WARNING: the foods we cook for Abby are safe for her, but not necessarily for everyone. Please confirm any ingredients are safe for you before using in your diet. Food Allergies can kill and the best policy is complete avoidance. Read this post for more info.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


This word was not unfamiliar to me, we have walked the allergy world our entire lives, but I never really thought about being able to reduce or increase histamines based on food. Well I did, but "allergies" were just something my family had. You just avoided things until you felt better- or took a bunch a meds or if things got really bad some steroids- I never felt like I could "tweak" my body...

Understanding more about allergies, histamines, immunology might help us tweak Abby a little, or not. :-) Not to mention, Abby cannot take all those medicines or steroids. She is just too sensitive right now.

So first up on this leg of the journey- what is a histamine, where are they highest and how to lower them, and the "Why?"

Define via Wiki

Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter.[2] Histamine triggers the inflammatory response. As part of an immune response to foreign pathogens, histamine is produced by basophils and by mast cells found in nearby connective tissues. Histamine increases the permeability of the capillaries to white blood cells and some proteins, to allow them to engage pathogens in the infected tissues.

A list of High Histamine foods

Examples of foods/substances that may increase histamine levels resulting in symptoms including digestive problems, headaches and skin rashes are:

Alcohol, particularly red wine and champagne. Also white wine and beer.
Aged, smoked, canned fish and fish sauces. Tuna fish, mackerel, sardines, anchovy, herring, catfish, salmon.
Smoked and processed meats such as salami, ham, bratwurst and bacon
Certain vegetables: tomato, spinach, eggplant, avocado, mushrooms and canned vegetables as well as commercially prepared salads
Certain fruits: strawberries, bananas, papayas, kiwi, pineapple, mango, tangerines, grapefruits, red prunes, pea
Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar
Soy sauce
Sunflower seeds
Coffee, black tea
Some fruits: citrus, bananas, strawberries, red prunes, pears, kiwi, raspberries, papaya
Bread and confectionery made with yeast
Peanuts, cashews, walnuts
Drugs/Substances that may block intestinal DAO

N-Acetyl Cysteine
Amino guanidine

A lot of the foods she already avoids. But she about weeped when she tomatoes,chocolate and black tea on the list- those are dear to her right now. She has had issues with Tomatoe's in the past, but right now they are one of very few veggies she eats(cooked only)and I cannot bring myself to take them purely from a nutrition standpoint. Black Tea- she is a red rose junkie. I grew up with my Gram giving it to me and so gave it to her. She drinks it daily for the past 3 years. She will swap to a white tea when the tea starts to hurt her stomach and it seems a bit easier to digest. Another of her ALL TIME favorites is smoked salmon, we adore the stuff, but because of the price don't eat it as often as we would like to...

So for the Why

Histamine: How It Works
In an overly sensitive body, histamine may overreact. The amount of overreaction seems to depend on the intruder and I suspect the health of the (invaded) person. A healthy body is able to withstand many more challenges than a compromised or sick one. Does this sound like our Observations: things people have told us over the years that have caused their symptoms??

These are considered by your body to be intruders: to be eliminated or rendered harmless as quickly as possible. For most people it is the intensity or degree of the resulting symptoms that cause their problems.

Now histamines and mast cells:

What are mast cells?
Mast cells are made by your bone marrow. They're part of your immune system. They help you fight off infections. There are more of them in the skin, the lungs and the intestines. Mast cells make a chemical called histamine. Histamine can cause swelling, itching and redness when your body reacts to something like an insect bite or a bee sting.

So when you have too many histamines you may have too many mast cells.. and that causes problems to have too much of anything, just like not having enough- our bodies are pretty flexible to a point, but without some level of balance things can go really wrong..

I realized this morning I use this blog like notes from High School! Usually my notes look like chicken scratch, but I had one Teacher who would give us extra credit for rewriting our notes each evening into a summary of what we had learned vs chicken scratch.. I never got as much extra credit as others, but I tried!


Jenna said...

I hope that taking out the foods you can helps. Are you hoping this will clear up the rash.

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