- stuffy, runny nose
- irritated, watery eyes
These days, the majority of us are familiar with lactose intolerance; some 80% of adults lack the enzyme to digest dairy products. However, Dr. Joneja views dairy products in another light, looking at them as a culprit in stimulating excess histamine production.
Given that, it’s easy to see why people could become confused as to whether their symptoms are stemming from a food allergy, or from histamine intolerance. For example, I had a friend who suffered from hay fever every spring and summer. During that time he would scrupulously avoid all dairy products due to the excess mucous they would generate. He was quite willing to do without cheese and milk in order to avoid having a continual runny nose and that was effective for him.
Would an anti-histamine have been a better option? Probably not, since Dr. Joneja indicates that these remedies are merely running interference in the body rather than providing a real solution—excess histamine response. As a nutritionist and a researcher, her conclusion is to go after the dietary sources of histamine intolerance as a more viable approach.
According to her research, restricting dairy, fermented foods, processed meats, beer and wine, as stated above, do a lot to reduce symptoms. Some other foods to limit or avoid:
- White flour and processed breakfast cereal products
- All shellfish
- Soy beans and red beans
- Most commercial salad dressings
- Sugary fruits like pineapple and raisins
- Processed and packaged foods
- Certain spices such as curry, cinnamon and anise
In the final analysis, it seems like a tricky call—food allergy or histamine intolerance. Regardless, for anyone with symptoms it’s certainly worth exploring all the possibilities.