Words by Charlotte Lindsay
Are you prone to histamine intolerance? This compound is an all-too-often overlooked factor in irritation caused by diet. In this guide, we explain what histamine is, symptoms of histamine intolerance, and some delicious recipes for you to try if you are looking to limit your histamine intake. What are you waiting for? Let's dive in!
WHAT IS HISTAMINE?
Histamine is a chemical compound which is found in some of our body's cells. It is also released by our immune system and is involved in our body's inflammatory response system, not forgetting to mention, in certain foods (but more on these later).
WHAT IS HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE?
Histamine intolerances may vary across different individuals. Key symptoms to keep an eye out for are: nausea, runny nose, headache, hives, skin irritation, eczema, stomach cramps, anxiety, and the list goes on. None particularly pleasant.
As many of these symptoms could be considered “mild”, they may not bother you too much. However, it is not uncommon to randomly have an especially bad reaction. It is important to note that you can easily prevent these effects and reactions by simply altering your diet, perhaps even taking some supplements and natural antihistamines!
WHAT FOODS ARE HIGH IN HISTAMINE?
Histamine is present in many foods, unfortunately. And to make matters more complicated, some foods can provoke the release of histamine in other foods. If you’re afflicted by these histamine symptoms, here are key foods and liquids to avoid if you are wanting to limit your histamine intake:
- Aged Cheese
- Wheat products
- Pickled or fermented foods (i.e sourkraut)
- Bean and pulses (i.e chickpeas)
- Peanuts and walnuts
- Cured or smoked meats/fish
- Dried fruits
- Fizzy/sugary drinks
Before despairing at the thought of cooking without these ingredients, there are so many wonderful (histamine limited) dishes you can prepare with a little preplanning. To avoid or to reduce your histamine levels and prevent nasty side effects, try to create and enjoy recipes that work best for you and your body. Remember, we are all different and will react differently to certain foods. Here are a few recipe ideas to get you started.
3 DELICIOUS LOW HISTAMINE RECIPES
Fear not, low histamine diets can initially feel rather overwhelming as it feels like there are many red ‘X’s’ next to many ingredients, however, once you figure out your favourite low histamine ingredients, you can create many delicious recipes that will hit the spot!
I have put together 3 delicious and nutritious recipes that are low histamine but are vibrant and full of flavour!
Spiralised Chicken Salad
2 chicken breasts 1 courgette
1 sweet potato
Tender stem broccoli
3 celery stalks
1 large handful of cashews
Prepare your courgette and sweet potato by spiralising them, once done, place them in a bowl.
Carefully dice your celery and add to the bowl, alongside your lamb’s lettuce.
Heat a large pan with a drizzle of olive oil and place your chicken breasts alongside your broccoli to cook. Remove from the heat once the chicken is no longer pink inside (keep checking)
Toss your spiralised salad together and serve.
Place a chicken breast on top of each plate, add a sprinkle of cashews, a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, lastly, garnishing with fresh coriander.
Baked Cod Over Courgette Ribbons
2 cod fillets
Handful of radishes
Pre-heat your oven to 180c and prepare a baking tray with baking paper.
Place your carrots, asparagus, and cod on the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven until the cod is cooked through and veg is baked for roughly 15-20 minutes.
Whilst your ingredients are baking, use a peeler to create your courgette ribbons.
Slice your radishes and place them on your plates alongside the lamb's lettuce and courgette ribbons.
Once your cod and veg are baked, place them on top of your courgette ribbons and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley.
Cauliflower Hummus & Fruity Quinoa
1 large cauliflower head
½ garlic bulb cloves
3 tbsp tahini
Olive oil (to your preference)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp fennel seeds
Salt Pepper Beetroot Parsley
2 cups quinoa
1 bag rocket leaves
Preheat your oven to 180c, and line a tray with baking paper.
Roughly chop up your cauliflower, place on the tray, add your garlic cloves, drizzle with olive oil, lastly add a pinch of salt and pepper, and bake until cooked, roughly 20-25 minutes.
Whilst the cauliflower is baking, bring 4 cups of water to boil in a small pan. Once boiling, add 2 cups of quinoa and reduce to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Once the Quinoa is cooked, let it cool and toss in a serving bowl with olive oil and rocket.
Finely slice your figs and grapes and add them to the salad bowl.
Now, time to prepare the ‘hummus’. Once cooked, remove the cauliflower from the oven and allow it to cool.
Pop your garlic gloves out of the skin and add a food processor with your cauliflower, tahini, fennel seeds, olive oil, ACV, salt, and pepper.
Blitz together until you achieve a smooth and creamy consistency.
Add to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with slices of beetroot and fresh parsley.
So whether you are craving a crisp chicken and cashew dish, a smooth cod and courgette plate or a fresh and fruity Lebanese style dinner, we have you covered! My top tip for making life with low histamine easier is…simply write down your favourite low histamine foods (also make a note of any foods you react badly too) and use them in rotation to create innovative and enticing dishes, let the fun begin!