Many more people suffer from allergies these days than ever before. This may be caused by external sources such as pollen, animals or environmental chemicals. But it might surprise that certain foods also contain substances that can contribute to allergic reactions by increasing our histamine load.
Our body requires histamine and it is normal to have small amounts of it in our body; it allows our body to function normally through dilating the capillary bed and allowing our nonspecific immune system to access hard to reach areas.
When found in excess amounts, histamine can contribute to many allergy type symptoms including:
– runny nose and watery eyes
– headaches and dizziness
– rashes and skin redness including itching and hives
– nausea and reflux
– disturbance of regular sleep patterns.
Many of us are familiar with the term ‘antihistamine’, that is, a type of medication found on the labels of numerous over-the-counter medications. These types of medications may be necessary in some cases but, largely, making simple dietary changes can help to reduce symptoms.
Here are some suggested foods to avoid to aid in reducing excess histamine in your system. They may not necessarily need to be taken out of the diet permanently but only as a short-term adjustment to allow your body to rebalance.
Aged and fermented foods:
Cheese, yoghurt, alcohol (all types including beer, wine and spirits), pickled vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles etc), bread, products showing ‘yeast’ or ‘yeast extract’ on the label, vegemite, soy sauce, aged meats (salami, tinned meats – as a general rule the older the meat the more histamine content).
Sour tasting foods:
Vinegar (all types), citrus fruit and tomato-based products (including tomato paste, sauce and the raw forms), some nightshade vegetables (eggplant, potato, capsicum).
Chilli, hot curry.
Additionally, heat is a histamine trigger as it can cause mast cells (which contain histamine) to release their contents in the skin and cause itching. Avoid exposure to extremes of heat (hot showers, sitting next to external heat sources).
When making dietary changes, it is always recommended you consult your practitioner to ensure your nutritional needs are being met. We can work with you to develop an appropriate meal plan to support your work in addressing specific health issues.
We also run programs which address balanced eating in conjunction with overall health and wellbeing. The latest of these is our 4-week RESET Program, developed and delivered by naturopath Phil Chua. See the full details here.
For more information, contact us to arrange a consult with one of our qualified and experienced naturopaths here.
Phil Chua BHSc
Naturopath + Herbalist