For many of us allergies are just a necessary evil during the Springtime but did you know that eating certain healthy foods may actually be making your allergies worse? You may already be familiar with the naturally occurring compound in our body referred to as histamine in terms of how it induces seasonal allergies. In fact most of us that have allergies take antihistamine medications like Zytrec, Allegra or Benedryl to provide relief of our symptoms. Histamine’s role in your body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response usually in response to an unknown or foreign chemical/agent. Histamine is extremely useful in notifying our body of any potential internal invaders (or external when referring to skin). However, in the case of allergies, the immune system, and hence histamine, overreacts to a benign foreign chemical in a overly active way. Think of the US army attacking a Buddhist temple (I know it’s awful but you get the picture). But wait there’s more! Since histamine travels throughout your bloodstream, it can also affect your gut, lungs, skin, brain, and entire cardiovascular system, contributing to a wide range of symptoms, including eczema, joint swelling/stiffness, edema, impaired breathing, bloating, gas and even hypertension!
Here’s the thing just because a food is natural or Organic doesn’t mean it’s right for your body or it should be eaten all throughout the year. Many of our human ancestors were only able to eat certain foods at certain times of the year. What’s more many of our ancestors were only exposed to a small range of foods that were locally available in their designated region. It is for this reason that most of us are ill equipped to eat all the varying foods that are available to us today all year round. Even those of us who think we are fine digesting any food or that we don’t have allergies would be surprised to see the physical affects they can have internally without us knowing as not everyone’s symptoms are perceived or felt but nonetheless can be causing internal inflammation in our arteries, lungs and bowel. However, if you suffer from puffy eyes, dark circles under your eyes, eczema, edema or irritable bowel syndrome most likely you have food allergies. These foods may be over-producing histamine or contain too much histamine for your body to handle. Some common high histamine foods or histamine inducing foods include: avocados, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, bacon, and dried or citrus fruits. There are a lot more though! Here’s a list of high histamine and histamine inducing foods to avoid during allergy season or if you have an inflammatory related condition like edema, eczema and IBS:
High histamine level foods:
- Pickled or canned foods – sauerkrauts
- Matured cheeses
- Smoked meat products – salami, ham, sausages….
- Beans and pulses – chickpeas, soy beans, peanuts
- Nuts – walnuts, cashew nuts
- Chocolates and other cocoa based products
- Ready meals
- Salty snacks, sweets with preservatives and artificial colourings
- Most citric fruits – kiwi, lemon, lime, pineapple, plums…
- Cocoa and chocolate
- Beans and pulses
- Wheat germ
- Additives – benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, food dyes