ACHOO! Some Informative Tips on Histamines and What You Can Do To Make Allergy Season a Little Less Uncomfortable

Hay fever season is back…complete with runny nose, scratchy throat, red eyes, itchy-all-over feeling and incessant sneezing. What causes these reactions, and is there anything, besides taking a ton of antihistamines, that you can do to help get you through this time of year?

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-4-38-51-pmFirst, many people understand that you take antihistamines to combat allergies but what, exactly, does that mean and what are histamines?

Histamines are chemicals produced naturally by the body to help eliminate something that is not welcome, in this case, allergens or substances that trigger allergic reactions.

The problem is that if you are allergic to trees, grasses, weeds or mold spores (to name a few) your built-in natural defense system wants to rid your body of them as quickly as possible, so it releases histamines to protect the natural immune system. The trouble is, that the histamine-creating function goes into overtime and produces too many which results in annoying allergy symptoms.

Histamine is held in the body’s mast cells and when allergic triggers are present, the body is sent a chemical signal to release more histamine to your skin, nose, eyes, mouth, lungs, stomach and bloodstream. The result is increased blood flow that, in turn, causes inflammation. Histamines trigger membranes in areas including the nose to make more mucus as a protection against the allergens. Unfortunately this increased production causes the nose to become stuffy, runny and it makes you sneeze! In addition, the mucus created by these histamines-on-overdrive drains down the back of the throat causing irritation, coughing and soreness.

There are numerous over-the-counter medications, referred to as antihistamines that are designed to create a more manageable balance of histamines in the body during allergic episodes. But there is more that can be done to help keep the overabundance of histamines at bay and that is to avoid certain histamine-creating foods during peak allergy seasons.

I am not a doctor but this information come from a vast amount of research provided by professionals. Opinions vary and some say avoid certain foods where other sources say that particular food is OK. However, for the most part, the following histamine-rich foods should be avoided in an effort to help alleviate your symptoms.

• Fermented Alcoholic Beverages, particularly Wine, Champagne and Beer
• Fermented Foods: Sauerkraut, Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Kefir, Yogurt, Kombucha
• Foods with Vinegar: Pickles, Mayonnaise, Olives
• Cured Meats: Bacon, Salami, Pepperoni, Lunch Meats, Hot Dogs
• Soured Foods: Sour Cream, Sour Milk, Buttermilk, Sour Bread
• Dried Fruits: Apricots, Prunes, Dates, Raisins
• Most Citrus Fruits – Oranges, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime
• Aged or Fermented Cheeses including Goat Cheese, Feta, Blue, Brie,
Cheddar, Colby, etc.
• Processed Cheese
• Nuts: Walnuts, Cashews & Peanuts
• Vegetables: Avocados, Eggplant, Spinach and Tomatoes
• Smoked Fish
• Mackerel, Mahi-Mahi, Tuna, Anchovies, Sardines
NOTE: All fish unless freshly caught, cleaned & cooked within 30 minutes.
• Protein-based leftovers

Studies have determined that 1% of the population is histamine intolerant, which is a very small number. Chances are you are not in the 1% and you should be able to help relieve symptoms during allergy season by trying to eliminate some/all of the above-mentioned foods. Also, look to increase foods that are anti-inflammatory but are not histamine-rich such as Blueberries.


Keep in mind that the body needs histamine in order to keep it running smoothly however during peak-allergy times it may help to eliminate some of the food triggers. Please consult with your health care professional or nutritionist to discuss options best suited for you.

Roxanne Holland

By day, I work as a PR Specialist and Content Writer.

In my spare time, I make Artisinal Beauty Products and Vegan Food. With everything I do, I seek to embody the words "I Love You".

6 thoughts on “ACHOO! Some Informative Tips on Histamines and What You Can Do To Make Allergy Season a Little Less Uncomfortable”

  1. I have for years great relief from a supplement blend of quercetin & bromelain to help with hay fever like allergy symptoms. Just now doing a little reading about it and have discovered that it is not only good for hay fever symptoms but also for inflammation in general. Cool! They are two natural remedies with real clinical evidence to support they each work come together in a combination that is also clinically proven to have a synergistic effect. You can read more about them here:

  2. My sensitivities to the release of too many histamines is crazy annoying and most of my day and night is spent trying to deal with the runny, then stuffy nose, the watering and blood shot eyes, the feeling of uneasiness and nervousness that is a side effect of too many histamines and the gnawing feeling in my mouth to want to bite down on a piece of leather all make me miserable. The article on your blog makes terrific sense and I plan on trying to stay a way from foods high in Histamines.
    AND to Mr. Sullivan who commented on it being hard to give up been, tell him that I’ve found tequila has a very low amount of histamines.
    BTW, I really love your blog, always very, very insightful!

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Hi, I'm Roxanne.

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My family heritage is Italian and French so needless to say, I love preparing meals for family, friends and anyone with an appetite and the openness to try something new.

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