Last month we looked at what histamine intolerance is. Put simply, it’s when your body is flooded with histamine. This is something that has been happening over time – it didn’t happen overnight. Then, you eat something that is really high in histamine, you are under extreme stress or you’re just under the weather. This becomes the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’. It can present in various ways. Unfortunately when investigated by doctors, there are no apparent ‘issues’. Have you ever heard “there is nothing more that can be done” or “all your test results are fine”? Or perhaps you have been prescribed some ‘band-aid’ medication. This only treats your symptoms and not the cause.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help ‘dampen’ your overactive immune system due to being histamine intolerant. As with anything, it will take some time depending on the history of your presenting issue. But you will get there! You just need to be patient and committed. I have helped many people improve, by following some simple steps.
How to reverse it
There are two main things that you need to do, in order to reduce the histamine overload and activity in your system.
We need to apply antihistamine action and improve gut function. You can do this by taking a few supplements and using food as medicine.
There are several nutrients that have natural antihistamine activity in our bodies – bioflavinoids
These will help to reduce the activity of histamine in your body. To boost this effect, you will need to have some zinc and Vitamin C. These two nutrients support your immune system. They also improve the integrity and structure of your skin cells; along with many other functions throughout your body.
You can increase your histamine tolerance by improving your gut health and function. Your first step is to heal the gut lining. This encourages the nutrients that you eat to be absorbed and function properly. Having pre and probiotics will help this along, reducing inflammation and supporting your immune system. There are specific strains of probiotics to avoid however because many strains provoke histamine making symptoms worse. Glutamine supports intestinal function by promoting the synthesis of healthy mucosal cells (may need to be avoided at the beginning of treatment). Colostrum or immunoglobulins can also help with healing leaky gut, so are often safer to use with histamine intolerance.
Supplemental nutrients that may support your healing, include Vitamin D and E, digestive enzymes. This will depend on your unique presentation, as everyone is different.
What can you eat?
For a period of time, you will need to be on a low histamine diet. Make sure you check out the table of high histamine foods mentioned in last month’s article. Again, your healing time will depend on how long you have been experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of histamine intolerance.
- Follow a gluten-free and dairy/lactose-free diet.
- Avoid fermented foods – vinegar, aged cheese, alcohol in particular wine.
- Protein, if possible eat organic. Needs to be fresh. Aged meat and fish has a much higher level of histamine. Avoid tinned tuna & salmon.
- Eat foods high in quercetin: apples (which naturally contain quercetin, mainly green apples), pears, raspberries, onions.
- Eat vegetables: lettuce, carrots, pumpkin, potato, capsicum – to name a few.
- Low histamine prebiotic & resistant starch foods to include: brown rice, blackcurrants, potato, sweet potato.
- Avoid additives – sulphates (found in some dried fruits), nitrites, food dyes.
- Avoid products with cocoa.
- Don’t eat leftovers. Especially proteins prepared more than 24 hours before. Everybody’s tolerance is different but be aware that older food is much higher in histamine.
- Herbs in cooking – especially turmeric.
- Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, silverbeet, radish, rocket and bitter herbs. To support the liver in clearing histamine.
After a period of time, you may be able to slowly reintroduce the higher histamine foods back into your diet. With some guidance and using a food diary, you will learn which foods you are able to eat with out triggering symptoms. Some foods you will be able to have sometimes, in small amounts and, others you may not.
You can manage histamine intolerance. As a result, you will be able to live more comfortably, and be free of your symptoms. Above all, you need to be patient. Let your body heal itself.