For many of us, the long-awaited warmer weather and sunny skies also means the start of hay fever season. If you suffer with hay fever, did you know that eating foods low in histamine could reduce your symptoms?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen either from trees, grass or other plants that increases the release of histamine. Sufferers will be very familiar with the symptoms which include inflammation of the mucus membranes in the nose, which can lead to sneezing, watery or itchy eyes or both, constant runny nose and so forth.
Histamine is a nitrogenous compound that supports the body’s immune response. Simply put, it’s the body’s way of dealing with foreign substances that it considered a threat. According to the NHS, up to 20 per cent of the UK population suffers from hay fever every year, enduring awful symptoms that prevents them from going outside to enjoy our fleeting summers.
Thankfully, there is respite, and that is to eat foods that are low in histamine. You cannot avoid histamine totally, as its in, well…everything! However, the best way to know if a particular food is exacerbating your hay fever symptoms is to manage your diet via a food diary. Yes, this is the best way!
“According to the NHS, up to 20 per cent of the UK population suffers from hay fever every year, enduring awful symptoms that prevents them from going outside to enjoy our fleeting summers.”
There are also tests you can take; like food intolerance tests, but, personally…I feel these are a waste of time and money. I say this because a few years back, as part of my training as a nutritional therapist, I did about 50 food intolerance tests on people of different ages and races (including myself) and let’s just say, the results were not conclusive. My test showed that I was intolerant to a few things including foods I had never eaten before but did not highlight foods I was currently having issues with. As for the 50 clients? The majority showed no intolerance to anything!
So, in a nutshell, foods and drinks that are high in histamine include alcohol, processed meat like sausages and ham, vinegar and ready meals. Essentially, high protein foods.
Foods that are generally low in histamine include fresh fruit (not strawberries), fresh wild fish, vegetables (not tomatoes), and gluten free grains such as millet, rice and oats.
Of course, the list is much longer, and you can search for this yourself, in the meantime here are a few super healthy recipes that I enjoy that are low in histamine.
Easy Kale Salad
- 1 bag pre-cut kale
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- ¼ cup raisins, soaked 10 minutes, drained, and rinsed
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Toss the kale into a large bowl along with the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Massage well with your hands, working the dressing into the greens. Add the toasted pine nuts and raisins and mix gently. Season to taste with black pepper, salt and cayenne. If you store it in a sealed container in the fridge, your easy kale salad will keep for three days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Tip: If you do not like raisins in savoury food, substitute the pine nuts and raisins for black olives, avocado and tomatoes. Experiment with different fresh herbs and seasonings.
Mean Green Machine
- 1 cup (packed) spinach
- ½ bulb fennel
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 green apple
Juice all the ingredients, pour into a large wine glass and enjoy.
Tip: Add in some organic green powder to this juice to make a super boost juice. Example: moringa, chlorella, spirulina or a green powder mix.
Black Rice Salad
- 2 cups cooked black rice
- ¼ avocado (cubed)
- 1 spring onion (sliced)
- 1 tbsp nori flakes (optional)
- 1-2 teaspoon Tamari
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
Place all ingredients into a bowl. Add a few drops of the tamari (don’t go mad as its salty), then the oil. Mix until well coated. Serve as it is or on a bed of green leaves.
Tip: A great salad for using up leftover grains and vegetables. Just mix in whatever you have to hand. Brown rice works well too! Delicious as it is or as a side dish.