Histamine (and other vasoactive amine) intolerance can be a cause migranes as well as GI symptoms. The links below are to excellent resources for lists of foods with naturally occuring 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-sqeezed citrus juice rather than vinegar. Citrus can be a histamine trigger, but has much lower levels of histamine than vinegar.
The foods most commonly reported to induce urticaria 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.
Foods containing histamine—Aged protein containing foods and fermented foods commonly have increased histamine levels.
Foods reported to be high in histamine are 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), chicken, dry pork sausage, beef sausage, ham, chocolate, fermented soy products, and all fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut.
For more information about a histamine avoidance diet, see the Chronic Uticaria Society web page.