Fresh vegetables in the refrigerated section of the supermarket

Certain histamine-rich foods can be a challenge for individuals with histamine intolerance. Here are some foods to be mindful of:

  1. Alcohol: High histamine content.
  2. Processed Meat: Salted, cured, or smoked meats.
  3. Dried Fruit: Dehydrated and concentrated fruits.
  4. Eggplant: A nightshade vegetable.
  5. Avocado: High in healthy fats.
  6. Legumes: Edible seeds in pods.
  7. Fermented Foods: Aged, soured, or cultured foods.
  8. Aged Cheeses: Ripened with bacteria.
  9. Citrus Fruits: Contain citric acid.
  10. Spoiled Fish: Prone to histamine toxicity.

If you’re managing histamine intolerance, consider opting for foods with lower histamine levels. These include:

  • Fresh meat (cooled, frozen, or fresh)
  • Certain fresh/frozen fish (hake, trout, plaice)
  • Chicken (cooled, frozen, or fresh)
  • Fresh fruits (except plantains)
  • Fresh vegetables (except tomatoes, eggplant, and spinach)
  • Grains (rice noodles, whole wheat bread, rye bread, etc.)
  • Fresh pasteurized milk and milk products
  • Milk substitutes (goat milk, sheep milk)
  • Cream cheese, mozzarella, butter (without histamine generation) 

Remember, everyone’s tolerance levels vary, so it’s essential to find your own threshold. Consult a certified dietitian to work out a balanced diet tailored to your needs. And don’t forget to keep a food diary—it’s an essential tool for managing histamine intake! ????????

List of Foods That Cause Inflammation

The foods that cause inflammation tend to be those labeled junk or processed. Chronic inflammation is linked to heart diseasediabetes, and arthritis.1

Processed Meats

While lean meats can be a good source of iron and other minerals, red meat and processed meats are more likely to cause inflammation. They’re typically stocked with saturated fat, prompting immune cells to release inflammatory proteins into the bloodstream.2

This includes meats like: 

  • Conventional Steak and Hamburgers-opting for lean grass-fed organic beef can lead to less inflammation
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Hot dogs
  • Deli or lunch meat

In addition, the way that some red meats are prepared can trigger a reaction that promotes inflammation in the body.

Refined Carbohydrates

The body needs carbohydrates to survive, but consuming refined carbohydrates such as white flour and its products can be a culprit for inflammation. Look out for foods like:

  • White bread
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • White Rice

Sugar-Sweetened Foods and Beverages

Foods and drinks high in added sugar impact how the body processes insulin, leading to inflammation. This includes sweet desserts, candy, soft drinks, and sports drinks.6

While sugar is often linked to the development of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, it also promotes inflammation that occurs in many types of arthritis.

Processed Foods

Most foods that are not raw (like fruits and vegetables) have been somewhat processed. However, processed foods that include chemical additives and fewer whole ingredients can interact with the immune system, leading to chronic inflammation. They're also linked to an increased risk for chronic disease.

The types of processed foods that are apt to cause inflammation include:8

  • Packaged snacks, like chips and cookies
  • Margarine
  • Nondairy creamers
  • Microwaveable meals
  • Flavored yogurts
  • Refrigerated dough and biscuits

Some processed foods may still contain small amounts of trans fats known to trigger inflammation. However, experts banned trans fats from being manufactured in 2021.

Fried Foods

Deep-fried foods are typically an inflammation trigger. This includes foods like fried chicken, French fries, and donuts.

Sometimes, fried foods are prepared in a way in which they're soaked in oil with omega-6 fatty acids, which can prompt even more inflammation.

While dietary fats are needed for bone health, brain function, and metabolism, it’s important to balance your omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid intake. Omega-3 fatty acids, naturally found in fish and plant-based foods, are healthy fats that experts consider anti-inflammatory. Some omega-6 fatty acids found in vegetable oils may promote inflammation.

List of Foods That Might Cause Inflammation

While the link between junk foods and inflammation is evident, for some other foods, more research is needed.


The link between dairy and inflammation is complicated and may depend on the individual. Some studies suggest that dairy products can trigger an inflammatory response, for example, in those with a milk allergy or osteoarthritis (degenerative changes in joint cartilage that typically occurs with age).

However, other research shows that low fat dairy-based foods might decrease the risk of inflammation and diseases like type 2 diabetes.

Experts also note that products like nonfat milk and yogurt contain helpful ingredients like probiotics, calcium, vitamin D, and other proteins.


Gluten is another food category in which inflammation seems to depend on the individual. This protein found in wheat, barley, and rye can cause notable inflammation in people with celiac disease and prompt an inflammatory response in people with a gluten intolerance.6

That said, the link between gluten and inflammation in people who don’t have celiac disease is unclear.


Sulfites, substances used as preservatives and found in red wine, can cause an inflammatory autoimmune reaction in some people. This can result in a skin rash, asthma, or a migraine. However, the antioxidant properties in sulfites can be beneficial and safe to consume for those who don’t experience an inflammatory response.

List of Foods That Don't Cause Inflammation

Onions and Garlic

These veggies contain powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help lower inflammation. Organosulfur compounds in garlic may fight against substances in the bloodstream that attempt to boost inflammation, while the flavonoid quercetin in onions may reduce inflammatory activity linked to arthritis.

Dark Leafy Greens

Vitamin E and antioxidants in dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli help protect against cytokines, which are pro-inflammatory molecules. In addition, these vegetables are also rich in essential nutrients like vitamin A, iron, and vitamin K, which may be especially beneficial for arthritic inflammation.

Misra D, Booth SL, Tolstykh I, et al. Vitamin K deficiency is associated with incident knee osteoarthritisAm J Med. 2013;126(3):243-248. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2012.10.011


Antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols found naturally in fruit are anti-inflammatory power players. This is particularly true for berries like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, acai, cranberries, and more. The antioxidants in these fruits help reduce free radicals that promote inflammation in the body and are particularly protective for certain types of arthritis.


Walnuts are a solid source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which reduces inflammation in the arteries. In addition, almonds have been shown to improve the balance of fatty acids in the bloodstream, cutting down on inflammation and risk for heart disease.

Research has found that nuts as a replacement for red meat can help lower inflammation in the body.

Dark Chocolate

The natural polyphenols in cocoa and dark chocolate protect the body against inflammation. Flavonoids have been shown to protect against inflammation damage in the body. They're also found in coffee, tea, and other Mediterranean diet-based foods.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These anti-inflammatory compounds are found in certain types of fish like salmon, tuna, and anchovies. Research shows this is helpful for arthritis-related inflammation. The added protein and vitamin D can help lower inflammatory risks linked to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.

For plant-based omega-3 options, eating nuts and cooking with olive oil may be a good substitute.

8 Types of Foods That Cause Inflammation: Joints, Gut, Elsewhere (verywellhealth.com)

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