Tag archive for "anti-inflammatory foods"

Research & News

Wondering why you react to EVERYTHING you eat?

4 Comments 04 April 2014

Did you know that the act of digestion itself causes histamine release [1]? No, not many people do. I get so many emails from people who are convinced they have multiple amine, food intolerance or allergy issues because they react to everything they ingest. They explore salicylate, amine, oxalate, yeast and other issues obsessively, convinced that once they hit upon the right combination, food will magically be tolerable again.

While some may be right, the simple fact is that if you have a histamine disorder (histamine intolerance, histaminosis, mast cell activation, mastocytosis), the very act of digestion requires histamine. So, the chain is: food in, histamine release, gastric acid rushed to the stomach to begin digestion. Then histamine release again from the food. If you’re on antihistamines, some of it will be blocked from attaching to the H1 or H2 receptor, so you’ll be having less respiratory or gastric symptoms. I’m always surprised that people seem to think that antihistamines somehow magically flush the histamine out from your body – that’s simply not the case. They just stop the histamine from binding to those receptors only, leaving it free to run around in your body causing inflammation and damage to your internal organs [2].

Unfortunately, the receptors commonly not addressed with meds, H3 and H4, are the ones responsible for (among other things) modulating pain [3] and our mast cells/immune system [4], respectively, which explains why many people with histamine issues and mastocytosis still suffer from debilitating bone pain, depression, immune system dysfunction and others, in part (in my opinion) because they are not lowering their overall histamine burden – they’re relying on antihistamines to do the job for them. But of course antihistamines open the appetite [5], leading to more histamine roaming the body causing damage, except a little less damage to the H1 and H2 receptor areas. So you feel less respiratory and gastric issues (maybe) and are encouraged to eat “normally”, use cosmetic products like nail polish that are mast cell degranulation/histamine triggers [6], but continuing with life as you know it, learning to live with the fall out of flooding your H3 and H4 receptor controlled areas (pain and immune system), which then leads to more dysfunction and pain!

Ok, I’m off the soapbox. Here’s the truly shocking bit.

Just THINKING of food is enough to trigger histamine release!

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FAQ, Tips & Tricks

The Low Histamine Diet Foods FAQ

No Comments 03 December 2012


That depends on which list you follow. Histamine in foods varies depending on: the country grown in, whether pesticides were used, climate, transportation, ripeness when picked, how long on the supermarket shelf, bacterial contamination. In particular the level varies in flesh. The reason for which is that bacteria release histamine (and other amines) as the flesh decomposes. The freezing and thawing and re-freezing in particular that occurs in the typical farm to supermarket cycle leads to high histamine levels in food. For fish: how long since it was fished, how it was handled, if it was frozen and then thawed at any point, if it’s contaminated etc. Beef is generally hung for at least two weeks to tenderize the meat. This accounts for the high levels of histamine in the flesh. Some methods of slaughter, including halal (Muslim), do not involve long hanging times, and as such may be fresher.

The Spanish DAO Society has this list.

I have a list I was given by my practitioner (now retired). For legal reasons I am not allowed to share it, but all my recipe books are based on this list.

And finally – your reaction to a food may vary from day to day depending on how high your histamine is that day. Some days just adding a smidge of histamine into an almost overflowing bucket can tip you over the edge.



Research & News

Ayurvedic remedy helps fight flab, fix your thyroid and lower histamine levels!

No Comments 26 November 2012

I’m taking a number of steps to help my body recover from any inadvertent histamine hiccups (ahem, cupcake incidents) I may subject it to. One of them is the food-coaching course I’m taking with my nutritional hero Dr. Fuhrman, and an intensive immersion into herbalism, which I’m sure to expand upon in coming years. I’m currently devouring the modern herbalism bible I’ve seen the Whole Foods naturopathic gurus toting when in deep consult with customers. I naturally started in the immune system chapter where I came across yet another ayurvedic miracle herb.

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Optimum Nutrition

Tasty antihistamine hot beverages.

No Comments 15 November 2012

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my top hot beverages…

As you can see from my picture here, the detox is going great! Ok, busted, that’s not me in the picture! But as you can see from plenty others on the site – I’m not looking too shabby!

My natural antihistamine beverages…

Valerian root

Valerian extracts may have direct inhibitory effects on the contractility of the human uterus and this justifies the traditional use of this plant in the treatment of uterine cramping associated with dysmenorrhoea….Valerian extract reduced the maximal contractile response induced by acetylcholine, phenylephrine and histamine [1].

When I was high histamine it was literally impossible to sleep. I would be up for days at a time. Very handy when I was a journalist working in war zones, but not so great when I have a 9am meeting to go through someone’s digital strategy. Generally when people tell me they’re very low histamine I ask how their sleep is. It’s a great indicator of how you’re doing diet-wise. I’m not discounting stress, but we know that also causes mast cell degranulation too!

Now while the studies I read on valerian took great pains to stress that it’s not a hypnotic which knocks you into sleep, it’s an anxiolytic that reduces stress, helping you drop off. Ever wondered why antihistamines make you sleepy? There are a number of reasons – among them is that histamine controls your cicadian rythm/wakefulness hormones, so taking an anti-histamine would naturally make you fall asleep. Given that we know antihistamines make us fat and can cause toxicity syndrome, exploring natural antihistamine herbs could help lull you to sleep.

Please do remember that many of us with histamine issues don’t do great with herbs and that they thin the blood, but I still find these herbs a great substitute for my once ubiquitous nightly glass of red wine. I find that the best way to get a good night’s sleep is to not eat too late.

Olive Leaf tea

Yet another traditional ayurvedic treatment. Olive leaf tea has been shown to exhibit “significant mast stabilizing activity”.

“According to Ayurveda, Olea europea is used in treatment of leprosy, dysentery, vaginal and uterine complaints, inflammation,burning sensation, fatigue, asthma, leucoderma etc. In the present study the histamine induced dose dependent contraction of goat tracheal chain and guinea pig ileum preparation was significantly inhibited (p< 0.01) by the aqueous extract of leaves of Olea europea (800 ug/ml and 100 ug/ml). Olea europea at the doses of 100and 200 mg/kg,i.p.,exhibited significant (p< 0.01) mast cell stabilizing activity against clonidine induced peritoneal mast cell degranulation in rats. Thus the present study revealed that the extract of olives of Olea europea has significant antihistaminic (H1 receptor antagonist) activity.” [2]

Green/White tea

I was told I could drink up to two green teas daily, because they would help lower my histamine level. Thing is, too much caffeine can aggravate symptoms, as can pretty much any dried herb. So I just dunk the bag a couple of times and then toss it.

The bioactive compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a major component of green tea, has been shown to target histamine-producing cells producing great alterations in their behavior, with relevant effects on their proliferative potential, as well as their adhesion, migration, and invasion potentials. In fact, EGCG has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-tumoral, and anti-angiogenic effects and to be a potent inhibitor of the histamine-producing enzyme, histidine decarboxylase [3].

I have actually found that I do better with white tea, which is basically the same, just unfermented, but I have now cut all caffeine out of my diet (I just don’t need it anymore).

Guava leaf tea

I’m really loving this stuff. Not for the taste really, but because guava leaf tea has been proven to inhibit mast cell degranulation (histamine release) in rats. I seem to tolerate it much better than the fruit itself.

Holy Basil tea

I’m not a big fan of aniseed/licorice. But this tea rocks my world! As I mentioned in my post “Holy basil! Anti-inflammatory and antihistamine superstar” – holy basil is as effective as Zantac/Rantidine at treating gastrointestinal upset. You can also find green tea/holy basil blends.

You’ll find a collection of all liquid high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory rich recipes for days when my histamine bucket overflowed in the new Anti-Detox book

The Anti-cookbook, while it doesn’t treat any conditions, due to its high nutrient, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredients, has been instrumental in helping me feed myself on a limited diet. It features a six page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods. It comes in regular and Paleo. 

The Low Oxalate Cookbook features antihistamine and anti-inflammatory rich recipes. 

Don’t miss the Low Histamine Beauty Survival Guide for non-toxic beauty tips, the skinny on histamine releasing (mast cell degranulating) beauty ingredients, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory beauty alternatives and the top brands natural brands I’ve found.

Take a peek at my other low histamine and antihistamine cookbooks for more high nutrient recipes.

If you’ve found this information useful I’d appreciate your support (at no extra cost to you!) – please check out my online store for your health foods, supplements, kitchen items and beauty product purchases. Affiliate sales through my online store go towards maintaining the website, funding travel to interviews and purchasing all the lovely foods for my free online recipes. You’ll find these items in the “Shop with us” drop down menu on my homepage.  

Please don’t forget antihistamine, pain killing foods can still hurt us, so please always check with your doctor before adding new foods to your diet. 


[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19178774

[2] http://jpronline.info/index.php/jpr/article/download/223/187

[3] http://www.springerlink.com/content/18480505ht4q2228/

[4] http://www.springerlink.com/content/n1426040742tn4r8/

Research & News

Got allergies? You need this natural antihistamine in your medicine cabinet

No Comments 08 November 2012

yellow berried nightshade

yellow berried nightshade

Here’s an interesting headline for you: nightshade flower as effective a mast cell stabiliser as commonly prescribed sodium cromoglycate. This definitely brought a smile to my face, given that most of us in the allergic world only have to hear the word nightshade to run a mile in the opposite direction. It also confirmed that some foods we’re told are bad for histamine related conditions, may have benefits that far outweigh the modest amount of histamine they release. Unless you’re allergic to them!


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Optimum Nutrition

There’s more to the low histamine lifestyle than elimination!

No Comments 06 November 2012

Sweet Potato Pizza

I spend a lot (a LOT) of time on the net chatting with people who are in various stages of eliminating high histamine foods. While going low histamine does mean binning a number of high histamine foods, eliminate too many and you could end up worse off in the long run. I know because I spent a number of years doing it myself. Cut cut cut was all I did, but I soon became reactive to the “safe” foods and I just wasn’t getting any better overall.

A little dabbling in supplements showed me they’re (mostly) out. I just don’t tolerate them. So I eat them instead. I’m quite convinced that their magical qualities, in balance with other nutrients, renders them effective, thought I do realise I’d have to wear a trough around my neck to ingest a therapeutic dose (100mg per kilo??) of some herbs.

Why this emphasis on nutrition rather than antihistamines? Well, antihistamines only work on one or two of the four (known) histamine receptors. Is that bad? Depends – do you enjoy eating obsessively till obesity? How about suffering from chronic infections, liver damage, heart failure or antihistamine toxicity? I personally don’t. Also, my experience on them was, ok, I can eat more – well – I don’t have a choice really – I’m desperate to fill every minute of my day stuffing my face (read is your anti-histamine making you fat). Oddly, if you eat enough, you’ll need more antihistamines! It’s a vicious cycle of filling your bucket, then instead of emptying it, fooling your body into thinking it’s ok to fill it even more.

While my On the Go Cookbook is (and will be) my most commercial/crowd pleaser of a book, I managed to sneak in as many natural anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories as I could.

Take the sweet potato “pizza” for example:

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Research & News

Holy Basil! Anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine superstar

9 Comments 24 October 2012

Basil flowers in the garden

Not only is Holy Basil tasty in just about any Thai or Vietnamese dish – turns out it’s an anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine herb that’s as effective as Ranitidine/Zantac at treating H2 (histamine) induced ulcers, preventing mast cell degranulation and anaphylactic shock. How do’you like them apples?

I like Holy Basil a lot better than them apples…but just to clear up any potential confusion, Holy Basil is also known as Sweet Thai Basil or by it’s proper names: Ocimum tenuiflorum and Ocimum sanctum. (source: Wikipedia)

Holy Basil’s activity as an anti-histamine has been found to affect histamine’s H2 receptor, great news for those with histamine intolerance/histaminosis/mastocytosis/mast cell activation disorders with gastrointestinal complaints. I’d be interested to know if it’s anti-inflammatory effects are in part due to it’s high Vitamin K content. Don’t forget that Vitamin K (as I mentioned in this post), is a potent anti-inflammatory, is found in many foods like cauliflower, which is also high in Vitamin C. You’ll find a potent (tasty) recipe for cauli-tahini soup and don’t forget to check out my low histamine Diamine Oxidase Support Cookbook.

Holy Basil prevents mast cell degranulation, helping treat allergic disorders

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Research & News

Dr. Oz: “inflammation is waging a war on our bodies”

1 Comment 19 October 2012


Anti-inflammatory superstar cauliflower


Dr. Oz calls inflammation an “invisible civil war raging in your body. Undetected it can cause heart attacks, stroke and cancer.” According to him, the problem begins when inflammation does not resolve following its role in healing an injury, causing your immune system to go haywire, turning your best friend into your worst enemy.  This ties in to all my reading of this last year. Yes, inflammation is a serious concern when it unnecessarily stokes the immune system into over reacting to everything. Inflammation isn’t just dangerous to those of us with inflammation-induding histamine related disorders like histamine intolerance, histaminosis, mastocytosis and mast cell activation, it’s relevant to anyone with an interest in minimising their cancer, stroke and heart attack risk.


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Just  a week into your recipes (DAO Support) and I already feel a huge difference! WD.


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