Easy Protein Swaps : That Lower Amines Without Cutting Foods
The secret to a low histamine diet is simple. Its is high quality nutrition.
Whilst it is true that some nutritious foods contain amines naturally, the majority of high amine foods, are often an indication that the otherwise nutritious food has deteriorated in quality. This deterioration is from age, temperature, fermentation, and the PH levels of that food.
It is possible to dramatically lower your amine levels (and keep more foods in your diet) simply by the way you buy, store, cook, and eat that food. Here are six easy swaps that you can make with protein that can have a profound difference on your amine levels.
SWAP 1. Meat from the Supermarket FOR Farm Fresh Meat
“Fresh” supermarket meat may be packaged in vacuum or gas packs and maybe up to 4 months old. Studies show that amines continue to build during this time.
Butchers may also purchase poultry in bulk (particularly when prices are low) and freeze it for up to 6 months. Always ask if poultry has been frozen.
Swap to fresh meat from a butcher who can tell you exactly when the animal was processed. Alternatively, go direct to the farm, or farmers market.
Meat should be no older than 1 – 2 weeks from the time of processing. It should be used on the day or frozen and eaten within 1 month. Many butchers will also do a custom order to guarantee freshness.
SWAP 2. Butchers Sausages FOR ‘Failsafe’ Sausages
Sausages have a significantly higher amine level than whole meats because the meat has been processed to expose a greater surface area to bacteria.
Sausages also contain a lot of other additives to assist with preservation and enhance flavour. Even preservative and gluten free sausages may still contain problematic ingredients such as starch, onion powder, spice, flavour, and yeast extract.
Swap to custom butcher sausages (or make your own) and ask your butcher to immediately freeze them in portions. Here is a recipe to give to your butcher that has kindly been provided by Sue Dengate at www.fedup.com.au.
A recipe for your butcher for 10 kg of sausages:
650 g rice flour (2 kg for 30 kg)
3 leeks (10 leeks for 30 kg)
1 clove garlic (3 for 30 kg) or more to taste
½ cup salt (1½ cups for 30 kg)
Warning: NO other ingredients – ask your butcher to NOT add MSG, pepper, spices or flavours. Make up to 10 kg with fresh minced beef or chicken.
Source: Sue Dengate: www.fedup.com.au
SWAP 3. Butchers Minced Meat FOR Home Minced Meat
Pre-minced meat also has a significantly higher amine level than whole meats because the meat has been processed to expose a greater surface area to bacteria. For this reason it is also often treated usually by sulphites to preserve it for sale. In Australia it is illegal to do this but a survey undertaken by www.fedup.com.au found that up to 50% of butchers will add illegal sulphite preservatives to mince if they are not constantly monitored.
Swap to mincing your own meat at home which is simple and failsafe. There are simple instructions here. The secret is to include fat (around 10%) with the meat, and to pulse (not run) the food processor.
SWAP 4. Barbecued, Grilled, Fried or Stir-Fried meat FOR Steamed or Poached, or Oven Baked Meat
Amines increase dramatically when meat is cooked at high temperatures. One study found that amines increased by up to three times more when meat was cooked at 250 degrees Celsius (rather than 200 degrees). Amines also increase moderately when cooked for long periods. Other forms of protein, such as eggs and milk, are not affected.
Swap to steamed, boiled, poached, or oven-baked, as the primary cooking method for meat. Crockpot, and pressure-cooked, meat may be tolerated intermittently as part of a rotation diet. Do not eat blackened, well-done, or burnt meat.
SWAP 5. Plain Meat FOR Marinated Meat
Marinades, rubs, or added ingredients of plant-based polyphenol and anti-oxidants have been shown to lower amines formed in cooking, including when barbecued, grilled, fried, or stir-fried, by up to 70%.
Swap some meals to soups, stews, marinades, and rubs with tolerated amine reducing ingredients. The following ingredients have been studied and found to stop amines from building during cooking:
Fruit: cherries, apples, lemon, lime, grapefruit and/or orange juice,
Vegetables: garlic, and/or onion,
Herbs: rosemary, basil, holy basil, lemon balm, oregano, sage, thyme, peppermint, onions, and/or lemongrass, and/or
Fats: Olive oil (but not other oils). Non-virgin olive oil (in a glass bottle) is usually best tolerated.
The data on turmeric is contradictory. Whilst turmeric may reduce amines from cooking, it was found that curcumin inhibits DAO, which may inhibit biogenic amine reduction. This may mean that it should be used in moderation preferably when cooking meat but not as a supplement.
Do not add sugar or purchase commercial marinades with sugar. Studies show that sugar may double or even triple the levels of amines formed in cooking.
SWAP 6. Poultry with skin FOR Poultry without skin
Poultry is generally well tolerated on a low amine diet. However, studies show that when poultry is cooked with the skin intact, even it if is removed after cooking, it has significantly higher amines from the cooking process.
Swap to remove the skin from poultry before cooking to reduce the amines produced in cooking. Alternatively, choose cuts, such as chicken breasts, over cuts such as chicken wings.
SWAP 7. Some Protein FOR More Vegetables
Most food lists rank foods into low, moderate, high, and very high foods within food categories to encourage a balanced diet. However, not all levels of amines between the food groups are actually the same.
Most protein is relatively high in amines whilst most vegetables are relatively low. Vegetables should be at least half if not more of your diet. This also affects the PH of your body, which also affects the overall amine level.
Swap to include more vegetables in your diet. Protein and a balanced diet is still incredibly important, so the point is to be conscious of how much protein and vegetables you truly are eating. This is especially important on a Paleo diet.
Also good quality protein (preferably organic and grass fed) is often more satiating allowing you to feel satisfied on less meat. Buy the best quality you can afford, even if you have to eat the cheaper cuts of meat.
Please stay tuned for further swaps that can lower your amine levels without cutting out more foods. If you would like further information regarding a low amine diet consider enrolling in one of my workshops or contact me for one-on-one coaching to develop a customised approach.
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