How to do a Low Histamine Diet What you can eat Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Histamine Intolerance Mast Cell 360

How to do a Low Histamine Diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Part 2: What to Eat

Many of my clients with Histamine Intolerance or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome see the high histamine food lists online and feel like there is nothing left to eat. This simply isn’t true, though.

There are so many nutritious and flavorful foods you can eat. It is easy to feel deprived if you just focus on the foods you can’t have. This is a sure road to feeling angry, resentful, and depressed. They key is to think about how much eating fresh, nutritious foods will improve your health.

Remember, you don’t just want to eliminate foods. This is a recipe for disaster in the long term. Whittling your food list down to just a handful of foods can make both Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome worse. This is because you lose needed nutrients to keep histamine levels low and stabilize mast cells.

Whenever you take a food out, be sure to add a food in. For example, if you take out spinach, add in arugula. If you stop eating avocados, consider adding in Extra Virgin Avocado Oil like Olivado Organic Avocado Oil.

WHAT to eat on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

If you missed it, be sure to read Part 1 online here on Identifying High Histamine Foods:

How to do a Low Histamine Diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Part 1: Identifying High Histamine Foods

For Low Histamine eating, focus on choosing the foods that are healing and that you enjoy. Sometimes, it is good to splurge on yourself. I don’t mean buying a chocolate cake. I mean by spending a little extra time in the kitchen making something healthy and delicious for yourself.

Be sure you are eating fresh, whole, nutrient dense foods. As produce ages, it loses nutrition and increases in histamine levels. The fresher your foods are, the more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants they have. When you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, you need as many nutrients from healthy foods as you can get.

These nutrients support a healthy immune system. They are also necessary to make histamine degrading enzymes, like DAO and HNMT. So, they also have the added bonus of helping to lower histamine.  Be sure to buy your produce as fresh as possible. If you can, get produce at the farmer’s market or even grow your own for the most nutrient dense options. The book Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson is a great resource on the highest nutrient varieties of fruits and vegetables.

Let’s take a look at WHAT to eat on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Emphasize vegetables on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Cover most of your plate with vegetables. Yes, this means lots of vegetables. Vegetables have nutrients and antioxidants you need to heal. These are histamine lowering, low oxalate, low lectin vegetables you can emphasize.

  • Arugula
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage, Green and Red
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Kale (flat dinosaur or lacinato kind – curly is high oxalate)
  • Napa cabbage / Chinese cabbage
  • Watercress

You can also try:

  • Onions – any kind
  • Leeks
  • Chives
  • Scallions (green onions – especially use green parts)
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • Daikon radishes
  • Cilantro
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Romaine, red and green leaf lettuce
  • Kohlrabi
  • Mesclun
  • Endive
  • Dandelion greens
  • Butter lettuce
  • Fennel
  • Escarole
  • Mustard greens
  • Mizuna
  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Perilla (Shiso).

If you don’t have trouble with oxalates, you can also add in:

  • Artichokes
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Radicchio
  • Rhubarb
  • Sweet Potatoes

Protein on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

You want to eat moderate amounts of clean protein. If you eat meat, protein should come from pastured-meats like chicken, pork, lamb, and turkey. Be careful with beef, which is aged.

Make sure meat is very fresh. You can call the butcher and ask what day the meat is delivered. Check the sell by dates and make sure you get the freshest packages. Other good options for pasture-raised meats are farmers markets, US Wellness Meats, and Vital Choice.

Vital Choice is a great fish source because they guarantee their fish is low in mercury, pollutants, and radiation contamination. They also ensure the fish is gutted and frozen immediately after catch.

If you try their fish, be sure to try just a small amount first to make sure you don’t react. People with both Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance may still have a hard time with fish and may need to take a DAO Enzyme.

Cook or freeze meat and fish right away to prevent histamine levels from rising. I cook meat while it is still a little frosty to keep histamine levels low. Avoid slow cooking, which allows histamine levels to go up.

Pasture-raised chicken, duck, or quail eggs are also a good protein source. Some people react to eggs. So, test them for yourself. Be sure to cook egg whites thoroughly. Legumes can cause histamine release and are also high oxalate and high lectin. So, you may need to be careful with these.

Read all about Meat Handling Tips to keep your meat Low Histamine here:
Are you Raising your Histamine Levels with these Meat Handling Mistakes?

Fats on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Healthy fats are needed for overall health too. Be sure you are getting enough good fats. Fats are necessary for healthy brain cells and to make your hormones. Also, some vitamins are fat soluble. This means they are best absorbed when eaten with fats. So, add healthy fats to your vegetables to absorb the most nutrition.

Healthy fat sources include: grass fed butter, very fresh extra-virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, grass fed ghee, cold-pressed flax oil, cold pressed avocado oil, and unrefined palm oil. Avoid canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil. These are inflammatory.

Fresh nuts can be a good source of protein and fat. Walnuts, peanuts, and cashews are likely off the list for you because of their high histamine levels. There are still plenty of other nuts you can enjoy though. Low histamine, low oxalate, and low lectin choices are: flax seeds, macadamias, pistachios, coconut, and pecans in moderation.

If you don’t have oxalate issues, you can also enjoy almonds (blanched to remove lectins in the skin), hazelnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts (only 3-4/day), hemp seeds, and hemp protein powder.

Buy nuts as fresh as possible. To make them more digestible, soak them overnight in salt water. Then dry in a food dehydrator or oven at 250 degrees. You can also make your own fresh nut butters using a VitaMix or Blendtec blender.

Herbs on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Season with a lot of fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are some of the highest nutrient and antioxidant foods. Cultures that use a lot of fresh herbs live longer than those that don’t use herbs. Plus, adding herbs to your meals will give them more flavor. If you enjoy your foods, you’ll be more likely to stick to making healthy choices. These are great Histamine Lowering herbs:

  • Basil – any type
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Garlic chives
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Pink peppercorns
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme (thyme does affect people with benzoate sensitivity, though)

Avoid or restrict anise, cinnamon, cloves, curry powder, paprika, and nutmeg. These can liberate histamine and cause mast cell reactions.

Fruits on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Fruits should be eaten as a dessert. This is due to the higher sugar content. Spikes in blood sugar affect the mast cells. Prioritize lower sugar berries like blueberries. Tart cherries and green apples are also good choices. Lemons and limes are ok, if you tolerate them. As your Histamine bucket empties out, you can enjoy raspberries too.

If you don’t have trouble with oxalates, blackberries are lower in sugar.

Other lower histamine, low oxalate fruits are:

  • all types of apples
  • fresh apricots
  • cherries
  • fresh cranberries
  • fresh currant
  • cantaloupe
  • fresh figs
  • honeydew
  • kiwi
  • mango
  • nectarine
  • peach
  • pear
  • watermelon

Grains on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Some people with Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome do better with carbs and some do worse. You have to experiment to find what works best for you. I find grains increase my inflammation. I do better with lower levels of carbs. I think this is because many grains are high lectin and high oxalate. But going too low carb keeps me from sleeping. Finding your own optimal carb intake takes a little trial and error.

If you feel worse reducing carbs, then you need to work with a Functional Practitioner to find out why. You could have something called Heme Dysregulation. So don’t push through until you know what is happening! I’ll write about this more sometime in the future.

If you aren’t allergic to latex, then you might be able to use the flour of the cassava root as a carb. I use this to make tortillas and pizza crusts. You can get my recipe here:

Low Histamine Cassava Tortillas

If you get cassava, be sure to buy Otto’s brand Cassava Flour. It is the only one that isn’t fermented. I’ve reacted to all the other brands. Also, some brands of cassava flour are higher oxalate. Otto’s seems to be medium oxalate. But it hasn’t been tested yet. So go a little slowly if you have oxalate issues.

You can try these sources of low lectin, low oxalate carbs too:

If oxalates aren’t a problem, then these are some more low lectin and histamine-lowering, great carb choices:

  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Millet
  • Celery Root
  • Jicama

Note: If you get gas, bloating, or other GI symptoms with grains, fruits, and vegetables, you may very well have SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), candida, or mold gut infections. In this case, you’ll want to avoid these foods for the short term and get evaluated by a Functional Practitioner. If you need help, you can set something up with me here.

Sweeteners on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

 Sweeteners should be kept to a minimum if you have Histamine Intolerance or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. This is because increases in blood sugar can cause inflammation. And inflammation increases mast cell reactions and increases in histamine levels.

Here are some good sweetener options that don’t affect blood sugar, though. These are:

Stevia and Monk Fruit come from plants. Our bodies don’t metabolize them like sugar. Be sure you get stevia and monk fruit without other additives. Often, they have sugar alcohols added, which isn’t good for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance. So, you have to check the ingredients.

You can also use coconut sugar in moderation for a treat. Coconut sugar affects blood sugar more slowly than regular sugar. Honey, molasses, and maple syrup do have some good nutrients. They also have a big impact on blood sugar, so use sparingly. I only have coconut sugar, honey, molasses or maple syrup on very special occasions like my birthday.

You want to be sure to avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, and corn syrup. These are very inflammatory.

Handling Leftovers on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Leftovers build in histamine quickly. You’ll want to freeze your leftovers if they are going to be kept more than a 4-6 hours in the fridge. I always make a double batch of whatever I’m cooking. Then I freeze the leftovers in single serving containers. This makes it easy to pull out to take for lunch or have for dinner after a busy day.

For lunches, I put the frozen meal in my lunchbox. By lunch time, it is usually mostly thawed. You can also thaw foods by running hot water over the container. Then reheat in a pan or toaster oven. Sometimes, in a pinch you might have to use a microwave. I just trust that my nutrient dense foods outweigh any negatives of occasional microwave use. You want to leave the room when the microwave is running to avoid the EMFs.

Also, store leftovers in glass not plastic. This avoids chemicals from plastics leaching into food.

More Ideas for What to Eat on a Low Histamine diet for Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Sample Meal Ideas:

14 Healthy Low Histamine Meal Ideas for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance + Dessert Options! (Also Low Lectin, Low Oxalate)

You can also find all the Low Histamine, Low Oxalate, Low Lectin recipes on my website here:

Low Histamine, Low Oxalate, Low Lectin Recipes

What to do next if you have Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Keep in mind that foods are only one of the 7 Most Common Root Triggers in Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. Working on your foods is a critical step. And you will need to identify and address all your underlying Root Triggers in order to heal.

You can get the free report on the 7 Most Common Root Triggers in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome below – they are the same Root Triggers for Histamine Intolerance.

Download Free Mast Cell 360 Guide for MCAS button 

Histamine Intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome can be really complex. I had to deal with both of these myself, and it took me years to figure out what I needed to do. This is because I didn’t have a practitioner who fully knew how to help me.

I had to become a Mast Cell and Histamine expert to be able to recover my health. I’ve learned a ton in dealing with this. And I’ve mapped out how to help you get well, too. If you need help, I’m only a click away.

Comments

  1. Pingback: The Mast Cell 360 Starter Low Histamine Foods List & Why you Shouldn’t use Most of the Online Histamine Foods Lists if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

      1. Michelle

        Hi Beth!

        I have histamine intolerance to certain foods, i break out in hives if I eat avocados and others, I also have constant environmental allergies.

        What kind of testing is done to find out if you have a mold gut infection ?

        I have dysbiosis and some yeast overgrowth, but I’ve never heard of having mold in the gut.

  2. Natalina Keble

    Thankyou so much , I’ll try some of these recipes .

  3. Amanda Baker

    Thank you, this is a helpful site! I have MCA. I just bought a pressure cooker. You said to avoid slow cooking, is a pressure cooker OK? I hope so because I love making soups and veggie stews.

  4. Michelle

    Is it ok to eat frozen vegetables or should I buy fresh vegetables. I always steam them, I do not like them unless they are soft. Thank you for your help

    1. Denise hurd

      Hi beth. I have recently developed problems with histamine intolerance a month into my taper off of valium. I don’t have a car. I can only order food on line. I bought some frozen Tyson chicken breasts and a box of minute white rice to eat for a week to see how I will react to them. Then will get frozen vegtables. With fresh vegetables and fruit how long can they be in the refrigerator, before they are considered not fresh anymore? How long does it take after you have eaten a food to know if you will have a reaction to it. It will take me around 2 years to taper off of the valium. Will I need to b on the diet most likely until I am done with my taper. I’m on a limited budget. If I listed anything that I should not eat, please let me know. Thank you

      1. Denise, I’m very sorry to hear you are dealing with this. Tyson chicken has a lot of chemicals. You might want to try for a natural, hormone and antibiotic free one. Unfrozen meat sitting at the grocery will be high histamine. If you can get meat that is frozen after slaughter, it will be lowest histamine. Local farmers often offer this. With vegetables and fruit, it depends on how you store the and what type of fruits and vegetables. For example, apples and turnips last longer in the fridge than lettuce. If they are losing firmness, wilting, browning, etc it will be higher histamine. they will last longer in the produce drawer of the fridge. Frozen fruits and vegetables are usually low histamine, if you select the kinds from the low histamine list. Regarding reactions, people can have reactions immediately to up to 3 days later.

  5. MK Nightingale

    Hello Beth

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. I think it may have saved my bacon, so to speak!

    Have been a vegan for twelve years. Trying to move over to low histamine, low lectin diet (will play with oxalates too, in time), as well as making lifestyle and environmental changes, as the worst has happened and have found myself in a rolling state of anaphylaxis and sub-anaphylaxis where the action of swallowing water is enough to trigger an intensification of symptoms.

    At present managing only lower histamine / histamine deconstructing fruits and boiled veg, water, and rapidly losing weight.

    Am hoping very much to be able to introduce eggs from local farms, pending a peptide sensitivity test, but as I’ve previously relied on nuts, seeds, tofu and canned legumes as dietary staples, and am now reacting badly to all of the above, wanted to ask you firstly:

    Am I right in thinking soy/tofu is excluded from lists as it’s a common allergen? Does it have specific negative properties with regards MCADs itself?

    Buckwheat. So much conflicting info out there but it had been a staple for me due to gluten sensitivity the last twelve years, and am not tolerating my other staples brown rice + legume pasta at present. Where does it fall in terms of histamine, lectins, oxalates?

    Thanks so very much,
    MK

    1. Hi MK,
      I’m glad to hear you are finding the site helpful!
      Yes, Soy is a lectin and a thyroid disruptor. Buckwheat is low histamine, but high lectin and high oxalate. You can get rid of the lectins by pressure cooking, but it won’t get rid of the oxalates.

  6. Maria Jose Pastor

    Hi there,

    Your blog has been extraordinarily helpful! Oats were not on your list of grains, and I am wondering if oats, oat milk, or even rolled oats for oatmeal are considered safe to eat.

    Thanks and I look forward to your reply!

    Best,

    1. Hi Maria,
      Oats are lower histamine, but they do fall under the oxalate and lectin category. Hope this helps!

  7. Christina

    Hi,

    Is coconut flour low histamine low oxalate? I found some discrepancies between this list and your website page that is titled Low and High Histamine Foods Lists which makes me confused-specifically some of the starches if they are high in oxalates or not.

    1. Hi Christina,
      Fresh coconut is lower histamine than dried coconut. Think of it as being on a spectrum. Fresh and dried Coconut are lower oxalate.

  8. Ali Smith

    You suggest using cold pressed avocado oil, yet avocado’s are histamine high….I’m confused…

    1. Hi Ali,
      The oil isn’t as high histamine as avocados, and people usually have 1-2 tsps of avocado oil as opposed to 1/4 to 1/2 cup of avocado. Some people are extremely sensitive and may not tolerate it still, though. I hope that helps.

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