Histamine Watchlist

Along with salicylates, histamine is an omnipresent chemical naturally found in food. It’s impossible to completely avoid it nor is that our goal. Sometimes, foods high in histamine can be healthy and desirable.

Our aim is to minimize histamine consumption from everyday food, while giving in quota for healthy choices which also happen to be high in histamine. 

The art lies in balance and choice.

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High-histamine Load Low-histamine Substitutes
Meat, poultry, fish
  • Seafood (unless freshly caught and cooked within 30 mins)
  • Eggs
  • Processed, smoked, fermented meats (e.g. sausage, salami)
  • Fresh meat
  • Egg yolk
  • (All fermented products)
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Kefir
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Butter
  • Coconut milk
  • Rice milk
  • Orange
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Cherries
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Apricots
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapple
  • Cranberries
  • Prunes
  • Loganberries
  • Dates, Raisins, Currants (fresh or dried)
  • Fresh fruits
  • Most non-citric fruit juices
  • Apple, pear
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Mango, melon, watermelon
  • Tomatoes, tomato sauces, ketchup
  • Soy and soy products
  • Spinach, Red beans, Eggplant
  • Olives in vinegar or brine, Pumpkin, Avocados
  • Pickles, relishes and other foods containing vinegar
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Anise
  • Nutmeg
  • Curry powder, Chilli powder
  • Vinegar
  • Most cooking oils
  • Most leafy herbs
  • Others not listed opposite
  • Fermented soy products (such as soy sauce, miso)
  • Fermented foods (such as sauerkraut)
  • Tea (regular or green)
  • Chocolate, cocoa, and cola drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • ‘De-alcoholized ’ beverages (e.g. beer, ale, wine, etc.)
  • Pure, unbleached grains
  • Fresh-baked goods
  • Plain rice
  • Plain pasta
  • Baking powder, soda
  • Gelatine
  • Yeast and yeast extract


General pointers to high-histamine load:

  • Extent of ageing, fermentation in food processing (e.g. soy sauce, alcohol)
  • Degree of microbial activity in food (e.g. stored meats)
  • Degree of ripeness of fruit
  • Picking, brine-curing processing
  • Folic acid increases histamine levels
  • Medications that interfere with DAO activity
  • Constipation means food fermentation in the gut
  • Mental and physical stress

General pointers to improve histamine levels:

  • Avoid bacteria that promote histamine formation: Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Opt for histamine-degrading bacteria (probiotics): Bifidobacterium strains, Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, or soil-based probiotics
  • Supplement specific nutrients for histamine breakdown: quercetin, vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, and copper
  • Avoid alcohol and stimulants that block DAO activity

Note: Like the food chemical salicylates food guide, this list is also one part of the entire equation in reversing eczema through dietary means. An effective eczema recovery program must include both dietary and non-dietary aspects.

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