When you think of histamine, you immediately think of allergies, right? But histamine is actually a neurotransmitter and we make it in our cells, then dump it out after exposure to a trigger. Certain foods you eat are very high in histamine. You are unintentionally making yourself high in histamine, and then I’ll bet you are running straight for the medicine cabinet to take an ANTIhistamine pill!
Foods that are high in histamine are often fermented (in other words, they’ve started to rot a little bit – ew!). Histamine-rich foods include leftovers, cold cuts, hot dogs, wine, vinegar, parmesan cheese… and dozens more, which I’ll tell you about in my ebook offer below. High-protein foods like meat or seafood don’t contain much histamine when they are fresh, but the longer they are cured or stored, the more histamine they contain.
In1989, a study examined “Chinese restaurant syndrome” and saw that people’s reactions mimicked symptoms of histamine intolerance. They measured plain soy sauce to contain 220 micrograms of histamine per gram, while tamari (a typically gluten-free soy sauce) was loaded with an astonishing 2,392 micrograms histamine per gram. That’s 10 times higher, just to get gluten-free soy sauce! Both regular soy sauce and tamari are fermented.
If there also happens to be MSG present in the food you’re eating, the combination of excessive glutamate from the MSG and histamine from tamari could trigger anxiety, insomnia, migraines, panic attacks and pain. Your brain is on stimulant overload! You can see how easy it is to mess yourself up with a “harmless” little condiment! It’s even more problematic for the brains of sensitive vegans/vegetarians that eat fermented or manufactured meat substitutes that are high in MSG and histamine.
You probably already know that many Asian restaurants nowadays avoid the addition of MSG completely, and some will omit the use of MSG upon request. However, keep in mind that many Asian dishes are made with soy sauce, so histamines can be tough to avoid altogether in what might be some of your favorite cuisines!
Histamine intolerance disorders can occur when you get too much histamine and your tissues can’t break it down fast enough. DAO is the enzyme that processes histamine to help us keep it in balance. Intolerance of the foods above (and others), can trigger not only autoimmune flares but also diarrhea, headache, sinus congestion, sneezing or a runny and itchy nose.
How many of you have been put on antihistamines only to get awful side effects? Or inhalers for asthma?
Maybe the problem was just that General Tso’s chicken on your plate.
Asthma is another sign of histamine intolerance that could be related to dairy intolerance, ingestion of histamine rich foods, as well as tofu and other refined, manufactured food-like products in that category. I am aware that it’s far easier to take an antihistamine pill and eat what you want, than give up some of the foods you enjoy.
But I promise it will be worth it if you are dealing with a serious or painful condition. Minor annoyances are one thing, but psoriasis, Hashimoto’s, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, lupus and others are serious enough that you should eliminate histamine-rich foods for a few months to gauge improvement. I’m willing to give you a free ebook on this topic upon signing up for my newsletter. Just go to suzycohen.com. My ebook is called Hashi No-No’s and it’s all about this topic and includes a complete list of foods to avoid if you have any of these symptoms, or any immune disorder. Histamine intolerance is easy to address, and you’ll find that the changes to your health are swift and dramatic.