30 Percent Calorie Restriction Fights Stress

Alarm clock inside a plate regarding histamine and fasting

While it might seem like we’re off the histamine topic here, please remember that stress hormones trigger histamine release. That means that lowering stress is an important strategy in fighting histamine.

Many studies in the last few years have highlighted how stress hormones trigger mast cells (white blood cells found in the body) into releasing histamine. This is bad. If we’re already having trouble with histamine inflammation, the last thing we need is stress.

You can read about the CRF1-histamine link here.

Writing about stress and how to resolve it has become a mission in the last few years. It has become very apparent in my own case and it those of thousands of my readers, stress is the reason some of us fail to resolve inflammation.


Stress triggers histamine release

Stress causes mast cells to release inflammation when it’s not needed

Stress is linked to atrophy of the hippocampus

Stress is involved in age related cognitive decline and increased Alzheimer’s risk


A study published in the journal of Psychoneuroendicrinology, which is the study of how our mental state affects the brain and hormone system, had some interesting findings on fasting. Research on primates revealed that restricting calories by thirty percent reduced psychological stress reactivity.

They also found that calorie restriction:

Reduced stress without affecting activity or attention.

Prevented stress related loss in volume and tissue density in brain areas related to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s

The overall take away was that a thirty percent reduction in calories prevented cortisol mediated damage to the brain.

Take the stress out of meal planning and healing histamine with this four week meal planner and stress relieving program. 


I’ve written in the past about how complete fasting, the total absence of calories as in water fasting, can trigger stress hormone mediated histamine release. It’s simple: not eating a thing can be very stressful to the body and mind.

Numerous animal studies find that extreme calorie restriction triggers a stress hormone cascade that has a significant effect on mast cells and histamine. On the flip side we find that short term water fasting can interrupt the anaphylaxis process. I don’t however recommend trying this at home.

Without getting overly technical, here’s how water fasting triggers stress:

  • Our body and brain need fuel: interrupt that process and we become stressed
  • Wondering if we’re doing the right thing: fears of fainting, blood sugar
  • Boredom: being too weak to do much, coupled with having way too much time to do it in, can be stressful


There is a good chance that due to overly restrictive elimination diets many reading this post are already too low in calories and aren’t feeling the stress relief benefits. In this case I would suggest speaking with your doctor or a nutritionist about raising your calories and practicing some stress relief techniques. Stress is a huge part of the histamine puzzle, which is why I incorporate it into my daily routine. Thousands of readers are experiencing the incredible change themselves in my 28 day histamine reset. We cover daily stress relief, some light exercise to fight inflammation, and of course outline what a healthy anti-inflammatory diet looks like.

For the rest of us, safely restricting calories is best done by working with a nutritionist. Then we will be sure to have the right amount of micro and macro nutrients made available to the body without further causing deficiencies so commonly found in restrictive diets.

At least once a month I restrict my calories by about fifty percent for five days. Some months I practice standard calorie restriction of about thirty percent. But I make sure to have months were I have a higher calorie intake.

Restricting calories is tricky to get right. The goal is not to starve ourselves, but to lightly restrict intake for either a few days or longer, to enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits of calorie restriction and fasting mimicking.

  • ——— REFERENCES ——
  • Calorie restriction reduces psychological stress reactivity and its association with brain volume and microstructure in aged rhesus monkeys. (2011, November 25). Retrieved January 26, 2018, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306453011003106

Check out these other Healing Histamine blog posts


Yasmina was an award-winning broadcast journalist with a decade of experience covering war zones for CNN and the BBC. She devoted her journalism skills to researching and writing about histamine. Click here to learn about her. Each post is carefully and fully referenced with the latest scientific research. Not sure where to start? Here’s a four week meal plan and overall Histamine Reset.

4 Week Histamine Reset

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