Many of us suffer from allergies, airborne agents known as allergens or pathogens. These can be grass, pollen, dander, dust, chemicals, mold, foods, you name it. The result is similar though in that once the allergen enters the body it begins to create a bit of chaos.
The immune system mistakenly views it as a threat or danger and releases antibodies to help defeat it. The body also releases histamine into the nose, eyes and lungs as another means of attack in hopes of helping to remove the harmful allergen. This is a good move by the immune system but unfortunately histamine also causes inflammation which can lead to a stuffy nose, tighter chest and itchy watery eyes.
Below are few foods to eat and avoid if you suffer from allergies or have a high histamine count in your system at any given time, not just allergy season.
Common high-histamine foods to be avoided include:
**Please note many of these foods are beneficial to the body in other ways and should not be excluded, just reduce the amount you are consuming when allergies are present.**
Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne and beer
Fermented foods (soy sauce, sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kombucha)
Vinegar-containing foods (pickles, mayonnaise, olives)
Cured meats (bacon, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs)
Soured foods (sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, soured bread)
Dried fruit (apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins)
Most citrus fruits
Aged cheese, including goat cheese
Nuts (walnuts, cashews)
Some vegetables (avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes) Smoked fish and certain species of fish (mackerel, tuna, anchovies, sardines)
The following foods not only contain histamine, but may induce the release of our own histamine from the mast cells and basophils:
Alcohol - Bananas - Chocolate - Cow’s milk - Nuts - Papaya
Pineapple - Shellfish - Strawberries - Tomatoes - Wheat germ
Many artificial preservatives and dyes
Black Tea - Green Tea - Energy Drinks and Alcohol may worsen symptoms of Histamine allergies if there is an issue with DAO deficiency
Foods to Include more of:
**Note: Fresh-caught fish or meat that is gutted and either frozen or cooked immediately is best. Fish or meat that has been sitting around in a package will likely exacerbate histamine intolerance.
In addition, try these low-histamine foods:
Gluten-free grains such as rice and quinoa
Pure peanut butter
Fresh fruits (mango, pear, watermelon, apple, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapes)
All fresh vegetables except tomatoes, spinach, avocado, and eggplant
Dairy substitutes (coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk)
Cooking oils (olive oil, coconut oil)
Leafy herbs such as parsley, cilantro, oregano, dill, and thyme
Dark green, leafy vegetables
Deep yellow and orange vegetables
Nettles, bamboo shoots, cabbage, beet tops, beets, carrots, yams
Onions, garlic, ginger, cayenne, horseradish
A few additional options you can try also:
1. Drink fenugreek seed tea: Two to three cups daily helps prevent irritation and congestion of the nasal passages and sinuses. These are symptoms usually associated with hay fever. For chronic hay fever sufferers, fenugreek tea can also help prevent infection of the upper respiratory tract.
2. Eat more ginger and garlic: Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, helpful for reducing hay fever symptoms. Garlic contains antibiotic properties and can help prevent sinus congestion. Stuffed Olives would be a good way to get garlic into you along with fiber, or try cooking with Garlic 2-3 times a week.
*Anti-inflammatory Tea - 1 cup boiling water, ½ tsp of turmeric and ginger, shake or 2 of cinnamon and pepper (cayenne is best but black will do), a wedge of lemon squeezed in and honey to taste - drink 2 cups daily*
3. Eat local honey and beeswax or fresh honeycomb: Try to obtain this from a local beekeeper and take some on a daily basis, either all year round or in the months prior to the onset of hay fever season. Take a piece of honeycomb, about the size of a 20-cent piece, once or twice daily. This can decrease sensitivity to pollen through stimulation of the blocking antibodies.
4. Add fish oils (omega-3 fatty acids) to your diet: Another health benefit of fish oils is their ability to reduce inflammation by blocking the inflammatory pathway which causes the symptoms associated with hay fever.
5. Take nettle extract: Freeze-dried nettle capsules or fresh nettle juice (one tablespoon combined with grape or other juice) daily can provide a natural antihistamine effect for hay fever.
Supplements, Vitamins and Minerals that may be beneficial - Talk to you Health Care Practitioner First
Bioflavonoids (e.g., quercetin, catechin, and hesperidin) - Take 2-3 grams daily. When symptoms are severe take up to 6 grams. Bioflavonoids are natural antihistamines and strongly anti-allergenic. Bromelain and vitamin C can enhance the action of bioflavonoids. Combination products are available.
Flaxseed oil - Take 1 tbsp daily.
Probiotics (e.g., lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus) - Take one in the morning and one in the evening. Probiotics are bowel microflora organisms—microscopic bacteria that normally inhabit the intestines. Buy a quality product that has 1-4 billion organisms per capsule.
Multivitamin – High potency and customized if possible.
Vitamin A - Take 25,000 IUs daily.
Vitamin C - Take 1-3 grams 2 to 3 times daily or to bowel tolerance. (Bowel tolerance is the amount of vitamin C that can be taken without causing diarrhea. This amount is different for each person and can change if the need increases because the body is stressed, injured, or ill.)
Vitamin E - Take 400 IUs daily.
Zinc - Take 30 mg daily.