Although Histamine is in various foods, it’s also produced by the body naturally. Histamine Intolerance is when the body reacts to high levels of histamine present in the body. When levels of histamine reach a point beyond what your body can handle, it can cause a reaction. For this particular type of intolerance, the body experiences an allergic reaction and responds by naturally producing higher levels of histamine (to fight off the attacker).
Histamine Intolerance can cause a wide variety of bothersome symptoms. Headaches are very common, as well as dizziness and extreme tiredness. Acne, skin rashes and eczema are common symptoms that affect the skin. Digestive problems include acid reflux, diarrhea, chronic constipation, stomach ache or cramps, and nausea. Asthma and cardiac arrhythmias, like rapid heart rate or irregular heartbeat, may occur. Psychological symptoms include lack of concentration, inattentiveness and aggressiveness. Anxiety, low blood pressure and allergic rhinitis may also be present.
What Foods Contain Histamine?
It’s not a good idea to just avoid histamine containing foods and assume you are intolerant. You should consult a doctor so that proper tests and evaluations can be done. You may need to keep a food diary with a list of symptoms to help determine if you’re Histamine Intolerant. Taking a histamine intolerance test is the best way to identify if you have a problem with histamine.
Alcoholic beverages such as red wine and beer contain high amounts of histamine. Drinking these can cause inflammation and swelling. Foods that are rich with histamine include cheese, soy, avocado, dried fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, eggplant, mushrooms, sour cream, yogurt, spinach, vinegar and anchovies. Fermented foods that also contain high amounts of histamine vary from sauerkraut to smoked meats. Vinegar and products that contain vinegar, like salad dressing and mayonnaise, are other foods that contain high levels.
When it comes to what you eat, you don’t just have to look out for foods that are full of histamine. You must also look out for foods that trigger histamine in the body, which include but aren’t limited to eggs, milk, fish, chocolate, bananas, pineapple and shellfish.
Good to Know
Anti-histamines, such as Benadryl, may be helpful if you accidentally consume histamine containing food. Although these symptoms can be bothersome or cause you discomfort, a Histamine Intolerance can range from mild to severe. When an intolerance reaches the point of severity where excessive levels of histamine are released into the body, it can cause violent allergic reactions that can be life-threatening. It’s possible to reach a state of anaphylaxis, where the airway can become constricted and the tongue may swell. It’s extremely important to seek immediate medical attention when experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis or if you have any suspicions of a possible Histamine Intolerance.