Histamines are natural substances produced by the body's immune cells, and they play a role in allergic reactions and inflammation. When the body detects a potential threat like an allergen, histamines are released and trigger various responses. They cause blood vessels to dilate, leading to redness and warmth, and increase blood vessel permeability, causing swelling and itching. Histamines are responsible for common allergy symptoms like hives, nasal congestion, and watery eyes. They also have other functions, such as regulating stomach acid production, neurotransmission in the brain, and sleep-wake cycles. In some cases, an excessive release or difficulty metabolizing histamine can lead to histamine intolerance or sensitivity. Antihistamine medications are used to block histamine effects and relieve allergy symptoms.
An antihistamine diet may be introduced by reducing intake of foods high in histamines. Common food that are high in histamines are:
Alcohol, wine, beer
Fermented dairy products (yogurt, sour cream)