List of Foods High in Histamine and Other Amines (Updated 2024)

Anna Nadal

Physiotherapist and postgraduate in PNIE

Foods High in Histamine

NOT RECOMMENDED

VEGETABLES

Spinach
Tomato
Tomato juice
Tomato sauce
Pickled vegetables
Sauerkraut
Kimchi
Pickles
Canned mushrooms
Ceps
Morels
Agaricus

FRUITS

Strawberries
Raspberries
LemonÇ
Lime
Orange
Tangerine
Grapefruit
Ripe banana
Pineapple
Kiwi
Yellow kiwi
Guava
Ripe avocado

All overripe fruits

GRAINS

Wheat and wheat derivatives
Wheat germ
Pastries
Cookies
Packaged breads
Canned corn

LEGUMES

Soy
Soy milk
Soy sprouts
Soy tempeh
Soy yogurt
Tofu
Lentils
Chickpeas
Beans
Peanuts
Peanut butter

NUTS AND SEEDS

Walnuts
Cashews

MEATS AND EGGS

All types of sausages: fuet, salami, chorizo, salchichón, mortadella, ham…
Canned meats
Highly processed meats: sausages…
Marinated meat
Smoked meat
Packaged ground meat
Meat pies
Pâté
Offal
Egg whites
Packaged boiled eggs
Eggs
Precooked meals

DAIRY

Aged cheese Semi-cured cheese Fresh cheese Cheese spread Grated cheese Melting cheese Powdered cheese Blue cheese (penicillium) Cheese slices Fondue Aged Gouda *the more aged the cheese, the higher the histamine content

FISH

Canned, marinated, salted, smoked, or pickled fish.
Tuna
Mackerel
Herring
Sardines
Anchovies
Mahi mahi
Shellfish: mussels, prawns, shrimps, crabs, lobsters.
Fish sauces
Packaged fish soups

SPICES AND SEASONINGS

Vinegars (especially wine vinegar, balsamic, Modena)
Sauces with vinegar
Monosodium glutamate
Soy sauce
Licorice
Spicy spices: chili, whole grain mustard, chili peppers, black pepper, ground ginger, garlic powder.

OTHERS

Cocoa
Cocoa paste
Milk chocolate
Dark chocolate
White chocolate
Carob

Seaweeds

BEVERAGES

Alcohol (of all kinds)
Sugary drinks
Not recommended fruit juices
Kombucha tea

Low Histamine Foods

RECOMMENDED

VEGETABLES

Onion
Shallot onion
Red onion
Leek
Celery
Zucchini
Cucumber
Garlic
Pumpkin
Carrot
Radish
Beetroot
Turnips
Rocket
Lamb’s lettuce
Endives
Chicory
Watercress
Cauliflower
Brussels sprouts
Red cabbage
Broccoli
Artichokes
Yellow bell pepper
Red bell pepper
Green bell pepper
Green asparagus
Pak choi
Bimis

FRUITS

Apple
Green banana
Mango
Coconut
Lychees
Pomegranate
Fresh currants
White grapes
Red grapes
Melon
Fresh blueberries
Blackberries
Fresh figs
Peach
Apricot
Nectarine
Cherries
Coc

GRAINS

Buckwheat
White rice
Basmati rice
Brown rice
Millet
White quinoa
Red quinoa
Black quinoa
Teff
Sorghum
Spelt
Rye
Corn (unpackaged)
Corn flour (cornstarch)
*choose organic

LEGUMES

Red lentils
Red lentil pasta
Peas
Azuquis

NUTS AND SEEDS

Nuts
Macadamia nuts
Chestnuts
Pistachios
Hazelnuts
Pine nuts
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds

Seeds
Sesame
Flaxseed
Chia
Hemp
Poppy

MEATS AND EGGS

Important to be as fresh as possible

Organic chicken
Organic turkey
Organic beef
Organic lamb
Organic rabbit
Frozen meat (not stored for too long)

Organic hen’s egg
Organic quail egg

FISH

Important to be as fresh as possible and eviscerated as soon as possible

Frozen white fish
Merluza
Sole
Cod
Monkfish
Perch
Haddock
Trout
Sea bass
Hake
Tilapia
White snapper
John dory
Sea bream

DAIRY

Mozzarella
Burrata
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese
Goat fresh cheese
Sheep fresh cheese
Cow fresh cheese
Buffalo mozzarella
Mascarpone
Organic butter
Goat milk
Sheep milk
Organic ghee

In small quantities:
Sheep yogurt
Goat yogurt
Cow yogurt
Feta cheese

TUBERS

Potato
Purple potato
Potato starch
Sweet potato
Cassava
Green plantain (not too ripe)
Jerusalem artichoke

OILS AND DRESSINGS

Extra virgin olive oil
Flaxseed oil
Sesame oil
Coconut oil
Sunflower oil
Fish oil
Organic apple cider vinegar
Salt
Fresh herbs

BEVERAGES

Rice
Coconut
Rice and coconut
Gluten-free oats
Quinoa
Hemp
Almonds

*choose without added sugars or sweeteners

Tea without theine
Decaffeinated green tea
Natural coffee (in very small quantities)
Decaffeinated coffee
Rooibos
Infusions

OTHERS

Stevia
Honey (very occasionally)
Coconut sugar
Homemade jams of permitted fruits
(Sweeten as less as possible)

Mast Cell Stabilizing Foods

Luteolin and quercetin stabilize mast cells, quercetin decreases histamine release, suppresses eosinophils, decreases phospholipase 2, activates GABA, serotonin, inhibits inflammatory cytokines, and has an antioxidant action.

FOODS RICH IN LUTEOLIN

Vegetables
Brussels sprouts
Green asparagus
Carrots
Broccoli
Romaine lettuce
Mint
Celery
Yellow bell pepper
Red bell pepper
Green bell pepper

Legumes
Peas

Nuts
Pistachios

Herbs and spices
Thyme
Mint
Fresh parsley

FOODS RICH IN QUERCETIN

Vegetables
Radishes
Fennel
Onion
Rocket
Chicory
Brussels sprouts
Kale
Raw capers
Pak choi
Green asparagus

Legumes
Peas

Fruits
Apple
Cherries
Grapes
Blueberries
Plums
Pear

Herbs and spices
Oregano
Coriander
Pepper

REFERENCES


 

  • SIGHI LIST 2021
  • (Vicente L. (2013) Perez Vizcaino F, Duarte J, Jimenez R, Santos Buelga C, Osuna A. Antihypertensive effects of the flavonoid quercetin. Pharmacol Rep 2009; 61(1):67-75. 26.
  • Edwards RL, Lyon T, Litwin SE, Rabovsky A, Symons JD, Jalili T. Quercetin reduces blood pressure in hypertensive subjects. J Nutr. 2007; 137(11):2405- 2411.

Other recommendations

GUIDELINES TO CONSIDER WHEN FOLLOWING A LOW-HISTAMINE DIET

Foods consumed during a histamine intolerance process should preferably be fresh and minimally processed.

Packaged or fermented foods contain higher levels of histamine.

It’s important to carefully read labels of minimally processed products to detect ingredients that may contain histamine.

Avoid packaged sauces and condiments.

Animal Protein

The general requirement for animal protein is freshness.

Avoid purchasing packaged products.

Most cases of histamine poisoning occur from spoiled foods or canned animal proteins, especially fish.

Furthermore, food quality matters.

Choose organic meats, fish, or eggs.

When it comes to red meat, opt for poultry, but if you consume beef, choose grass-fed.

Avoid slow cooking.

Avoid marinating.

Avoid leftovers, unless they are frozen immediately and thawed and reheated quickly, such as directly from the freezer in a pan or in the oven.

Meat
Can be safe if organic, fresh, or rapidly frozen.
Avoid purchasing ground meat; it’s preferable to grind it at home.
Avoid consuming offal.

Eggs
Organic with a numerical code of 0 or 1.
Always cooked, and avoid raw or undercooked egg whites, where amines are found.
It’s preferable not to make mayonnaise or aioli, as raw eggs are used.
Don’t crack the egg on the same plate where it will be beaten later, nor use the same fork, nor reuse the plate where the raw egg was beaten.

Fish
The safest way is to buy fresh fish of the day, gutted; you can order it at the fish market to plan the purchase.

Dairy
Check the list for cheeses with low histamine content. Fresher cheeses have less histamine. The more fermented and aged the cheese, the more histamine it will contain.
Although we now find A2 cow’s dairy (milk and yogurt), I recommend choosing preferably goat or sheep.

Maintaining Good Hygiene in the Kitchen

Wash hands before handling food and after handling raw foods like chicken, fish, etc.

Clean kitchen utensils and cutting boards thoroughly.

Proper food storage is essential to ensure food safety.

It’s also advisable, in addition to having hygiene in food handling, to clean the refrigerator and freezer approximately every three months.

Preferably, place already cleaned and/or well-packaged foods in the refrigerator, thus avoiding contaminating both surfaces and other foods. Additionally, histamine levels increase as days pass in foods containing this amine, especially in protein-rich foods such as fish, meats, or cheeses.

Vegetables and fruits must be washed with water and disinfected thoroughly, whether they will be consumed with or without skin, as peeling can carry microorganisms inside.

If you buy pre-washed bagged salads, there’s no need to wash them again.

Fish should be gutted before refrigerating and preferably consumed on the same day, as the longer it takes to consume, the higher the histamine content will be.

Kitchen Utensils

Avoid cooking with plastic utensils. Cook with BPA, phthalate, and PFOA-free utensils such as iron, stainless steel, glass.

Avoid storing food in plastic containers.

Do not heat plastic containers or plastic food containers in the microwave. Do not use aluminum or non-stick molds for baking. Replace with glass, ceramic, or stainless steel.

Avoid slow cookers, smoked, or marinated foods.

Avoid burning food.

Choose cosmetics and hygiene products with a high percentage of natural ingredients.

OTHER TIPS You Might Find Useful

How to Cook Legumes?
Legumes are a good source of protein and fiber, although within these proteins, we also find lectins.

Lectins are also known as phytohemagglutinins due to their ability to agglutinate red blood cells.

Lectins protect legumes from predators like us, and although we may be able to digest some lectins, much of it resists passage through the stomach, reaching the intestine where it binds to receptors on the intestinal epithelial cells, interfering with nutrient absorption. Once attached to the digestive tract, lectin can cause damage to the epithelium, altering functionality, absorption, and causing inflammation.

Legumes should not be cooked at low temperatures as lectins are not destroyed. Therefore, if you are going to cook them at home, it is important to soak them for a minimum of 24 to 72 hours to reduce hemagglutinating activity and then boil them at 100 degrees for 10 minutes.

Do not reuse soaking water.

How Can Arsenic Content in Rice Be Reduced?
Brown rice may contain more arsenic. This is because this compound is not only deposited in the endosperm, which is the white rice grain as we know it, but also accumulates in the outer layers, which form the bran.

It is advisable to buy organic rice locally and avoid consuming it in large quantities daily.

It is also recommended to soak all types of rice overnight, wash it, and cook it with plenty of water, always discarding the cooking water.

And a Final Tip: Organize the Refrigerator

Temperature fluctuations can harm food preservation.

Properly storing food ensures more food safety, thus avoiding the growth of pathogenic bacteria and the elevation of histamine levels.

The lower part is the coldest, so it’s the best place to put gutted meats or fish. If they won’t be consumed shortly, it’s better to freeze them.

If you have 2 drawers, use the other for vegetables, and store them without plastics.

In the middle shelf: yogurts and cheeses.

On the top shelf or the door is the warmest zone: eggs or beverages.

Eggs are very sensitive to temperature changes, and going from cold to heat can facilitate the entry of microorganisms through the shell into the interior. They can be washed before immediate consumption, but not stored washed.

For frozen foods, it is advisable to thaw them in a glass container in the refrigerator. Do not leave them to thaw at room temperature.

REFERENCES


 

  • Join FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Evaluation of certain contamination in food (2011).
  • FDA bad bug book
  • EFSA, Scientific opinion on arsenic in food,7(10); (2009).
  • Signes- Pastor, A. et al., Geographical variation in inorganic arsenic paddy field samples and commercial rice from the Iberian Peninsula. Food Chem. (2016).

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