We continue talking about different potential triggers that may be contributing to your histamine-mediated troubles. Let's talk one of the obvious spots: Foods!
Have you ever researched “anti-inflammatory foods”?
Here’s what you’ll likely find:
These foods have been extensively researched for the compounds they contain as well as the benefits they provide for various health conditions.
How many of these foods are triggers for you?
Are anti-inflammatory foods, anti-inflammatory for everyone?
Take a look at that list shared above. Let's go over potential triggers or compounds in those foods most prominently featured in conversations where there is talk of anti-inflammatory foods, or ways to reduce inflammation using whole foods. Let's explore how they may impact you if you struggle with histamine clearance.
1. Histamine: Tomatoes, spinach, strawberries, avocado, chocolate, peppers, fish, and mushrooms are all high in histamine. Fermented foods and bone broths are always touted as being such brilliant help to helping mend a leaky gut. But did you know they're also quite high in histamine?
2. Lectins: Tomatoes and peppers are high in lectins.
3. Salicylates: Cherries, berries, turmeric, grapes, peppers, and olive oil are high in salicylates.
4. Oxalates: Berries, chocolate, tomatoes, and turmeric all contain high amounts of these compounds.
5. FODMAPs: Avocado, broccoli, grapes, cherries, and mushrooms are all high FODMAP foods. FODMAPs = fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols. This is all code for short chain carbohydrates.
6. Mold: Have you read our post on Terrible Toxins? If you struggle with mold as a trigger to your symptoms, you will want to avoid foods with mold potential. Chocolate, tea, and grapes are some of the anti-inflammatory foods that might contain mold.
Add to this list foods you personally react to
What about food sensitivities? Maven Tracey reacts to turmeric. It took her a long time to figure out that the curcumin supplements she was taking were triggering nausea. Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric.
Maven Luka went gluten free many years ago, only to figure out that she reacted to rice and potatoes. These two foods are often used in gluten free baked good alternatives like bread. While going gluten free initially reduced Luka's symptoms, the steady consumption of potato and rice in its stead actually increased her chronic knee pain, reducing her mobility. It wasn't until she also started taking those two foods out (purportedly both on low histamine food lists) that her ability to tackle stairs became less daunting.
The inevitable question now becomes...
Shouldn’t I Eat Them Anyway for Their Benefits?
Anti-inflammatory foods can be making things worse if the compounds in them trigger symptoms for you.
If these foods are triggering mast cell activation, they won’t be anti-inflammatory for you. The release of inflammatory chemical mediators from mast cells means that the foods that are anti-inflammatory for most people can be inflammatory for you.
It’s important to recognize the different foods and compounds that can be triggering your symptoms. Your food triggers can look very different from someone else’s – they will be unique to you.
How Are They Contributing To My Symptoms?
Most of these food compounds can either bind to various receptors on mast cells or hinder chemical processes that inhibit mast cell degranulation. Either situation means mast cells are activated.
FODMAPs feed bacteria in the small intestine and will contribute to bloating if small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is present. While FODMAPs don’t directly impact mast cells, MCAS and SIBO may aggravate each other, so a short-term reduction in FODMAPs may help with GI symptoms while SIBO is treated. It is important to get testing and treatment if you suspect SIBO.
But Here’s The Catch!
Going very low in any of these compounds can rob you of important nutrients. Taking the foods that offend out for a short time can be helpful, but long term has the potential of further compounding things due to nutrient deficiencies.
It’s important to work with a practitioner to address WHY certain foods or food compounds are problematic. This can include pointed nutrition to address those deficiencies, and including those foods that will help repair what's at the root of your troubles.
👉 Is it a gut microbiome problem?
👉 Is digestive function poor?
👉 Do you have leaky gut?
For example, going very low salicylate isn’t going to fix the fact that you aren’t breaking these compounds down. What can you do both short and long term to support their break down?
We’ve Made It Simple
At Histamine Haven, our Shopping List is low histamine and low lectin. We use food preparation methods to remove mold when applicable. Our recipes have variations for low salicylate, low oxalate or if you are on an autoimmune protocol. We’ve tried to make it easy for you. Our recipes already have customized versions, so you don’t have to figure that out on your own.
Use our list while you figure out why some foods are a problem for you.
Need a handy reference list with replacement ideas for these food compounds? Check out our Replacement List in our Online Community.
Potential Next Steps
1. Talk to your naturopathic or functional doctor about testing. Serum histamine testing, organic acids testing (for oxalates), SIBO testing, and food sensitivity testing are some of the tests available to help you navigate which foods or food compounds are problematic for you.
2. Need help in figuring out what is an Anti-Inflammatory way of eating while also keeping histamine issues in mind? Consider taking our self-directed 4 week program called Food Foundations. It's the strong foundation we recommend as the first step in making your kitchen your safe haven, especially when it comes to Histamines. Full information here.
3. And join our Online Community! We are building that safe haven where you can connect with others who have similar struggles. You do not have to go it alone. We cover the cost on this one. Come join the conversation here!