Tree Nuts and Histamine
Posted on February 12 2024
Histamine plays a major role in your health
In simple terms, when your immune system feels threatened by a potential invader it creates Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. These antibodies travel throughout your body telling other immune cells about the intruder. Mast cells and basophils become sensitized and when they come in contact with the intruder they release histamine in an effort to destroy it.
This process is necessary for protecting the body but not so great when the intruder is actually just a harmless substance. There are various IgE's for each type of allergen. This is why some people are allergic to cat dander, while others are allergic to pollen. This is when histamine can become a problem.
Approximately 1% of people have an intolerance to histamine. Some say this number is actually much higher. This intolerance is believed to be due to a lack of an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO). A lack of DAO prevents the body from breaking down histamine and expelling it from the body. Too much histamine and you may experience gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, headaches, hives, nasal congestion, itchiness, abdominal cramping, and other symptoms. If you are one of the sufferers then avoiding histamine is likely high on your 'to do' list.
Some foods are naturally high in histamine and eating them can trigger an allergic reaction. Foods that are thought to be high in histamine or that may trigger histamine include:
- Fermented beverages and foods (sauerkraut, yogurt, and kombucha)
- Dried fruits
- Tomatoes, eggplant and spinach
- Processed or smoked meats
- Preserved fish and shellfish
- Blue cheese, cheddar, gouda cheese
- Wheat germ
- Tropical fruits
- Walnuts, cashews, and peanuts
- Food dyes and additives
What can I eat if I have histamine intolerance?
Focus on foods that are low in histamine and that do not block the production of diamine oxidase (DAO). These may include fresh meat and fish, fruits, eggs, gluten-free grains, dairy substitutes, most veggies, olive oils, and some tree nuts — most people with histamine intolerance can enjoy almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and pecans in moderation without triggering histamine sensitivity symptoms.
This article is just a guide and you should consult with your doctor to find out which foods are right for you. Histamine intolerance can be a serious issue and should be treated as such.