7 BEST foods for histamine intolerance

Fresh watercress or cress growing in small cups at home.

Start the new year right with these 7 histamine intolerance foods that fight inflammation, are histamine friendly and super healthy for the body overall. I guarantee that you’ll always find these foods in my fridge and cupboards because I leaned heavily on them for the last five years, before figuring out that I was able to reintroduce most of the foods I’d had to eliminate over the years. Here’s how I did it. 



Researchers have found that arugula extract can protect us from stomach ulcers, probably through its effect on histamine and prostaglandins (both of which are released by mast cells in the body). Arugula is also high in vitamin K, which helps us fight inflammation and prevent osteoporosis. Sulforaphane found in arugula and other cruciferous veggies is being studied for its role in preventing or stopping the growth of cancer, particularly lung, breast and pancreatic. This compound is particularly concentrated in sprouts/young shoots so I’ll often use arugula shoots.

Works well in

I like to use mine in what I call juicies – which are basically just a juice that you then blend stuff into. I’m not a fan of knocking back massive quantities of raw fiber (it just can’t be good for the body to suddenly deal with that). It’s also great in salads and I sometimes quickly pop open a bag and sweat the leaves very quickly in a pan with a little olive oil. Doing so means that I can eat a lot more lightly cooked than raw.



Research tells us that compounds extracted from this spicy plant can prevent histamine release from cells exposed to an allergen. Watercress is also high in anti-inflammatory bone building vitamin K and can help decrease neuropathy (nerve pain) in diabetics. It has also been shown to help fight high blood pressure.

Watercress compounds are also linked to decreased cancer risk,  protection from the effects of radiation and chemotherapy.

Works well in

Juicies and salads. Don’t forget that it’s a spicy plant and as such care should be taken not to pair it with other spicy ones like arugula or ginger.


Black rice 


According to Dr. Axe the bran hull of back rice contains one of the highest levels of the antioxidant anthocyanin found in any food. Those of you following my instagram feed will have noticed I spend a lot of time eating and talking about this antioxidant purple miracle pigment. Anthocyanins are found in blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and purple varieties of carrots, cauliflower and sweet potato. The absolute only inflammatory (pretty much nutrient devoid) potato I will eat is a blue/purple one.  Anthocyanins prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer and are anti-inflammatory and can help cleanse the liver of of toxic build up. Arsenic is a concern nowadays with all rice, but the Environmental Working Group tells us that cooking rice more like pasta will decrease the arsenic content by about forty percent. Rinse the rice then boil one cup of rice in twelve cups of water.

Works well in

I love adding rice to salads and I really enjoy black rice noodles (you can buy these online or in health food stores) as a wheat pasta substitute.  I’ll often just toss some noodles with sautéed veggies and onion as a meal.



This tasty vegetable is rich in the mast cell stabilising bioflavonoid luteolin. We want mast cells stable so they don’t leak histamine and other inflammation into the blood stream. Other members of the artichoke family have antihistamine properties and all are highly anti-inflammatory.

Works well in

My absolute favourite dairy free creamy pasta sauce is make from boiled artichoke hearts. You’ll find the recipe here. I also adore eating chokes lightly boiled and then paired with a apple cider vinaigrette. I’ve even been known to slip a bit of organic three ingredient Dijon mustard (look for Edmond Faillot mustard at Whole Foods), which is a higher histamine ingredient but also anti-inflammatory. Your results may be different. Artichokes can also be shaved using a mandolin and eaten raw in a salad, or you could quarter them, drizzle with a little oil and lemon and roast them.



One of the best weapons in the antihistamine arsenal, ginger is a potent antihistamine, nausea inhibitor (histamine causes nausea and motion sickness!), and of course anti-inflammatory and cancer preventer. Also in the family, turmeric has an even more amazing profile but I can only do small amounts of it due to its very high oxalic acid, salicylic acid and MAO enzyme inhibiting properties. When a food appears on multiple lists, even if it’s classed as one of the world’s healthiest foods, I’m likely to avoid ingesting massive amounts of it.

Works well in

Smoothies, juices, soups (I add ginger and turmeric to all my soups), grated into salad dressing and onto sautéed veggies (especially great with noodles).



Some lists tell us that lentils are high histamine. Once I realised that excluding nutrient dense foods willy nilly wasn’t working for me, I started slowly adding back foods that had lots of benefits. Lentils were at the top of the list. Given that my father died of lung cancer in his early forties, and friends developing breast cancer around me at an alarming rate, cancer fighting foods seem like a great idea. Lentils are also a great source of potassium, calcium, zinc (needed for the manufacture of the histamine lowering DAO enzyme), folate and iron. I’ve never noticed any kind of histamine reaction from lentils, ever, so as with many of these foods, your own reaction is best to go by.

Works well in

Pressure cooking lentils can inactivate lectins and other “anti-nutrients”. I love my lentils in salads, in soups like my absolute favourite lentil chard, and I make savoury waffles and flatbreads out of lentil flour (you can buy it online or make your own in a coffee grinder or a Vitamix). There’s also a few great brands of gluten free pasta made from lentils that can also be found online or at organic supermarkets.



Members of the allium family possess significant mast cell stabilising properties,  thereby preventing histamine release. My other favourite is red onion,  which is super high in quercetin,  the bioflavonoid usually responsible for the antihistamine activity. Red onions are of course a double whammy thanks to the anthocyanins in the skin. A caveat, don’t remove too much of the skin – that’s where the good stuff is. Chives are also full of red blood cell building chlorophyll.

Works well in

Pretty much everything! I use a pair of scissors to chop them into salads, soups, and onto pretty much anything I eat, raw or cooked.

You’ll find recipes full of foods with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties my books Anti-Recipes and The Anti-Cookbook



Alqasoumi, S. (2009). Rocket “Eruca sativa”: A salad herb with potential gastric anti-ulcer activity. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 15(16), 1958. doi:10.3748/wjg.15.1958

Goda, Y., Hoshino, K., Akiyama, H., Ishikawa, T., Abe, Y., Nakamura, T., . . . Toyoda, M. (1999). Constituents in Watercress: Inhibitors of Histamine Release from RBL-2H3 Cells Induced by Antigen Stimulation. Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin,22(12), 1319-1326. doi:10.1248/bpb.22.1319

What Are the Benefits of Eating Lentils? (n.d.). Retrieved December 25, 2016, from http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-lentils-4547.html

Anti-allergic effects of herbal product from Allium cepa (bulb). (n.d.). Retrieved December 25, 2016, from

(n.d.). Retrieved December 25, 2016, from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275009.php


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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