Most of us have used the over the counter drug, antihistamine, to combat allergies, however, many people are unaware of the broad impact histamine has on the body: good and bad.
What are Histamines?
Basically, they are chemicals the body produces in order to rid the body of an irritant. Unfortunately, while the histamine is doing its job, our bodies tend to show symptoms, for example, sneezing, tears, headaches or itching ( anywhere). This occurs because histamine causes your blood vessels to swell which aids in white blood cells getting to the source quickly. This is all part of the normal immune response yet if someone is unable to clear or remove the histamine build up in their body, we see more problems.
Histamine build-up can be due to a few causes:
Allergies (IgE reactions)
Bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
Fermented alcohol like wine, champagne, and beer
Diamine Oxidase (DAO) deficiency
Overindulgence in histamine-rich foods ( see below)
• Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, etc
• Vinegar-containing foods: pickles, mayonnaise, olives
• Cured meats: bacon, salami, pepperoni, luncheon meats and hot dogs
• Soured foods: sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, soured bread, etc
• Dried fruit: apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins
• Most citrus fruits
• Aged cheese including goat cheese
• Nuts: walnuts, cashews, and peanuts
• Vegetables: avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes
• Smoked fish and certain species of fish: mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna, anchovies, sardines
Alcohol, bananas, chocolate, cow’s milk, nuts, papaya, pineapple, shellfish, strawberries, tomatoes
If you are having chronic symptoms of sneezing, itchiness, redness on skin, digestive issues or even chronic headaches then it would be a great idea to speak with a naturopathic doctor or functional medical doctor. They can evaluate what might be causing the ( possible) histamine buildup and the best ways to move forward in treatment.