Why cooking and eating fresh food is important and healthy?
Aging of foods tend to increase the levels of histamine in foods. This can add to levels of inflammation in the body when these foods are consumed. Hence, choose fresh foods for greater health. I did it because my Mom and my Religion (Jainism) told me to do so. But when I learnt the science behind why freshness of food matters I had the Aha moment. Fresh foods are low in histamine. Cook daily. Avoid reheating and leftovers. Keep reading to learn about histamine in foods we eat.
First co-relation that comes with Histamine is allergies. But what exactly is Histamine? Histamine is a chemical (amine) produced and stored within our body. It is a part of our immune response and is released by cells in response to an allergic or inflammatory reaction.
In addition to the histamine produced inside your body, there are also a variety of foods that naturally contain histamine, cause the release of histamine or block the enzyme that breaks down histamine – (DAO) Diamine oxidase.
Histamine-rich foods: Fermenting and aging makes foods histamine rich.
- Fermented alcoholic beverages like wine, champagne, beer
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt
- Vinegar-containing foods like pickles, olives
- Dried fruit like prunes, dates, figs, raisins
- Aged cheese
- Nuts like walnuts, cashews, peanuts
Fermented foods are considered healthy and have long history of benefits extending back 8000 years. They are considered first pro-biotics due to the growth and use of bacteria during fermentation. If you think any of the above food is problematic for you, it may be stimulating release of histamine in your body.
Histamine – releasing foods: are foods that promote the release of histamine from the immune cells in the body. Put them on watch list but not necessarily avoid. Listen to your body. If you feel it does not suit you, the reason is high histamine.
- Artificial dyes and preservatives
Can you co-relate a situation where you had some fermented food and you felt it did not suit you? Not a life threatening reaction but some swelling or joint pain or rash? Well it might mean that particular food triggered a high histamine release.
What are anti-histamines?
Antihistamines work by preventing the release of histamine from certain cells (mast cells) thereby blocking the allergic reaction. Turmeric is a natural anti-histamine. Taking 1 tbsp of turmeric powder can work as a substitute for medications. It is a vital part of the Indian spice family and an essential ingredient in Indian cooking.