Are you stressing about the amount of time you’re taking off work for symptoms your doctor simply can’t explain?
Struggling to understand why certain foods that you’ve been able to eat your whole life are suddenly causing hives?
Feeling reluctant to attend social functions that involve eating food you haven’t prepared yourself?
Learning to live with symptoms of histamine intolerance can be frustrating, confusing, and downright uncomfortable.
I was formally diagnosed with histamine intolerance in 2009. My symptoms included chronic hives, skin rashes, inflammation, escalating food sensitivities, drug intolerances, exercise intolerance, extreme anxiety, fuzzy thinking, insomnia, severe period pains, irregular blood pressure, and cardiac arrhythmias.
Since 2009, I have restored my health through diet and lifestyle changes and no longer have any symptoms.
What is histamine and how do you know if you are intolerant to it?
Histamine is a naturally occurring chemical that helpfully warns the body’s cells of any potential threats to our immune system by setting off an inflammatory response.
When you think of the word histamine, the most common thing to spring to mind is anti-histamine medication you take to ease systems of inflammation, swelling, allergies, or reactions to certain things such as pollen, animal hair, or certain foods.
While helpful in an emergency situation, anti-histamine drugs are not designed for daily use on a long-term basis. Besides, with so many sources of anti-histamine naturally present in freely available foods, there is simply no need to rely on over-the-counter medications.
Not all histamine reactions are indicative of an isolated immediate “threat” to the immune system. In many cases they are due to a build-up of histamine in the bloodstream, not only from what we eat, but from the body itself.
That said, histamine intolerance is a symptom of a multitude of other diseases including chronic stress, leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, and other inflammatory disorders, and may even develop as a reaction to some mainstream medications.
Sooner or later, a build up of histamine will trigger hyper-responses in the body, causing symptoms such as sudden dizziness, headaches, skin reactions such as hives, raised blood pressure, stomach cramps, diarrhea, anxiety and vomiting, among others.
For people who are newly or yet to be diagnosed, experiencing symptoms like these after eating foods they’ve been able to eat with confidence their whole lives can be completely disorientating and scary.
If you're histamine intolerant and are continually battling with hyper-reactions, it's critical to recognize the role of nutrition.
Here are 21 foods that are naturally rich in anti-histamines, clinically proven to fight inflammation, and, in some cases, are as effective as some of the most widely available anti-histamine drugs:
2. Pea Shoots
6. Holy Basil
12. Nigella Seeds
15. Lotus Root
Managing histamine intolerance
Counter-acting high-histamine levels with a diet of low-histamine foods and anti-histamine foods can help you to finally start feeling well again.