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Seasonal Allergies and The Low Histamine Diet

Did you know that you could be eating foods that are contributing to your histamine load and making allergy season that much more unbearable? Some of your favorite foods and foods that we hear that are so good for us, can actually exasperate your symptoms. In this article learn how a low histamine diet and using a few natural anti-histamine supplements and essential oils can offer you relief.

For many, this is the season of itchy eyes, runny nose, congestion, asthma attacks, scratchy throat, sneezing, migraines, fatigue and rashes – these may be your reactions to seasonal allergies. Your allergies could also be causing a flare up in existing inflammatory conditions or autoimmune conditions too.  

When we have too much histamine in the body and don't eliminate it well that can cause a host of allergy symptoms. According to my nutrition colleague, Julie Matthews, "The body is usually well-equipped to prevent the build-up of histamine. However, in some cases, the body may be unable to deal with the histamine produced or consumed either because consumption is too high, or enzymatic activity is too low.

In the body, histamine is enzymatically degraded one of two ways

  • Oxidative deamination by diamine oxidase (DAO) into imidazole acetaldehyde
  • Methylation by histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT) into N4-methylhistamine

If either of these are impaired, meaning if you don't have enough DAO enzyme to break down histamine due to leaky gut or impaired gut function or if your methylation pathways are impaired then your histamine load becomes too high and your body reacts with allergy symptoms. The good news is, there are some very helpful, safe and effective interventions you can try to ease and alleviate your symptoms at this time of year.

Low Histamine Diet

Did you know that you could be eating foods that are contributing to your histamine load and making allergy season that much more unbearable? Some of your favorite foods and foods that we hear that are so good for us, like fermented foods, kombucha, bone broth, chocolate, green tea, etc., can actually exasperate your symptoms. If you eat a lot of foods that trigger a histamine response you could be filling your histamine bucket up too much, especially if you are deficient in DAO enzyme and not breaking down these high histamine foods. If you are already reacting to environmental threats, your stress is high and your diet is high in histamine foods you could be in an intense state of reactivity. The key is we have to empty the histamine bucket by following a low histamine diet and using a few natural anti-histamine supplements as a proactive and effective way to offer you relief.

Low Histamine Diet (Resource credit: from my Bioindividual Nutrition Certification Training with Julie Matthews, Nourishing Hope)

A low histamine diet trial involves the elimination of:

  • Foods rich in histamine
  • Foods that release histamine
  • DAO enzyme inhibitors

Foods Rich in Histamine

  • Fermented foods: Sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented dairy including yogurt, kefir, sour cream, soy sauce, fish sauce
  • Vinegar and vinegar-containing foods: Pickles, olives, mustard
  • Cured meats: Bacon, salami, hot dogs, sausage
  • Aged, dried, jerky, smoked and less fresh meat and fish, as well as anchovies and mackerel
  • Aged cheese
  • Nuts: Peanuts, walnuts, and cashews
  • Vegetables: Avocados, mushrooms, eggplant, spinach, and dried tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Dried fruit and citrus fruits
  • Long/slow simmered and roasted foods: Bone broths and pot roast
  • Fermented alcohol: Wine, beer, brandy, port, sherry, rum, champagne
  • Probiotic supplements

Foods That Release Histamine

  • Bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Milk
  • Nuts and peanuts
  • Fruit: Papaya, Pineapple, Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Shellfish
  • Artificial preservatives and dyes

DAO Enzyme Inhibitors (these block the enzyme from being able to break down high histamine foods)

  • Alcohol
  • Tea (black, green, mate)
  • Various energy drinks

The idea is to remove as many high histamine foods, foods that release histamine and DAO enzyme inhibitors, for a period of time and eat as many low histamine foods that you can.

Low Histamine Foods

  • Fresh meats
  • Fresh fish
  • Vegetables (except spinach, pickles, olives, eggplant, mushrooms)
  • Fruits (except bananas, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, citrus, dried fruit, tomato sauce)
  • Beans
  • Gluten-free grains
  • Butter and ghee
  • Moringa Tea

If you are looking at these food lists and thinking, "WOW! I have a lot of these foods in in my diet" or you are feeling overwhelmed by this, then I can help. There are many low histamine foods within each of these categories and when working with me you would receive low histamine food lists, meal suggestions and recipes to make this trial feel doable and enjoyable.

Along with food we also have to consider our supplements. Probiotics, while wonderfully supportive for many, can be high in histamine depending on the strains. Ones to be on the lookout for include:

Probiotic Strains That Contribute to High Histamine

  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus Bulgaricus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacillus delbrueckii
  • Lactobacillus helveticus

Beneficial Probiotic Strains That Help

  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Lactobacillus gasseri
  • Bifidobacterium breve
  • Bifidobacterium bifidum
  • Lactobacillus salivarius
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus (especially GG)
  • Bifidobacterium lactis
  • Lactobacillus plantarum

Using natural anti-histamines like quercetin and Vitamin C are also more effective than medications (and safer with no side effects) and using DAO enzyme (Diamine Oxidase) to help you break down histamine in the digestive system is a wonderful and effective intervention as well.

Essential Oils for Allergies

There are a few great essential oil products I highly recommend for relief of symptoms and to help keep your home air clear of impurities.

doTerra Tri-Ease Soft Gels

TriEase Softgels were developed to protect against seasonal and environmental elements and to promote a healthy respiratory system. Each softgel contains equal parts of Lemon, Lavender, and Peppermint essential oils, known for their ability to maintain clear breathing and a healthy immune response when combined together. TriEase Softgels can be consumed safely on a daily basis during times of seasonal discomfort to promote clear breathing and overall respiratory health.

doTerra Air X – purifies the air

Air-X is a  blend of natural essential oils, including Litsea, Tangerine, Grapefruit, Frankincense, and Cardamom. Air-X is designed to help freshen the air when diffused. Experimental research suggests that Litsea, an essential oil used in Air-X, soothes and promotes feelings of openness. Results from early research demonstrate Limonene, a major component found in Air-X, may provide cleansing benefits. This is a wonderful oil to diffuse in all parts of your home for clean, refreshing air and to assist on open respiratory pathways.

doTerra Easy Air - Relaxation and Clearer Breathing

dōTERRA Easy Air® is a remarkable blend of essential oils including Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Tea Tree. Diffused or rubbed on your chest, it helps promote feelings of clear and easy breathing. It can also promote a restful night’s sleep. The Eucalyptus within dōTERRA Easy Air® may help with seasonal threats. The Laurel Leaf within doTERRA Easy Air® may help to promote feelings of easy breathing. dōTERRA Easy Air® contains relaxing Ravintsara which can be used in meditation for its relaxation properties.

Shop doTerra here to purchase any of these products or get in touch with me and I am happy to place an order for you.

Other Helpful Tips
1) Use a Neti Pot - nasal flushing is important for easier breathing and to clear the sinuses of unwanted particles
2) HEPA Air filter - these help to clear the air of dust, bacteria, pet dander, mold and other unwanted particles in your home
3) Put Plants in every room of your home
4) Vacuum often
5) Open your Windows

There are many factors that can contribute to histamine intolerance and seasonal allergies: gluten intolerance, leaky gut, gut dysbiosis, liver stagnation, certain medications, genetic mutations, nutrient deficiencies and more, so if you would like support in identifying your root causes and how you can create a low histamine diet and lifestyle to help you get through seasonal allergies and beyond, I can help! Get in touch at amy@amybondar.com to book a virtual consult.

Yours in health & vitality,

Connect with Amy today to start nourishing your body, mind and soul.

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