CHICAGO (WLS) -- If you're feeling nauseous, tired, anxious, or your skin is breaking out in hives, you may be having a reaction to something you ate. But is it a food allergy you are experiencing or a food intolerance?
Correctly identifying the issue could help you with a whole host of health issues that you may not realize are connected to your food.
Holistic Pharmacist and author, Sherry Torkos, stopped by ABC7 to show how to identify and manage a histamine intolerance with foods, drugs, supplements and lifestyle choices you should avoid, add and allow during the fall and winter months.
FOODS TO AVOID
Certain histamine-rich foods should be avoided. As a general rule, high concentrations of histamine are typically found in fermented foods such as bread, wine, beer, processed and smoked meat and aged cheese. Especially during the fall and winter months, avoid dried fruits, yogurt, kefir, pickled vegetables, chocolate, coffee, green tea and citrus fruits. If it's not essential, avoid NSAIDs and antibiotics, as they can both disrupt production of the enzymes that degrade histamine.
FOODS TO ADD
The main histamine enzyme in the gut that breaks down histamine is diamine oxidase, otherwise known as DAO. If you have a histamine intolerance this means you likely have low levels of DAO, resulting in a DAO deficiency. Adding a DAO supplement can dramatically improve your symptoms and may even allow you to eat some of the foods that are rich in histamine (see above), in the same way a person with a lactose intolerance can eat dairy if they take a lactose supplement first. Umbrellux DAO is the only food-grade DAO enzyme currently licensed to be sold in the United States outside of practioners' offices. Adding vitamin C and vitamin B6 may be helpful too. Both nutrients are required for DAO activity, so in theory they act as antihistamines by supporting the breakdown of histamine. Umbrellux DAO also contains vitamin C (abscorbic acid). Certain probiotics may also help minimize histamine release and help restore the balance of bacteria in the gut.
FOODS TO ALLOW
Certain foods you should allow in your diet, which can help improve your histamine intolerance, include onions, which contain a compound called quercetin that acts as a natural antihistamine and prevents immune cells from releasing histamines. Also, pomegranates are a great fall food and help to reduce inflammation as well as ease symptoms of allergies. Use olive oil when cooking meals, as it is one of the primary sources of oleic acid, which increases the release of DAO into the bloodstream by 500 percent. Allow more organic chicken into your meals as poultry in general is also a good source of oleic acid and increases the release of DAO and eases symptoms of histamine intolerance. Finally, too much stress causes your cells to release more histamines, so allow yourself time to relax during the fall and winter seasons and especially during the holidays.