Histamine Avoidance List

Histamine (and other vasoactive amine) intolerance can be a cause migraines as well as GI symptoms.   The links below are to excellent resources for lists of foods with naturally occurring histamine and foods that cause the body to release histamine.   Histamine is generally a dose-response problem — the more you eat, the worse your symptoms.

Histamine is very difficult to avoid, and impossible to avoid completely.   We aim to reduce the level of histamine intake in all of our recipes.   Some are marked “low histamine” because they contain almost no histamine.  (See list of low histamine recipes)  Others are not marked low histamine, but generally contain much lower levels of histamine than in most recipes for the food.  For example, our salad dressings are all made with fresh-squeezed citrus juice rather than vinegar.  Citrus can be a histamine trigger, but has much lower levels of histamine than vinegar.

The Chronic Uticaria Society reports that the foods most commonly reported to induce urticaria (hives) are shellfish, fish, egg, nuts, chocolate, berries, tomatoes, cheese, milk, and wheat.

Foods reported to release histamine directly from mast cells are uncooked egg whites, shellfish, strawberries, tomatoes, fish, chocolate, pineapple and alcohol.

The foods reported to be highest in natural histamine are aged protein containing foods and fermented foods, such as:

  • Fermented cheeses (e.g. Camembert, Brie, Gruyere, Cheddar, Roquefort, Parmesan)
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Shellfish
  • Many fin fish
  • Canned fish
  • Tomato
  • Spinach
  • Red wine (especially Chianti)
  • Beer
  • Unpasteurized milk (e.g., cow, goat or human milk)
  • Dry pork sausage
  • Beef sausage
  • Ham
  • Chocolate
  • Fermented soy products
  • Fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut

Low-Histamine Recipes

Try one of these low-histamine recipes.

25 thoughts on “Histamine Avoidance List

  1. m. solomon says:

    I read in the Daily Mail this morning about histamine intolerance. This was the first time I’d heard of it and so looked further on the Internet. Imagine my surprise to find so many foods on the ‘avoid’ list were ones which my body had told me I didn’t like for years – shellfish, fish, eggs, cheese, cloves, pineapple, alcohol, sauerkraut, tomatoes. There were several I DO like!! Following two bouts of flu at the end of last year and the advent of a number of styes, I began taking Brewer’s Yeast. Shortly after, my face broke out into a thick lumpy rash which itched for days until the doctor prescribed some ointment but that didn’t work. I already have exzema on one leg and recently got exzema on one foot and was prescribed another ointment which has worked. Ever since my teens I had suffered from migraines (‘runs in the family- take these tablets to stop the pain’). So many of the symptoms listed have been ones I’ve had for years, including arithmia and fainting spells; can it possibly be histamine intolerance? I think it probably is and will test out the suggested diets.

      • Anonymous says:

        To m.solomon. You could simply be amine intolerant which includes other foods to avoid. histamine is diamine. There are also monoamines which are a problem also.

        You need to go through an elimation diet process with a qualified Nutritionist as there may be other things you are intolerant to like salicylates and glutamates.

        I am amine intolerant. Good luck – its a real mine field.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe check your tryptase blood levels too. This sounds the same as me and finally after 30+ years, diagnosed with mastocytosis.

    Who knows, never hurts to rule it out!

    Good luck and thanks for the Histamine list. I am really going to give it a shot, concentrate on my body…


  3. Wow, could’nt believe i found your blog.I’ve suffered so long,almost gave in,but thanks to our heavenly father for giving you such wisdom.Today i used some lemon as i always do and what do you know , i almost tore myself apart until i looked up histamine and there you were.the list,i was speechless. thank you and may God keep blessing you with a strong healthy life. doreen

  4. I found that I have troubles with many foods. I have a wicked allergy to amines. So it’s nice to see your site – it reminds me that there’s other people out there with the same (or similarly baffling) problems as me.

    I wanted to let you know about the low amine recipe blog I’ve started (http://aminerecipes.com). I’m hoping it will become an important tool for people with amine problems. I’m hoping that it, like your site, will become a helpful resource for people with amine problems.

    It’s baffling to me that amines can cause such a wide variety of problems. Because of this, I’m certain that amine sites need to link to each other and become a nurturing community of resources. The final stamp on that was that when I got diagnosed, I couldn’t find any resources that were helpful to me. I’m hoping with a bit of blogging and networking, that won’t happen to other people that discover they have this problem.

    Hope all is well with you, and I hope my recipes help! There are only a few up so far, but subscribe – I’ll be adding more daily.

    -Michelle Ferris

  5. Rachael says:

    I had an allergic reaction and this results in me at the moment taking 3 anti histamines a day through the doctor with the addition of steroid cream. This is because it crept up my face from chin level and after my swollen eyes calmed down a bit but remained red and slightly puffy the doc said it was needed to keep it under control and eventually get rid of it.
    My question is this though, about a week after the reaction started I started getting burning cheeks right at the top near the eyes, it sort of feels like it does when you get embarrassed but much much more intense in the one area but the area is slightly raised(it seems to calm down overnight but still slightly red and bumpy). After looking on the internet I first thought was roseacea, after cutting out carb’s for a day and getting no flare up I thought it might be that but after finding I can eat scones without a flare up I have come to the conclusion that it is probably Hives, however, I can eat chicken, cheese and eggs (scrambled/fried) without any problem. I get a reaction with chocolate unfortunately and probably with yeast-though have only tried it as one of the ingrediants on crisps since I started my experimenting (who knew yeast in crisps!) and tomatoes. I have looked at various web sites and some include chicken as a meat to avoid while others don’t and some list wheat amongst them while others don’t!
    So any advice? Can it be Hives when I can eat most of the ‘Dont’ list or am i just lucky? – at the moment…..
    Any advice, previous experience will be gratefully received.

  6. Rachael says:

    No I havent been checked for mastocytosis will mention to Dr next time I go thanks.
    Well after about 10 weeks or so without any problems, 2 days ago the right side of my chin has started to react to something… it started out itchy and now there are tiny raised bumps in the itchy area, about the size of a clemantine/tangerine and there is also a small circle area on the other side of my cheek but thats not itchy just slightly raised.
    I have not used anything on my skin other than the cream I was advised to use (and if by chance I have, it has been used on all my face not just affected area!) and I really have no idea what started this off again, the only thing in the same area is a couple of spots and thats nothing new!
    I have had to start taking the antihistamine again and have appt with Dr in couple of days, hopefully to send me to have some allergy tests done

    • Kay says:

      Hi Linda,
      Your post is encouraging, seeing improvement after removing offenders from your diet. Can you share which ones are the “biggies” to try to eliminate? I have a history of hayfever and eczema. I haven’t had any eczema for years, but in the past 1-2 years I have had it on my face and neck for the first time in my life. I’ve been trying different topical things, but to no avail yet. I’ve also dabbled with removing some foods high in histamines but it’s overwhelming where to start, which is why I wonder if you could give me a “top 5”, if you could narrow it down to that few in number. At least a place to start as a checklist against what I have a lot of in my diet.

  7. Around 10 years ago I went to an allergy specialist to be tested to find out what I was allergic to. It turned out that I showed my highest reaction to latex and histamines.

    I asked my doctor about the histamine allergy and he told me that I should just take an anti-histamine if I find that I am itching too much.

    I also have eczema and have been to my doctor countless times over the years. I kept telling my doctor that I thought it was food related and he always told me it wasn’t. He told me it was stress related and then would prescribe some more cortisone cream. I first remember my eczema showing up around 17 years ago.

    I finally investigated the details of a histamine allergy this week! For the past few days, I have been avoiding the foods that I should be avoiding and have found a miraculous change already!!!

    I have had GI disturbances for so many years now, I had almost given up the chance of feeling “normal” again. I had given up that any doctor would give me any useful advice.

    Thank you SO much for this information. I wish I had known this 10 years ago when my histamine allergy was first diagnosed, but I can tell you that after avoiding the foods on the “no list” for a week now, I am already beginning to feel so much better!!!


  8. mb3069 says:

    I want to thank you so much for this web page. I have been looking for low histamine recipes and now I have some. Thanks for your time, in putting them on here. My daughter has eczema and Psoriasis, her skin has got really bad but I put her on a low histamine diet a couple of days ago and she is getting better. Thanks to you, I will have more recipes to feed her. I have also made up some recipes myself.

  9. Sandra says:

    Had a scare recently when I developed severe hives. Had to get Zantac injection. Usually an attack lasted less than 3 days. This was a week and severe in form. Have no idea what causes it. Have finally driven squirrels out of our roof, but cannot clean up as it is a flat roof. Possible cause. I have now decided to limit my histamine intake as my argumemt is that if another attack occurs, my body won’t need to battle on this front, too. Don’t know if it makes sense. Menierre’s symptoms persist. I live in the African bush with poor healthcare

  10. Eileenfb says:

    I find food must be fresh, and freshly cooked or I react … I get short of breath with Asthma. It is a minefield as each site has a different idea as to what is safe to eat. I am okay with rice, turkey lamb and beef, and butter beans (I wash them well first) but can’t go near anything cake or bread-like. Allergy tests didn’t show up anything … so it is up to me to get this sorted. It sure removes quality of life – feeling hungry but scared to eat.

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