Low Histamine Foods That Nourish The Gut

June 30, 2017  |  Blog, Histamine Intolerance

One of the challenges faced by people with histamine intolerance is the removal of high histamine ferments, but fortunately, a wide range of low histamine foods nourish the gut.  You do not need to eat sauerkraut to have a good gut biome.

Histamine Intolerance

In the scientific literature, it is a well established that there is a bi-directional relationship between blood sugar control and histamine.

Unstable blood sugar can increase histamine levels, and histamine levels can add to unstable blood sugar, and its really common in my client base.

What’s more, a 2015 study found a person’s microbiome precisely explained not only these variances in blood glucose levels but also food tolerance in a group of 800 people.¹

These findings suggest that food tolerance may reside in our microbial genes, and their interaction with our genes, not in our human genes themselves.

Indeed, it is my experience, that the diet required to stabilize blood sugar, varies enormously from one person to the next –  anywhere on a spectrum from a vegetarian, to a mixed, to a ketogenic diet, and vary over time, rather than being set by our genes.

It’s About Diversity

Differences in long-term diet have a major impact on the gut microbiome. It’s about a consistent day in and day out effort to feed the biome.

The American Gut Project, and the Twins UK project, found that building diversity had a comparable effect to taking medication, and low diversity to disease. It’s that important.

Personally, I have been using Ubiome®, it’s an affordable, easy, do at home test, that helps track the diversity in your biome.

I have been tracking the improvements in my gut biome, using the principles outlined in this post, every 90 days. And I have also been testing my mouth biome too!

Get a 15% discount
Enter the code
FIXHISTAMINE
at ubiome.com

The Missing Ingredient: Polyphenols

A 2012 study, provided the mechanism, for understanding how to stabilize blood sugar, using low histamine foods, whilst nourishing our gut biome.

The study found that dietary polyphenols (often identified by the bright color in foods and includes quercetin and luteolin) were the missing ingredient.

Polyphenols when combined with complex carbohydrates for fiber, not only stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria (including lactobacilli and bifidobacteria), but inhibit pathogenic bacteria, increase species diversity, and improve blood sugar control. Fortunately, they are abundant in many low histamine foods.

A recent review of the literature even found polyphenols as helpful for chronic fatigue syndrome.³

Other Gut Nourishing Foods

Polyphenols join other foods that have been shown to selectively nourish the gut including fructooligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharides (GOS), colonic foods, and resistant starch, providing a wide range of foods that nourish your gut. 4

Nourishing Your Gut On A Low Histamine Diet

Based on this research, my approach to rebuilding an antibiotic decimated gut biome is to eat:

  • A whole food, minimally processed diet, rich in fiber,
  • Emphasizing  polyphenols rich foods (the darker the color the better!)
  • With moderate fat (focusing on polyphenol-rich olive oil),
  • Moderate protein (more as a condiment than the major component of the meal), and
  • Rich in variety (I try to aim for up to 40 different whole foods a week).

and it is working.

Over 50 Low Histamine Foods That Nourish Your Gut

Don’t know where to start? Here is a list of low histamine foods to get you started:

Low Histamine Foods Rich In Polyphenols

  • Black elderberries
  • Black or red mulberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Red apples
  • Pomegranate juice
  • Peach
  • Apricot
  • Purple, red, or orange carrots
  • Purple or orange fleshed potatoes
  • Red cabbage
  • Red onions
  • Red lettuce
  • Curly Endive
  • Chicory
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Chestnuts
  • Black or red rice (if not gluten cross-reactive)
  • Whole grain rye bread (if not gluten cross-reactive)
  • Olive oil
  • Peppermint
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Lemon verbena
  • Parsley
  • Marjoram
  • Capers (in salt)
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger

thai beetroot soup histamine recipes

Low Histamine Foods Rich in FOS

  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • Asparagus
  • Globe artichokes

Low Histamine Foods Rich in GOS

  • Legumes
  • Rutabaga (Swede)
  • Cauliflower
  • Turnips
  • Red Cabbage
  • Fresh beans
  • Beetroot
  • Rye sourdough (if gluten tolerated),
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • LSA mix

carrot soup with carrot juice, ginger, turmeric. lemongrass with greens

Low Histamine Prebiotic Foods

  • Brown Rice
  • Carrots
  • Blackcurrants
  • Raw Cacao Powder (1 tablespoon – if on a moderate threshold)

Low Histamine Resistant Starch

  • Sweet Potato (preferably purple or orange)
  • Cassavas
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Green Banana Flour (uncooked – if cooked it’s just starch!)
  • Potatoes (cooked and cooled)
  • Legumes (preferably purple, red, or orange)

How to Reintroduce Foods

If my clients eat a wide range of food groups then I simply encourage them to find the composition of macronutrients that balance their blood sugar, and from there introduce one new food a week, building their diversity of foods over time.

For clients who do not have a wide range of food groups in their diet, having removed one food after another, until they are eating only a handful, if not a few, it is really important to work slowly with a dietician to introduce new foods.

In highly sensitive people, with few foods in their diet, this might be at a snail’s pace of 1/4 teaspoon a week.  In which case I often suggest slipping this into a smoothie, or salad and building the amount by a 1/4 teaspoon a week from there.

If unable to tolerate this amount, then I encourage clients to enjoy feeling well at this lower level and wait a few months and try a small amount again.

If foods are not able to be introduced, and the microbiome altered through food, then the question is what else is the biome that is unreceptive to the company? Sometimes it is necessary to address that and repair intestinal permeability, before introducing new foods.

Resources

¹ Zeevi, D., Korem, T., Zmora, N., Israeli, D., Rothschild, D., Weinberger, A., Ben-Yacov, O., Lador, D., Avnit-Sagi, T., Lotan-Pompan, M., et al. (2015). Cell 163, 1079–1094.

² Tuohy, Kieran M., et al. “Up-regulating the human intestinal microbiome using whole plant foods, polyphenols, and/or fiber.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 60.36 (2012): 8776-8782.

³ Jones, Kathryn, and Yasmine Probst. “Role of dietary modification in alleviating chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms: a systematic review.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health (2017).

4 Hawrelak, J. A. “Prebiotics, Synbiotics and Colonic Foods.” (2013).

Hanhineva, Kati, et al. “Impact of dietary polyphenols on carbohydrate metabolism.” International journal of molecular sciences 11.4 (2010): 1365-1402.

Leja, Maria, et al. “The content of phenolic compounds and radical scavenging activity varies with carrot origin and root color.” Plant foods for human nutrition 68.2 (2013): 163-170.

Ramdath, D. Dan, et al. “The glycemic index of pigmented potatoes are related to their polyphenol content.” Food & Function 5.5 (2014): 909-915.

Wu, G.D., Chen, J., Hoffmann, C., Bittinger, K., Chen, Y.Y., Keilbaugh, S.A., Bewtra, M., Knights, D., Walters, W.A., Knight, R., et al. (2011). Science 334, 105–108.

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  • Mike Robins

    but most of these foods are high in oxalates, salicylates and benzoates which can trigger a mast cell degranulation for some

    • but those are different issues in my opinion. This list is low histamine. It is not low oxalate, salicylate, or benzoate nor is it intended to be.

      • Joanna Claire

        Yes, they are different issues and this is a great article. But do you have an article or some advice for those of us who need to avoid high oxalates AND high histamines? It’s tough for us to know hw to eat.

        • Petra Mikaelsson

          Exactly my thoughts Joanna.
          Great list but a lot of things I don’t eat anymore like sweetpotatoes, beets or most nuts. I do believe chestnut is ok. At least moderate.. But I have to check again.
          But I love that you made the list alison!

  • Ariella Cohen

    Where do you find elderberries? I’ve never been able to track them down.

    • wisepati

      They can be hard to find. You can grow your own. Search farmer’s markets but of course they need to be in season.

    • Gigi D

      there are alot of cough drops and cough syrups with elderberry

  • wisepati

    I am so confused! The low histamine list I have says no berries at all. No peaches or stone fruit. Sunflower seeds are listed in some lists as high histamine or histamine releasing. Sweet potatoes are listed on a no no list I have that is based on Dr. Joneja;s book.
    I see so many lists and they contradict each other.