Histamine levels will vary based on the maturation process and the degree of freshness. The longer food is stored or left to mature, the greater its histamine content and the more problematic it can be for individuals with food sensitivities and intolerance.
Fresh meat contains no or very little histamine. However, when meat is processed further, the maturation process results in the accumulation of biogenic amines.
The same is true for fish. Fresh fish contains no or very little histamine. However, fish spoils very easily and this leads to a rapid accumulation of histamine due to bacteria. Further processing, which includes salting, smoke-drying, marinating and preservation, may increase the histamine content.
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