Beanz meanz antihistamines!

antihistamine beans

Updated post, originally published in March 2013.

A research scientist friend, whose findings on the anti-cancer benefits of spirulina were recently published (see end of post for link), messaged me yesterday, asking if I was aware that yet another food on the “high histamine” or “Histamine NO” lists, actually has antihistamine properties.

Indeed I am, having written this post on not only the cancer fighting, cancer preventing [1], anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties of beans, specifically kidney beans [2], quite some time ago. A number of studies I’ve read now have found that sandosaponins from kidney, generic beans and soybeans all inhibited histamine, with kidney beans being the most potent. Aside from beans having proven anti cancer properties, the good news is that cooking beans eliminates biogenic amines like tyramine and others, as long as you throw out the water [3].

That said, I have always used the bean water in my cooking (and continue to do so) because, as Dr Fuhrman says, now that the beans have released their vitamins into the water, it’s highly nutritious.Remember though, beans still contain lectins, which though often neutralised through thorough soaking and cooking, may still prove problematic for some. Please keep in mind that though they possess antihistamine properties, you can still be allergic to or react to them so please always proceed with caution.

Maybe this wasn’t taken into account, and that’s why we may sometimes find beans on the NO lists. More than that, if a food possess both the ability to raise and lower histamine, it might just be that your present state of health determines which wins out. I personally believe that emptying the inflammation bucket allows us to eat far more high histamine foods, hopefully others will use this newly found super power for good rather than bad (put down that cupcake!, otherwise the bucket might not stay empty for long.

As I said in my post on the inflammation bucket (why I can now eat shrimp), eliminating foods, focusing on eating only low histamine foods, did not heal me. It didn’t even prevent my symptoms. In fact, it seemed to make me worse. I now know that this condition is inflammatory in nature, and therefore eliminating some foods that are high histamine, but leaving in a bunch of others that may be low histamine but not anti-inflammatory (ie corn, rye, spelt, potatoes, milk, beef, chicken), isn’t resolving anything. For more on how I healed myself by lowering my inflammation bucket please read this post.

I know this is all shocking (lol, to me anyway!), yet another food on those food lists that so many follow, without any explanation as to how they were created, possess antihistamine properties. Check out the anti-cookbook for a six page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods, as well as recipes made only with these ingredients.

I’ve rung a few labs in Europe to ask them to help me out with some food testing, to my surprise they all told me it’s impossible to accurately test histamine levels in non animal flesh foods, because the levels are almost undetectable. If anyone has a lead on a lab for me that can, or can tell me which labs have been used by those who have compiled these lists, I’d much appreciate it. One would think though, that a big problem is that no matter what the histamine level of the foods, our individual body make up, what we have eaten the foods with, our level of inflammation that day, our stress level, any food contamination and the variety of food will all effect the outcome of consuming said foods.

Not only that, but to assume that because today we react to histamine foods, doesn’t mean we will in the future.

What about this mind scramble though, what if reducing dietary histamine, needed by the body for so many functions, we only encourage the body to produce more? That would certainly explain a lot…(thanks K for putting this intriguing thought in my head!). It’s what happens when we take antihistamines [4]. 

Having watched yet another Discovery Science program (yes, I’m a science/tech geek) on the pitiful amount of data our eyes are picking up from the world that surrounds us, and how, in an effort to sort out the world around us, the brain then fills in what it believes we’ve seen (more on this in Stephen Hawking’s brilliant book The Theory of Everything), I can now understand how my brain messed with me. So desperate was I to see any kind of patterns, to help me heal, that I drove myself insane figuring out what food was doing what.

And the histamine lists explained everything. I now know that when there’s overall inflammation, we’re likely to experience reactions to ALL foods, so no wonder I got confused by all that was happening with me. I even believed I had fructose malabsorption, salicylate intolerance and more.

But now I see that labelling things leads to unhappiness and more illness. Food affected me. So I found a healthier way to eat. When my diet was excellent, I turned my attention to my stress, and once that was sorted (through meditation), my next target was my past.

Be happy, be serene. Be good to your body. Feed it high nutrient foods that don’t cause inflammation.

It’s smart enough to do the rest.

And now  back to beans! I leave you with possibly the greatest bean scene of all time – from Blazing Saddles. 

Join my mailing list for more recipes and to be the first to know when registration for my low histamine webinar opens!

The Anti-cookbook, while it doesn’t treat any conditions, due to its high nutrient, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredients, has been instrumental in helping me feed myself on a limited diet. It features a six page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods.

Take a peek at my low histamine and antihistamine cookbooks for more high nutrient recipes.

If you’ve found this information useful I’d appreciate your support (at no extra cost to you!) – please check out my online store for your health foods, supplements, kitchen items and beauty product purchases. Affiliate sales through my online store go towards maintaining the website, funding travel to interviews and purchasing all the lovely foods for my free online recipes. You’ll find these items in the “Shop with us” drop down menu on my homepage.

 Please don’t forget antihistamine, pain killing foods can still hurt us, so please always check with your doctor before adding new foods to your diet. 


Katerina’s spirulina study






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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