21 ANTI-HISTAMINE FOODS THAT FIGHT INFLAMMATION AND STABLIZE MAST CELLS

September 22, 2014 10:00 pm

21 Anti-Histamine Foods

If you have histamine intolerance, mast cell activation disorder, or any other inflammatory disorder, then here are 21 anti-histamine foods that fight inflammation and stabilise mast cells naturally.

Vegetables That Are Anti-Histamine Foods

anti-histamine foods

1. Watercress

Firstly, watercress is one of the anti-histamine foods with a peppery taste similar to arugula. Indeed, a study showed that watercress inhibits 60% of all histamine released from mast cells. Additionally, it is considered one of the most nutrient-dense plants commonly available. 

Goda, Hoshino K, Akiyama H, Ishikawa T, Abe Y, Nakamura T, Otsuka H, Takeda Y, Tanimura A, Toyoda M, “Constituents in watercress: inhibitors of histamine release from RBL-2H3 cells induced by antigen stimulation”, Biol Pharm Bull. 1999 Dec;22(12):1319-26.

anti-histamine foods

2. Pea Sprouts

Next, pea sprouts is one of the anti-histamine foods that contains a high concentration of diamines oxidase (this enzyme degrades extra-cellular histamine) during the cotyledon phase. In fact, all of the Fabaceae family contains DAO, but it is exceptionally high in peas, lentils, and chickpea sprouts. Indeed, they have a higher DAO degrading capability than commercial DAO (porcine-derived) supplements.

Masini, Emanuela, et al. “Pea seedling histaminase as a novel therapeutic approach to anaphylactic and inflammatory disorders.” The Scientific World Journal 7 (2007): 888-902.

Comas-Basté, Oriol, et al. “In vitro determination of diamine oxidase activity in food matrices by an enzymatic assay coupled to UHPLC-FL.” Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry (2019): 1-8.

antihistamine foods

3. Onions

Then, the humble onion (including the spring onion) is incredibly nutritious and an important prebiotic. Furthermore, onions have been shown to inhibit histamine release, stabilise mast cells, and even lower histamine levels extracellularly in blood plasma.

P. Kaiser, M.S. Youssouf, S.A. Tasduq, S. Singh, S.C. Sharma, G.D. Singh, V.K. Gupta, B.D. Gupta, and R.K. Johri, Anti-Allergic Effects of Herbal Product from Allium Cepa (Bulb), Journal of Medicinal Food. April 2009, 12(2): 374-382.

antihistamine foods

4. Garlic

Next, garlic is one of the anti-histamine foods that is incredibly nutritious, rich in antioxidants, and a prebiotic. In fact, it has also been shown to inhibit histamine release from mast cells.

Hogberg, Bertil. “Inhibitory action of allicin on degranulation of mast cells produced by compound 48/80, histamine liberator from ascaris, lecithinase A, and antigen.” Acta Physiologica Scandinavica 44.2 (1958): 157-162.

Herbs

antihistamine foods

5. Moringa

Then, moringa is one of the anti-histamine foods and is a “super-food.” Indeed, it is so nutrient-dense that it has historically been used to treat malnutrition. Furthermore, a study has shown that it inhibits 72% of all histamines released, making it almost as effective as Ketitofen.

Mehta, Anita, and Babita Agrawal. “Investigation into the mechanism of action of Moringa oleifera for its anti-asthmatic activity.” Oriental Pharmacy and Experimental Medicine 8.1 (2008): 24-31.

Choi, Eun-Ju, et al. “Topical application of Moringa oleifera leaf extract ameliorates experimentally induced atopic dermatitis by the regulation of Th1/Th2/Th17 balance.” Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy 84 (2016): 870-877.

anti-histamine foods

6. Holy Basil

Next, holy basil is a herb in the basil family. It has a subtle, minty, mildly floral flavour and a natural sweetness. Additionally, it is an adaptogen with anti-anaphylactic, antihistamine, and mast cell stabilising properties.  Furthermore, while dried teas are readily available, there is nothing like the taste of fresh herbs, which are easy to grow.

G Sridevi, P Gopkumar, S Ashok, C Shastry. Pharmacological Basis For Antianaphylactic, Antihistaminic And Mast Cell Stabilization Activity Of Ocimum Sanctum. The Internet Journal of Pharmacology. 2008 Volume 7 Number 1

antihistamine foods

7. Thyme

Then, thyme is one of the anti-histamine foods that is nutrient-dense. Indeed, it has exceptionally high levels of Vitamin C and flavonoids, which stabilise mast cells. Furthermore, it also has antimicrobial benefits.

Watanabe, Jun, Hiroshi Shinmoto, and Tojiro Tsushida. “Coumarin and flavone derivatives from estragon and thyme as inhibitors of chemical mediator release from RBL-2H3 cells.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 69.1 (2005): 1-6.

anti-histamine foods

8. Tarragon

Next, tarragon has a pleasant anise flavour. Furthermore, it is one of the highest anti-oxidant food sources among herbs. In fact, a study shows that it stabilises mast cells.

Watanabe, Jun, Hiroshi Shinmoto, and Tojiro Tsushida. “Coumarin and flavone derivatives from estragon and thyme as inhibitors of chemical mediator release from RBL-2H3 cells.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 69.1 (2005): 1-6.

anti-histamine foods

9. Chamomile

Then, chamomile is one of the anti-histamine foods typically consumed as tea.  In fact, a study found that chamomile inhibited histamine release from mast cells in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, fresh flowers are frequently available and are preferable to dried flowers.

Chandrashekhar, V. M., et al. “Anti-allergic activity of German chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.) in mast cell-mediated allergy model.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 137.1 (2011): 336-340.

anti-histamine foods

10. Nettle

Next, nettle is typically consumed as a tea. In fact, it is a potent anti-histamine food (working at the H1 receptor) and mast cell stabiliser.

Roschek, Bill, et al. “Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis.” Phytotherapy research 23.7 (2009): 920-926.

antihistamine foods

11. Peppermint

Then, the flavonoids in peppermint have been found to have a potent inhibitory effect on histamine from mast cells. Indeed, it was found to be particularly effective for allergic rhinitis and has traditionally been used as an H2 antagonist.

Inoue, Toshio, et al. “Antiallergic effect of flavonoid glycosides obtained from Mentha piperita L.” Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 25.2 (2002): 256-259.

Anti-histamine foods

12. Black Cumin Seed and Oil

Next, is black cumin seed which is also one of the anti-histamine foods that has a slightly bitter taste similar to oregano. In fact, it acts as an anti-histamine food and antioxidant, protecting the gut. Furthermore, It can be consumed either as a seed or as oil. 

M Kanter, O Coskun, H Uysal, The antioxidative and antihistaminic effect of Nigella Sativa and its major constituent, thymoquinone on ethanol-induced gastric mucosal damage, Archives of toxicology, 2006 – Springer.

Rhizomes

antihistamine foods

13. Galangal

Then, galangal, or “Thai Ginger,” is readily available at Asian grocers. It has a subtle, delicate flavour with a gingery, lemongrass, and a lightly floral note. Importantly, a study shows it is extremely effective at stabilising mast cells and preventing anaphylaxis.

Hisashi Matsuda, Toshio Morikawa, Hiromi Managi, Masayuki Yoshikawa, Antiallergic principles from Alpinia galanga: structural requirements of phenylpropanoids for inhibition of degranulation and release of TNF-alpha and IL-4 in RBL-2H3 cells, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters Volume 13, Issue 19, 16 October 2003, Pages 3197–3202.

antihistamine foods

14. Ginger

Next, ginger is a rhizome that inhibits allergic reactions. Indeed, it has traditionally been used as an anti-histamine food to inhibit the H2 receptor. Furthermore, a 2009 study shows it also acts as a mast cell stabiliser.

Chen, Bing-Hung, et al. “Antiallergic potential on RBL-2H3 cells of some phenolic constituents of Zingiber Officinale (Ginger).” Journal of natural products 72.5 (2009): 950-953.

antihistamine foods

15. Lotus Root

Then, lotus roots are another one of the anti-histamine foods found in most Asian supermarkets. In fact, they have an immune-modulating effect with mast cell stabilising properties, and a study found they inhibit the release of histamines by up to 70%.

Mukherjee, Debajyoti, et al. “Exploring the potential of Nelumbo nucifera rhizome on membrane stabilization, mast cell protection, nitric oxide synthesis, and expression of costimulatory molecules.” Immunopharmacology and immunotoxicology 32.3 (2010): 466-472.

anti-histamine foods

16. Turmeric

Next, turmeric is the spice that gives curry its colour. On its own, it has a savoury, almost cheddar-like taste. Fresh rhizomes are increasingly available and can be frozen and grated over most savoury dishes as a condiment. In fact, turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Indeed, a study found that it inhibited mast cell activation.

Lee, Jun Ho, et al. “Curcumin, a constituent of curry, suppresses IgE-mediated allergic response and mast cell activation at the level of Syk.” Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 121.5 (2008): 1225-1231.

Fruits That Are Anti-Histamine Foods

anti-histamine foods

17. Pomegranates

Then, pomegranates taste sweet but tart and are used in savoury and sweet foods. Furthermore, they contain polyphenols, such as tannins and anthocyanins, and are higher in antioxidants than green tea. In fact, a study showed that they act as mast cell stabilisers.

Rasheed, Zafar, et al. “Polyphenol-rich pomegranate fruit extract (POMx) suppresses PMACI-induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines by inhibiting the activation of MAP Kinases and NF-B in human KU812 cells.” J Inflamm (Lond) 6 (2009): 1.

antihistamine foods

18. Apples

Next, apples’ nutrients are concentrated in the skin. Furthermore, they are not rich in one nutrient but have a wide range of flavonoids and polyphenols. In fact, a study has shown that they inhibit the release of histamines from mast cells.

Kanda, Tomomasa, et al. “Inhibitory effects of apple polyphenol on induced histamine release from RBL-2H3 cells and rat mast cells.” Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry 62.7 (1998): 1284-1289.

antihistamine foods

19. Capers

Then, capers add a tangy, peppery taste to dishes and are one of the richest sources of quercetin. Furthermore, capers have antimicrobial, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. In fact, a study also found them to be anti-histamines. 

Trombetta, Domenico, et al. “Antiallergic and antihistaminic effect of two extracts of Capparis spinosa L. flowering buds.” PTR. Phytotherapy research19.1 (2005): 29-33.

* I have received several questions about salt preservation. There is strong scientific evidence that salt preservation prevents histamine formation.

Chong, C. Y., Abu Bakar, F., Russly, A. R., Jamilah, B. Mahyudin, N. A., MiniReview; The effects of food processing on biogenic amines formation, International Food Research Journal 18(3): 867-876 (2011)

anti-histamine foods

20. Mangosteens

Next, mangosteens are a tropical fruit the size of small apples. Their flesh consists of creamy white segments with a delicate, sweet taste and melts in the mouth. They are increasingly available in supermarkets. Furthermore, studies show they lower the c-reactive protein inflammation marker, act as an antihistamine (H1), and inhibit mast cell degranulation.

Itoh, Tomohiro, et al. “Inhibitory effect of xanthones isolated from the pericarp of garcinia mangostana L. on rat basophilic leukemia RBL-2H3 cell degranulation.” Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry 16.8 (2008): 4500-4508.

Chairungsrilerd N, Furukawa K, Ohta T, et al. Histaminergic and serotonergic receptor blocking substances from the medicinal plant Garcinia mangostana. Planta Med 1996;62:471-2

anti-histamine foods

21. Peaches

Then, peaches are a sweet and juicy summer fruit. Furthermore, a study found that they inhibited mast cell-derived allergic inflammation.

Shin, Tae-Yong, et al. “Anti-allergic inflammatory activity of the fruit of Prunus Persica: Role of calcium and NF-?B.” Food and Chemical Toxicology 48.10 (2010): 2797-2802.

antihistamine foods

22. Chinese Quince

Next, the Chinese quince is a fruit native to China.  Importantly, the fruit has diverse bioactive components with anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itching activities.

Osawa, K., et al. “Inhibitory effects of Chinese quince (Chaenomeles Sinensis) on hyaluronidase and histamine release from rat mast cells.” Natural Medicines 53.4 (1999): 188-193.

Other Anti-Histamine Foods

anti-histamine foods

23. Black Rice

Then, black rice is believed to have many notable health benefits. Namely, researchers have found that a 10% diet of black rice reduced inflammation and inhibited histamine release from mast cells by about 32%. In contrast, brown rice did not have the same benefits.

Sun Phil Choi, Sung Phil Kim, Mi Young Kang, Seok Hyun Nam, Mendel Friedman. Protective Effects of Black Rice Bran against Chemically-Induced Inflammation of Mouse Skin. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2010; 58 (18): 10007 DOI: 10.1021/jf102224b

anti-histamine foods

24. Mung Bean Sprouts

Finally, a recent laboratory study found mung bean sprouts (after 48 h of growth) to protect significantly against mast cell degranulation and histamine release due to their high flavonoid content.

Li, Li, et al. “Anti-allergic effects and related active constituents of mung bean (Vignaradiatus Linn) sprouts.” Food Science and Biotechnology 25.2 (2016): 553-559.

Conclusion

In conclusion, these 21 (now 24!) foods with anti-histamine properties. Some are even proven as effective as commonly used mast cell stabilising medication.

That is, despite some foods being problematic, whole foods provide many natural anti-histamines and mast-cell stabilising nutrients our bodies need.

Far from being our enemy. Food can be our salvation, too.

To learn more about how food handling affects histamine levels, check out my blog post, Easy Protein Swaps: That Lower Histamine Without Cutting Foods.

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