tea
- Soba noodle salad with cilantro and topped with broccoli sprouts
- Sauteed organ meats (or you can supplement organ meats)
- Fennel and coriander crusted salmon with fennel citrus salad-skip the citrus if you are sensitive to it
- Fresh apple
- Nettles tea
- Broccoli salad with olive oil dressing
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Tulsi turmeric ginger tea (I like Organic India brand)
- Easy Beef Curry with bean sprouts
- Fresh apple
You can certainly supplement organ meats or even supplement ginger, nettles, chrysanthemum, or turmeric if it doesn’t suit your taste buds.
Additionally, you can add some of the suggested supplements above to have a quicker impact on your histamine levels.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. While The Healthy RD’s posts are backed by research, you are unique, so you must seek care from your own dietitian or healthcare provider. This post is not meant to diagnose or treat any conditions. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 23 years as well as a book author of The Whole Body Guide to Gut Health, Heidi has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. She has researched supplements and natural medicine throughout her career. One of her biggest loves is helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.