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Low-histamine Indian Diet Plan

Low-histamine Diet Plan (Indian Version)

Low-histamine diet is a relatively new concept in India, but it is gaining popularity among health-conscious individuals looking for a nutritional approach to manage allergies and other histamine-related issues.

Low histamine diet

A low-histamine diet is essentially a plant-based diet that avoids foods high in histamine, which is a chemical that is naturally produced by the body and found in some foods.

This type of diet is beneficial for people who suffer from histamine intolerance, which is a condition that occurs when the body has difficulty processing histamine.

What is a Low-Histamine Diet?

A low-histamine diet is a dietary approach aimed at reducing the intake of food that are high in histamine. Histamine is naturally produced in the body as a response when the immune system is triggered. But in many individuals, especially those struggling from allergies, the immune system could trigger automatically, without any real danger to the body. As a response, they could manifest symptoms of allergies.

Some people may experience adverse reactions to histamine-containing foods, such as:

  • headaches,
  • rashes, and,
  • gastrointestinal symptoms.

Therefore, a low-histamine diet may be helpful for individuals with histamine intolerance, atleast till the immune health improves.

The low-histamine diet involves avoiding or limiting high-histamine foods, such as:

  • aged cheeses,
  • fermented foods,
  • processed meats, and,
  • certain fruits and vegetables.
cheese high histamine

Some foods may trigger the release of histamine in the body, such as citrus fruits, chocolate, and nuts, and should also be avoided or limited. On the other hand, low-histamine foods, such as certain fresh fruits and vegetables, whole- grains and legumes, are encouraged in this diet.

It is essential to note that the low-histamine diet is not a weight-loss diet, and it may be challenging to follow for some individuals due to its restricted nature.

A low- histamine diet may cause long term nutritional deficiencies, damage gut health, lead to hormonal disorders etc if followed for a long- time. The objective of the diet is not to cause food avoidance forever, but, rather, to help heal you body and gut so you can slowly reintroduce the restricted foods back into your lifestyle.

Plant- diversity is the biggest predictor of gut- health and overall wellness. Thus, it is essential to only temporarily follow a low- histamine protocol. Read more about this topic here:

Therefore, it is advisable to consult a registered holistic nutritionist or healthcare provider before starting this diet, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking any medications that may interact with certain foods.

What is an Intolerance to Histamine?

Like discussed, histamine is a chemical compound that plays a vital role in our immune system, but some people may experience an intolerance to excess histamine built- up in the body.

Histamine intolerance is a condition where the body is unable to break down histamine efficiently, leading to an accumulation of histamine in the body. This can result in a wide range of symptoms, including,

  • headaches,
  • inflammation,
  • hives,
  • itching,
  • migranes,
  • gastrointestinal distress, and,
  • anxiety or depression.

Please note, all of the above symptoms are common with many other disorders, thus, histamine intolerance can often be misdiagnosed.

Histamine's in the body are broken down by compounds called Di- Amine oxides. Histamine built- up can be caused by a variety of factors, including,

  1. Excess consumption of histamine through food,
  2. Damage to the DAO receptors that help in breaking down histamines (this could be due to illness, genetics or various reasons),
  3. Other bio- geneic amines clogging the DAO receptors
  4. Increased intestinal permeability or damage tot he gut lining.

In addition, some foods may contain histamine-releasing substances, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, and certain nuts. Though they by themselves might not be high in histamines, they trigger the activation of histamines in the body.

People with histamine intolerance may find it helpful to follow a low-histamine diet, which involves avoiding or limiting high-histamine foods and histamine-releasing substances. They may also benefit from taking histamine-reducing supplements, such as DAO (diamine oxidase), as discussed this is an enzyme that helps break down histamine in the body.

DAO supplement

It's important to note that histamine intolerance is not the same as a histamine allergy. A histamine allergy is a more severe reaction that involves the immune system, whereas histamine intolerance is a metabolic disorder. If you suspect you have histamine intolerance, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Histamine Intolerance Vs. Histamine Toxicity

  • Histamine intolerance occurs when the body is unable to break down histamine efficiently, leading to a build-up of histamine in the body.
  • Histamine toxicity occurs when a person ingests a high amount of histamine in a short period. This can cause more severe symptoms such as flushing, low blood pressure, and even anaphylaxis.

Histamine toxicity can happen with certain types of fish, such as tuna, mackerel, and mahi-mahi, that have been improperly stored or processed, allowing histamine levels to increase.

A plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of both histamine intolerance and histamine toxicity. Plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, are generally low in histamine and anti- inflammatory.

Plant- based diets are also naturally alkaline. This helps heal a leaky gut and improve the diversity of good gut microbiome. Animal products, dairy and eggs on the other hand are pro- inflammatory and contain sulfur containing amino acids that destroy the gut lining, making inflammation and immune health worse.

keto diet

Many Indian dishes are already plant-based, such as dal, sabzi, and chawal. A plant-based diet can be easily adapted to regional tastes and preferences.

Histamine intolerance and histamine toxicity can cause uncomfortable and even dangerous symptoms. A plant-based diet can help reduce the risk of both conditions by avoiding high-histamine foods and histamine-releasing substances.

Which Health Conditions are Associated with Excess Histamine in the Body?

Excess histamine in the body can be associated with a variety of health conditions.

But before we move on, it is important to understand that histamines are important and part of our regular immune response system. Histamines play an important role in various functions of your body, including:

  • Gastric acid secretion
  • Inflammation management
  • Vasodialation
  • Muscle cell contraction.

However, when histamine levels become too high, it can lead to symptoms that are associated with several health conditions.

Here are some of the negative effects of histamine built- up in the body:

  • Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS): This is a condition where the body's mast cells release excessive amounts of histamine, leading to a variety of symptoms, including hives, itching, flushing, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. MCAS can be triggered by a variety of factors, including stress, exercise, and exposure to allergens or other triggers.
  • Allergies: Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance, such as pollen, dust, or animal dander. When the immune system overreacts, it releases histamine, which causes the symptoms associated with allergies, such as sneezing, itching, and watery eyes.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): This is a group of conditions that cause inflammation in the digestive tract. Histamine is involved in the inflammatory response and can exacerbate symptoms associated with IBD, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating.

It is noteworthy that having any of the above conditions need not guarantee that you need to go on a low- histamine diet. The above conditions could simply be due to a leaky gut or even gut dysbiosis.

Like mentioned above, going on a low- histamine diet when you do not have histamine buildup can lead to side effects. Work with a health care professional in understanding what protocol you need to follow for your specific condition.

How Would You Test for Histamine Intolerance?

Unfortunately, there are not definitive tests for histamine intolerance. This makes it tricky for physicians to properly diagnose the condition and start protocol for treatment.

One of the reasons there is a sudden rise in interest for low histamine diets is because of lack of proper testing protocol. Thus, people often misdiagnose other conditions like SIBO to being a histamine problem.

This could be potentially dangerous as your primary condition can get worse while you are treating for something that is not even there.

So how would you know if you are histamine intolerant?

There are only two ways to test the same:

  • Rule out other conditions: You could test for SIBO, leaky gut, celiac disease and multiple other conditions first to rule them out. If you do not have symptoms of any of them, chances are you are intolerant to histamines.
  • Monitor to see if your symptoms improve on a low- histamine diet: If you stop eating foods high in histamine and your symptoms get better, chances are you are intolerant and must take the protocol to work on improving the same.

That being said, going on an anti- histamine diet when you don't have an histamine intolerance is not suggested.

What is a Histamine ‘bucket’?

The "bucket" represents the body's ability to process and eliminate histamine from the system. When the amount of histamine in the body exceeds its capacity to process and eliminate it, the "bucket" overflows, and histamine-related symptoms occur.

histamine bucket

The histamine "bucket" can be thought of as a metaphorical container that fills up with histamine over time.

The amount of histamine that enters the "bucket" depends on the individual's diet, environmental factors, and overall health. For example, a person who consumes a diet high in histamine-containing foods, such as fermented foods and aged cheese, will have a faster filling "bucket" compared to someone who follows a low-histamine diet.

Similarly, environmental factors such as exposure to pollen or mold can also contribute to histamine accumulation.

Once the "bucket" is full, histamine-related symptoms begin to occur. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and include headaches, hives, itching, flushing, gastrointestinal distress, and even anxiety or depression. For individuals with histamine intolerance, the "bucket" may fill up faster and have a lower threshold for overflow, leading to more frequent and severe symptoms.

A plant-based diet can be beneficial in managing histamine levels and preventing the "bucket" from overflowing. Plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, are generally low in histamine and do not trigger the release of histamines. This can help reduce the amount of histamine that enters the "bucket" and slow down the rate of histamine accumulation.

Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods, such as turmeric and ginger, can help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent the "bucket" from overflowing due to other sources of inflammation. Overall, understanding the histamine "bucket" and taking steps to manage histamine levels can help individuals with histamine intolerance reduce their symptoms and improve their overall health.

How Long Should I Follow A Low- Histamine Diet?

A low- histamine diet is not a lifestyle. This is a very restrictive diet and should only be followed for a short period till you see an improvement in your symptoms.

Ideally, I would help my clients transition from a low to a moderate histamine protocol in 4-6 weeks, and from a moderate to a regular (all inlcusive) diet in about 4 weeks more.

low histamine recipes

Remember, plant diversity is the biggest predictor of gut health. Reducing diversity in your diet can only help you with symptom management, but not cure the gut. You want to be able to teach your body to digest all plants. Thus, as the gut heals, include more diversity to your diet.

Foods to Avoid On a Low-Histamine Diet.

A low-histamine diet involves avoiding or limiting foods that are high in histamine, other bio- amines, or those that promote the release of histamine in the body.

Here are some foods to avoid on a low-histamine diet:

  1. Fermented foods: Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir are high in histamine and should be avoided.

  2. Aged cheese: Aged cheese, such as cheddar, blue cheese, and parmesan, are high in histamine and should be avoided.

  3. Processed meats: Processed meats such as sausage, salami, and ham are high in histamine and should be avoided.

  4. Shellfish: Shellfish such as crab, shrimp, and lobster are high in histamine and should be avoided.

  5. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are not high in histamine, but trigger the release of histamines in the body and should be limited.

  6. Some Nuts: Some nuts such as walnuts, cashews, and peanuts are high in histamine and should be avoided.

  7. Some Vegetables: Vegetables must form the center of your diet as they contain phytonutrients to heal your body. But some vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach are high in histamines.

  8. Chocolate: Chocolate is high in histamine and should be avoided or limited.

  9. Alcohol: Alcohol is high in histamine and should be avoided or limited.

  10. Artificial additives: Artificial additives such as artificial sweeteners, food dyes, preservatives, and flavouring's can promote the release of histamine in the body and should be avoided.

It's important to note that the severity of histamine intolerance varies among individuals, and what may trigger symptoms in one person may not be in another.

Keeping a food diary and tracking symptoms can help identify triggers and tailor the low-histamine diet accordingly. Additionally, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods, such as turmeric and ginger, and taking a prebiotic supplement may also help improve histamine tolerance.

Should You Avoid All Lentils on a Low- Histamine Diet?

A low histamine diet is anyways restrictive, thus, you must ensure to include as much diversity as possible. Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and can provide many benefits for those on a low histamine diet.

While lentils do contain some histamine, they are generally considered to be low in histamine and may be well-tolerated by many people with histamine intolerance. Please note, this will differ from person to person.

In fact, lentils are a rich source of several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B6, magnesium, and zinc, which are essential for the proper functioning of the DAO enzyme, responsible for breaking down histamine in the body. Therefore, adding lentils to a low histamine diet may be beneficial in supporting the DAO enzyme function and reducing histamine levels in the body.

lentils and histamine

However, it is important to note that cooking can affect the histamine levels in lentils. When lentils are cooked, their histamine content may increase due to the breakdown of histidine, an amino acid present in lentils. Therefore, it is recommended to soak lentils overnight and discard the soaking water before cooking. Additionally, lentils should be cooked thoroughly, as undercooked lentils may contain higher levels of histamine.

I personally will ask most of my clients to include small portions of lentils/ pulses once a day atleast. Extra efforts would be suggested to wash, soak and cook the lentils properly before consuming.

Quercetin Rich Vegetables To Include in Your Diet.

Quercetin is a plant- chemical that has been shown to have antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.

quercetin rich foods

Consuming quercetin rich vegetables on a low- histamine diet can be helpful in reducing symptoms such as headaches, hives, and digestive issues. Quercetin works by blocking the action of mast cells and basophils from releasing histamines in response to an immune attack.

Some of the vegetables that contain the highest amounts of quercetin include:

  1. Kale: A nutrient-dense vegetable that is packed with many antioxidants, including quercetin.
  2. Broccoli: Another cruciferous vegetable that is rich in quercetin, as well as other compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. Red onions: Also a good source of quercetin, and they have been shown to have antimicrobial properties that can help to reduce inflammation in the gut.

Aim to include a serving of each, or, atleast two of the above per day to your diet.

Pros and Cons Of a Low-Histamine Diet.

A low-histamine diet has become a popular trend in recent years, especially among people with histamine intolerance. However, like any diet, there are both pros and cons to consider before deciding to follow it.

Pros

  1. Symptom relief: For people with histamine intolerance, a low-histamine diet can lead to a significant reduction in symptoms such as headaches, hives, and digestive issues.
  2. Increased awareness of food choices: Following a low-histamine diet requires paying close attention to food labels and being mindful of food choices. This can lead to a greater awareness of the quality and types of foods consumed.
  3. Potential weight loss: Many high-histamine foods are also high in calories, so following a low-histamine diet may lead to weight loss for some individuals.

Cons

  1. Nutrient deficiencies: Following a low-histamine diet can limit the variety of foods consumed, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies. Supplementing with pills instead of eating real food can only make matters worse.
  2. Limited food choices: A low-histamine diet can be restrictive and limiting, making it challenging to dine out or socialize with others.
  3. Lack of evidence: While some people report symptom relief from following a low-histamine diet, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support its effectiveness in managing histamine intolerance or other health conditions.

Low Histamine Indian Recipes.

While it is absolutely essential to work with an experienced practitioner while attempting to follow a low- histamine protocol, here are some recipes that you can get started with.

Please note, even though some foods are low in histamine, they could continue to cause symptoms for some people. Thus, each nutrition plan has to be tailor- made for specific individual needs and symptoms. If the below recipes cause symptoms for you, make sure to reach out to us for a customised meal plan to help your body heal.

That being said, here are some delicious recipes:

low histamine indian recipes
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Comments

Prerna Chhabra - September 28, 2023

Hey there, I am suffering from PMS related symptoms.. Increased frequency of stools, bodyaches, headache, face pimples and increased dark circles… All those indicating towards histamine-estrogen dominance. So want to know the foods that could be consumed/avoided for that and for what duration

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About Roshni Sanghvi

Roshni Sanghvi is an Indian plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist. She is the first Indian to represent on a national bodybuilding stage being on a 100% plant-based diet. Roshni is a holistic nutritionist, graduated from the prestigious NutraPhoria college of nutrition in Canada.

She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified PlantFed gut coach, certified Bodyshred, and Animal flow instructor with a specialisation in disease reversal through food and lifestyle modification.

Her approach is more focused on helping you in adopting a healthy lifestyle. With her result-oriented holistic methods, she has managed to transform and reverse lifestyle diseases such as PCOS, Thyroid, Diabetes etc for 12k+ clients worldwide.