How to do the low-histamine diet

There are a few guidelines for as little pain as possible when going low-histamine. Histamine levels in foods vary depending on how ripe or aged the food is, so buying and eating fresh is best.

You’ll find your own limits with histamine-containing foods, so experiment.

More information on histamine

How to do the elimination diet

The low-histamine diet is largely an elimination diet that can go from four weeks to six months, where you determine what foods you tolerate and which you don’t to eliminate symptoms.

If you want histamine-degrading supplement support, see the low-histamine experiment.

Eating a full range of nutrients is important, so keep track of what you’re skipping out on and replace your nutrients with other foods. Use an app like Cronometer to track your nutrient levels.

If you’re not sure what you’re doing, book in with one of our expert naturopaths who can guide you through.

Phase 1
First 2-4 weeks

Follow a strict low-histamine diet to reduce symptoms.

Phase 2
From 2-4 weeks onwards

Reintroduce one histamine-containing food at a time to determine histamine tolerance and symptoms. Keep a spreadsheet or list where you record the dose of food and any reaction.

Phase 3
Ongoing

Eat tolerable foods and ensure nutritional needs are met while working on the underlying causes of your histamine overload. If you are still on a low-histamine diet after six weeks, get practitioner support. This is NOT a sustainable or long-term diet; it’s a symptom-reducing strategy as you work out what the underlying drivers of high histamine are.

Tips for eating low-histamine

  • Avoid food from a can
  • Avoid ready-made meals/frozen meals
  • Avoid ripened or fermented foods such as aged cheese, drinks with alcohol, products that have yeast, old fish
  • Avoid leaving food outside the fridge for long, particularly meat
  • Keep food preparation areas clean
  • If you don’t know how to cook, you’ll soon need to learn!
  • If you get stuck, see a professional nutritionist or naturopath

Searchable Histamine Foods List

Type of foodFoodHistamine Content
Colour, additive, preservativeAdditives – Benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, food dyesReleasing
DrinkAlcoholVaries
SpiceAllspiceHigh
Flour, NutAlmond – Blanched Almond FlourLow
Flour, NutAlmond – Blanched and unblanchedLow
SpreadAlmond butterLow
GrainAmaranthLow
SpiceAniseHigh
MedicationAntibioticsDAO interference
MedicationAntidepressantsDAO interference
MedicationAntipsychoticsDAO interference
Fruit/VegApple – FreshLow, Beneficial
VinegarApple cider vinegar (ACV)High, Releasing
Fruit/VegApricot – Fresh (if dried, avoid preservatives)Low
Fruit/VegArtichokesLow
Colour, additive, preservativeArtificial colors/coloursHigh
Colour, additive, preservativeArtificial colourings (esp. tartrazine – medication, supplements)High
Colour, additive, preservativeArtificial flavors/flavoursHigh
Colour, additive, preservativeArtificial SweetenersHigh
Fruit/VegArugula/RocketLow
Fruit/VegAsparagusLow
Fruit/VegAvocadoHigh
Oil/FatAvocado Oil – Cold PressedLow
BakingBaking mixesHigh
BakingBaking powderLow
BakingBaking powder – Gluten-freeLow
BakingBaking sodaLow
Fruit/VegBanana – Fresh (use minimally)High, Releasing
Herb/SpiceBasilLow
Fruit/VegBeans – Green Beans, String BeansHigh
LegumeBeans – kidney, black, navy, garbanzo/chickpea, soyHigh
DrinkBeerHigh
Fruit/VegBeetsLow
Fruit/VegBell Peppers/CapsicumLow
Colour, additive, preservativeBenzoatesHigh
Colour, additive, preservativeBHA, BHTHigh
Colour, additive, preservativeBiogenic aminesDAO inhibitor
Fruit/VegBlackberries – FreshLow
Fruit/VegBlueberries – FreshLow
Fruit/VegBok choyLow
NutsBrazil Nuts (limit to 3-4 nuts p/d max)Low
GrainBread – SourdoughHigh
Fruit/VegBroccoliLow
Fruit/VegBroccoliniLow
Fruit/VegBrussels sproutsLow
GrainBuckwheatLow
Oil/FatButterLow
Fruit/VegCabbage – ChineseLow
Fruit/VegCabbage – GreenLow
Fruit/VegCabbage – RedLow
Fruit/VegCabbage – WhiteLow
Colour, additive, preservativeCalcium ChlorideHigh
SweetsCandy, confectionary, sweets, lolliesHigh
Fruit/VegCantaloupe/Rockmelon – FreshLow
SpiceCarawayLow
SpiceCardamomLow
SweetsCarobHigh
Colour, additive, preservativeCarrageenanHigh
Fruit/VegCarrotsLow
NutsCashewsHigh
GrainCassava flourLow
Fruit/VegCauliflowerLow
SpiceCayenneHigh
Fruit/VegCeleryLow
Fruit/VegCeps, morels, agaricusHigh
DairyCheeseVaries
DairyCheese – cream cheese, mozzarella, curd cheese, cottage cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, goat cream cheese, young Gouda, Butterkäse, SchichtkäseLow
DairyCheese – Cream cheese, ricotta cheese (grass fed)Low
DairyCheese – Matured, hard, semi-hard, soft, processed, blue , mold/mould, fondue, aged GoudaHigh
Fruit/VegCherry – FreshLow
NutsChestnutsLow
SeedChia SeedsLow
SpiceChili PowderHigh
Fruit/VegChilliLow
Fruit/VegChivesLow
SweetsChocolateHigh
SweetsChocolate – White chocolate (no additives)Low
AlcoholCider – Apple, PearHigh
Fruit/VegCilantroLow
SpiceCinnamonHigh
BakingCitric AcidHigh
DrinkClear spiritsLow
SpiceClovesHigh
BakingCocoa and cocoa massHigh
BakingCocoa butterLow
BakingCoconut – Dried CoconutHigh
Fruit/VegCoconut – Meat/Flesh, FreshLow
SweetsCoconut – SugarLow
DrinkCoconut Milk (100%, no additives)Low
Oil/FatCoconut oilLow
Oil/FatCoconut Oil – Extra VirginLow
DrinkCoffeeHigh, Releasing
DrinkCoffee – decaffeinatedLow
DrinkCoffee – low histamine, mould/mold-free brandsLow
DrinkCoffee – Purity CoffeeLow
Fruit/VegCollardsLow
Fruit/VegCornHigh
GrainCorn – starchLow
BakingCorn – syrupHigh
Fruit/VegCranberry – fresh and dried (avoid preservatives)Low
BakingCream of tartarLow
Fruit/VegCucumberLow
SpiceCuminLow
Fruit/VegCurrant – fresh and dried (avoid preservatives)Low
SpiceCurry powderHigh
DairyDairy – ButterLow
DairyDairy – ButtermilkHigh
DairyDairy – CreamHigh
DairyDairy – Cream (grass fed)Low
DairyDairy – fresh raw milk directly from cow, UHT-milk, pasteurized/pasteurised milkHigh
DairyDairy – sour milk products, acidified buttermilk, sour cream, crème fraîche, feta/feta cheeseHigh
DairyDairy – Whey (incl. protein powders)Low
DairyDairy – Yogurt (Low Histamine Yoghurt)Low
Fruit/VegDandelion greensLow
Fruit/VegDatesHigh
Herb/SpiceDillLow
MedicationDiureticsDAO interference
DressingDressing (packaged)High
DrinkDrinks – All drinks with “flavour” or “spices”High
SweetsDry dessert mixesHigh
AnimalEggLow
Fruit/VegEggplantHigh
Fruit/VegEndiveLow
DrinkEnergy drinksHigh, Releasing
Fruit/VegEscaroleLow
Fruit/VegFennelLow
Fruit/VegFigs (avoid preservatives)Low
SeafoodFishVaries
SeafoodFish – canned tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, mahi mahiHigh
SeafoodFish – canned, frozen, marinated, salted, dried, smoked, pickledHigh
SeafoodFish – fresh or frozen from market, fish shopHigh
SeafoodFish – snap frozen (thaw quickly and use immediately!) – pollock, cod, trout, whitefish, perch, organic pangasiusLow
SeafoodFish – very fresh, freshly caught (fisherman, fish farm, angler)Low
SeafoodFish saucesHigh
SeafoodFish stockHigh
BakingFlavour enhancers/Flavour enhancers – glutamate, sodium glutamate, bouillon, broth, soy sauce, hot spicesHigh
SeedFlaxLow
SeedFlax mealLow
Oil/FatFlaxseed Oil – Cold PressedLow
GrainFlour – Bleached white wheat flourHigh
Oil/FatFresh meat drippingsLow
Fruit/VegFruit – citrus (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, pomelo)High, Releasing
Fruit/VegFruit – Dried fruitHigh
Fruit/VegFruit – overripe or rottenHigh, Releasing
Fruit/VegGarlic – Fresh or PowderedLow
MedicationGastrointestinal medicationsDAO interference
BakingGelatinHigh
Oil/FatGheeLow
Ferments/PicklesGherkin picklesHigh
Herb/SpiceGingerLow
Colour, additive, preservativeGlutenLow
GrainGluten Free – bread, oats, pasta, grains with allowed ingredients only (1/2 cup p/d maximum)Low
GrainGrains – Gluten free (limited)Low
Fruit/VegGrapefruitReleasing
Fruit/VegGrapes – Red, Green (without mould)Low
SaucesGravy – HomemadeLow
SaucesGravy – PacketHigh
BakingGuar GumHigh
Flour, NutHazelnut FlourLow
NutsHazelnutsLow
MedicationHeart medicationsDAO interference
Flour, SeedHemp Protein PowderLow
SeedHemp SeedsLow
SweetsHomemade desserts with allowed ingredientsLow
SaucesHomemade relishes with allowed ingredientsLow
DressingHomemade salad dressings with allowed ingredientsLow
SweetsHomemade with allowed ingredientsLow
SweetsHoney (limit sugars)Low
Fruit/VegHoneydew MelonLow
BakingInulinLow
SpreadJam – Fruit (limit)Low
Fruit/VegJuice – freshly squeezed from allowed fruits (limit)Low
Fruit/VegKaleLow
SaucesKetchup – tomatoHigh
Ferments/PicklesKimchi/KimcheeHigh
Fruit/VegKiwiReleasing
Fruit/VegKohlrabiLow
Ferments/PicklesKombuchaHigh
Fruit/VegLeafy greensLow
BakingLecithin – hydrolysed/hydrolyzedHigh
Fruit/VegLeeksLow
MiscLeftovers – not frozen immediately after cookingHigh
MiscLeftovers – frozen right after cookingLow
LegumesLegumes – cannedHigh, Releasing
Fruit/VegLemonLow
Herb/SpiceLemongrassLow
LegumeLentilsHigh
Fruit/VegLettuce – ButterLow
Fruit/VegLimeLow, Releasing
Fruit/VegLoganberryHigh, Releasing
Fruit/VegLycheeLow
SpreadMacadamia butterLow
Oil/FatMacadamia OilLow
NutsMacadamiasLow
Herb/SpiceMaceHigh
MedicationMalaria and TB drugsDAO interference
Colour, additive, preservativeMalic AcidHigh
BakingMaltHigh
BakingMaltodextrinHigh
Fruit/VegMangoLow
SweetsMaple Syrup (limit sugars)Low
Oil/FatMargarineHigh
Oil/FatMCT OilLow
MiscMeals from restaurants, canteens, snack bars, etc.High
MeatMeat – aged, bone matured, dry aged, beef or bisonHigh
MeatMeat – Beef, poultry, sheep/lamb, pork, wild boar, freshly cooked, unagedLow
MeatMeat – Cold cutsHigh
MeatMeat – CollagenHigh
MeatMeat – cured (ham, bacon, salami, pepperoni, luncheon meat, hot dogs)High
MeatMeat – fermented (sausages, salami, fermented ham)High
MeatMeat – leftoversHigh
MeatMeat – meatloafHigh
MeatMeat – minced or groundHigh
MeatMeat – Offal, innards (especially liver)High
MeatMeat – Ostrich, FreshLow
MeatMeat – Pork, FreshLow
MeatMeat – Poultry, Fresh (Chicken, Goose, Duck, Turkey, Quail, Pheasant etc) bought and cooked freshLow
MeatMeat – Pre-cooked sausagesHigh
MeatMeat – Pre Packaged mince meatHigh
MeatMeat – Quail, FreshLow
MeatMeat – Rabbit, FreshLow
MeatMeat – sausages, liverwurstHigh
MeatMeat – Venison, game (ripening of meat)High
Fruit/VegMesclunLow
DairyMilk – FlavouredHigh
DairyMilk – fresh raw milk directly from cow, UHT-milk, pasteurized/pasteurised milkHigh
DairyMilk – Plain A2 milk, reintroduce after 2 weeksLow
DairyMilk kefirHigh
GrainMilletLow
Fruit/VegMintLow
GrainMiracle Noodles, Miracle RiceLow
SaucesMiso Commercial ketchupHigh
Fruit/VegMizunaLow
SweetsMolasses (limit sugars)Low
Fruit/VegMonk fruit (100%, no fillers)Low
Colour, additive, preservativeMSGHigh
MedicationMuscle relaxersDAO interference
Fruit/VegMushroomsHigh
SpiceMustardHigh
Fruit/VegMustard greensLow
Fruit/VegNapa cabbageLow
Fruit/VegNectarineLow
Fruit/VegNopales cactusLow
SpreadNutellaHigh
SpiceNutmegHigh
NutsNuts – Long-stored nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios)High
NutsNuts (eliminate all nuts for first 2 weeks)Varies
Milk/DrinkOat milkHigh
GrainOatsLow
Oil/FatOil – Fats and oils with color and/or preservativesHigh
Oil/FatOil – pure, no preservativesLow
Oil/FatOlive Oil – Extra VirginHigh
Ferments/PicklesOlivesHigh
Fruit/VegOnionsLow
Fruit/VegOrangeReleasing
Herb/SpiceOreganoLow
MedicationPain medications (Aspirin, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac)DAO interference
Oil/FatPalm Oil – Extra virgin unprocessedLow
Fruit/VegPapayaHigh, Releasing
SpicePaprika/cayenneHigh
Herb/SpiceParsley – curly or flatLow
GrainPasta and crackers – Gluten-freeLow
GrainPastry – Packaged, store boughtHigh
Fruit/VegPawpawHigh
Fruit/VegPeach (limit)Low
SpreadPeanut butterHigh
NutsPeanutsHigh
Fruit/VegPearLow
Fruit/VegPeasHigh
NutsPecansLow
Herb/SpicePeppercorns – PinkLow
Herb/SpicePeppercorns – Black, Green, WhiteHigh
Herb/SpicePeppermintLow
Fruit/VegPerillaLow
Fruit/VegPersimmonLow
NutsPine NutsLow
Fruit/VegPineappleHigh, Releasing
NutsPistachiosLow
Fruit/VegPlantainLow
Fruit/VegPlumsHigh, Releasing
Fruit/VegPomegranateLow
Colour, additive, preservativePotassium SorbateHigh
Colour, additive, preservativePotassium TriphosphateHigh
Fruit/VegPotato – SweetLow
Fruit/VegPotatoesLow
SweetsPrepackaged – cake decorationsHigh
SweetsPrepackaged – dessert fillingsHigh
SweetsPrepackaged – icings/frostingsHigh
Fruit/VegPrepackaged – olivesHigh
DairyPrepackaged dairy products made with restricted ingredientsHigh
Colour, additive, preservativePreservativesHigh
Fruit/VegPrunesHigh
Fruit/VegPumpkinHigh
SeedPumpkin SeedsLow
Fruit/VegPurslaneLow
GrainQuinoaLow
Fruit/VegRadish – Daikon radishesLow
Fruit/VegRaisinsHigh
Fruit/VegRaspberries (1/4 cup, not during elimination)Low
MiscReady mealsHigh
SaucesRelish – PackagedHigh
MiscResistant Starches to feed good gut bacteria (Avoid with SIBO)Low
Fruit/VegRhubarbLow
GrainRice – Black RiceLow
GrainRice – Brown RiceLow
GrainRice – White RiceLow
MiscRice and Pasta Meals – PackagedHigh
Milk/DrinkRice milkHigh
VinegarRice vinegarHigh, Releasing
Fruit/VegRomaineLow
Herb/SpiceRosemaryLow
Fruit/VegRutabagaLow
Herb/SpiceSaffronLow
Herb/SpiceSageLow
Herb/SpiceSaltLow
Ferments/PicklesSauerkrautHigh
Fruit/VegScallionsLow
SeafoodSeafood and shellfish – fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mussels, crayfish, shrimps, prawns, lobsterHigh
Meat SubstituteSeitan meat substituteHigh
Oil/FatSesame oilLow
SeedSesame SeedsLow
Colour, additive, preservativeSmoke FlavouringHigh
DrinkSoda – carbonated drinks or waterHigh
Colour, additive, preservativeSodium BenzoateHigh
Colour, additive, preservativeSodium NitriteHigh
Colour, additive, preservativeSodium TriphosphateHigh
GrainSorghum – Black, popped or whiteLow
LegumeSoy Foods – tempeh, miso, soy sauce, nattoHigh
DrinkSoy Milk and DrinksHigh
SaucesSoy sauceHigh
SaucesSoy sauce, coconut aminos, Bragg’s liquid aminosHigh
SpiceSpice – Dried, ‘unknown’, seasoning packetsHigh
Herb/SpicesSpices – Hot spices (pepper, chili, curry, etc.)Increases histamine uptake
Fruit/VegSpinachHigh
SpreadSpreads with restricted ingredientsHigh
Fruit/VegSquash – Butternut squash, summer, winterLow
Fruit/VegStarch – Sweet Potato Starch and Sweet Potato Starch NoodlesLow
SweetenerSteviaLow
Fruit/VegStrawberriesHigh
SweetsSugarLow
SeedSunflowerLow
Fruit/VegSwiss ChardLow
SyrupSyrupHigh
DrinkTea – black, green, white, mate, rooibosHigh
DrinkTea – hot water, freshly sliced gingerLow, Antihistamine
Colour, additive, preservativeTheobromineDAO inhibitor
MedicationTheophyllineDAO interference
GrainTiger Nut flourLow
Fruit/VegTomato and all tomato productsHigh
SpiceTurmericLow
Fruit/VegTurnips – Greens or RootsLow
SpreadVegemite or MarmiteUnknown
Ferments/PicklesVegetables – Pickled vegetables, picklesHigh
VinegarVinegar – Wine, Balsamic, White, ChampagneHigh, Releasing
VitaminVitamin CLow, Antihistamine
AlcoholVoda, gin, white rumLow
Oil/FatWalnut oilHigh
NutsWalnutsHigh
DrinkWaterLow
DrinkWater – carbonated, fizzyHigh
Fruit/VegWatercressLow
Fruit/VegWatermelonLow
GrainWheat germHigh, Releasing
AlcoholWine – Low histamine wineLow
AlcoholWine – Red, White, DessertHigh
BakingXanthan GumHigh
BakingYeastHigh
BakingYeast extractDAO inhibitor
DairyYoghurtHigh

Lower histamine foods

  • Meat – cooled, fresh or frozen
  • Fish – fresh or frozen (hake, trout)
  • Chicken – cooled, frozen, fresh
  • Eggs (whole eggs, avoid egg white alone)
  • Fresh fruit – except plantains
  • Fresh vegetables – except tomato, eggplant, spinach
  • Grains (including rice noodles, white bread, rye bread, rice crackers, oat, pasta)
  • Animal milk and milk products – fresh, pasteurised, cow, goat, sheep, cream cheese, mozzarella, butter, yoghurt (except some bacteria used)
  • Most cooking oil
  • Most leafy herbs
  • Most fruit juice – except citrus
  • Herbal tea – except below

Higher histamine foods

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Eggplant
  • Pickled food
  • Canned food
  • Aged cheese
  • Smoked meat (salami, ham)
  • Shellfish
  • Legumes – beans, chickpeas, soy flour
  • Nuts that are stored for long periods – peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachio
  • Cocoa products – chocolate
  • Mock meat products made from wheat gluten (seitan)
  • Rice vinegar
  • Ready meals
  • Salted snack foods
  • Sweets with preservatives and artificial colours

Histamine-releasing foods

A histamine-releasing food is a food that liberates histamine rather than simply containing histamine. Foods can be both.

  • Citrus fruits – lemon, lime, oranges
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Cocoa and chocolate
  • Eggs (may be tolerated by some)
  • Walnuts, peanuts
  • Papaya, pineapples, plums, kiwifruit, banana
  • Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans)
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat germ
  • Most vinegar
  • Additives – benzoate, sulphites, nitrites, glutamate, food dye

Diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme blockers

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Black tea
  • Energy drinks
  • Mate tea

Understanding yeast and histamine

Yeast doesn’t contain histamine but acts as a trigger for variable levels of histamine generation during the leavening of baked products. There is no yeast in the end product.

Yeast extract has been reported to be high in amines and is a DAO inhibitor, so is not suitable on a low-histamine diet.

References

Maintz L, Novak N: Histamine and histamine intolerance, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007

Jarisch, R. “Histaminunverträglichkeit”, Thieme Verlag, 2nd Edition



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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
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