Apples and Onions

Apples & Onions

… with natural antihistamines?

Quercetin, a compound found in many plants, is a flavonoid and an antioxidant with many valuable properties. It’s readily available in natural foods, especially apples and onions.

  • Quercetin is an antioxidant, and may promote good health by decreasing or even helping to prevent some of the damage free radicals do to our bodies.
  • It may help guard against heart disease and cancer.
  • It is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • In addition, quercetin may have an antihistamine effect by aiding in the stabilization of histamine-releasing cells in our bodies.

In laboratory tests, quercetin stops immune cells from releasing histamine. If this mechanism also works in living humans, then quercetin would be a valuable aid in reducing symptoms of allergies such as –

  • itchy skin
  • runny nose
  • watery eyes
  • hives
  • sneezing
  • wheezing, shortness of breath

Quercetin can be bought in the form of a dietary supplement (capsules, pills etc.).  In the form of supplements it is generally considered safe, however the University of Maryland cautions people against taking more than the recommended dose. It is possible to harm your health by overdosing on quercetin supplements, but it’s unlikely you could eat enough apples or onions to cause any problems!

You can eat apples and onions raw or cooked – you’ll still get the benefits of quercetin. Cooking can change the levels of quercetin in foods, but not enough to worry about. For example, in a study on onions,  “Baking and sautéing produced a 7–25% gain in quercetin concentration, while boiling produced an 18% decrease in quercetin concentration.”

So grab an apple now, or slice up an onion for a salad, and enjoy crunching on a nutritious fruit or vegetable that may help reduce your histamine intolerance symptoms!


References:

[Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Volume 18, Issue 6, September 2005, Pages 571–581 Quercetin in onion (Allium cepa L.) after heat-treatment simulating home preparation. Kevin Lombard, Ellen Peffley, Emanuel Geoffriau, Leslie Thompson, Andy Herring. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jfca.2004.03.027]

 

 

 

 

 

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How to make vegetables taste better

Vegetable quicheVegetables: they can be delicious!

We all know we need to eat more vegetables. They are good for us, and if we are trying to lose weight, they can help. But a lot of us don’t like them. How can we change this?

Tip #1: Choose baby vegetables. The flavor of baby ones is less intense and often they are sweeter.

Tip #2: Drizzle a little ‘extra virgin’ olive oil on your veggies.

Tip #3: Blanch your vegetables to prevent over-strong flavors from developing.  Steam them for 30 to 60 seconds, then take them off the heat and plunge them into cold water.

Tip #4 Buy fresh from farmers’ markets – or grow your own

Tip #5  Disguise them in breads, quiches, even cakes.

Tip #6: Think about veggies doing you good. It becomes easier for people to tolerate foods that are good for them but whose flavour they don’t like, if they understand why the foods are good for them. For best results, this should be combined with repeated, regular exposure to those foods.  [Source: Leslie J. Stein, PhD, Science Communications, Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia.]

Tip #7: Stir-frying vegetables preserves their fresh flavors and crispy textures.

Check out our book “Is Food Making You Sick?” for low-histamine vegetable recipes.

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Vitamin K2

Leafy vegetablesWhat’s the buzz about Vitamin K2?

One reader recently wrote in to say,

“Thank you for all of your work and sharing it with us on your website. I think I have a histamine allergy. How can I be sure this is the cause of my health problems and not something else? Also, how can I be sure to get enough Vitamin K-2 when I can’t eat cultured foods? Thank you!”

Our replies might help others with the same questions, so here they are:

Self diagnosis

One way of finding out whether you are histamine intolerant is to take antihistamines (follow the manufacturer’s directions) and see if they decrease your symptoms. If symptoms are severe you may need to take them for a few days or even weeks before you nitice an improvement. You might also have to take an H1 and an H2 receptor antagonist simultaneously.

Read more about antihistamines on our blog, here.

Getting enough Vitamin K2

Egg yolks are rich in Vitamin K2, but more importantly, studies have shown that Vitamin K1 is metabolized into K2 within our bodies.
See the Vitamin Council’s article ‘Dr. Cannell on vitamin K2’
Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, collards and turnip greens are packed with K1, so rest assured that if you eat plenty of them you should be getting all the K2 your body needs. Note: people with histamine intolerance should avoid spinach.

Good Health to All!

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Vegetable Noodles

Vegetable Noodles

zucchini spiralizerWhy Vegetable Noodles?

Vegetable noodles (or lasagna) are a delicious replacement for noodles (or lasagna) made with grains. The noodles can be bought ready-made as shirataki noodles, or found ready-made by nature, inside spaghetti squashes.

You can also make them using a spiralizer, which is often called a Spiral Vegetable Slicer. If you do not have one of these machines, you can use a Julienne peeler or a standard vegetable peeler. Veggie noodles are actually fun to make! You can see them being made on this Youtube video and also on this one (we have no affiliation with any of the brands or blogs mentioned).

You’ll end up with nutritious ‘ribbons’ of vegetables (vegetti), which you simply steam to cook, pile on a plate and smother with a scrumptious low-histamine sauce. Sauce recipes can be found in the book “Is Food Making You Sick?

For vegetable lasagna, substitute thin layers of parsnip or zucchini for sheets of grain lasagna.

The Strictly Low Histamine Diet allows most grains, notably excluding wheat. Wheat germ is high in histamine. (Wheat bran, however, is permissible.) Vegetable pasta can, however, make an interesting alternative.

Low histamine vegetables suited to spiralizing include:

  • Kholrabi (koloodles)
  • Zucchini (zoodles)
  • Carrot (coodles)
  • Parsnip (poodles)
  • Sweet Potato (swoodles)
  • Turnip (toodles)
  • Broccoli Stem (boodles – peel stem first)
  • Asparagus (aspoodles)

Note: kelp noodles, radish noodles or pumpkin noodles should not be included in a low histamine diet.

There are several reasons why you might prefer to eat pasta that’s grain-free.

  • People who follow the “Paleo” diet choose to avoid all grains, especially wheat.
  • People who are sensitive to gluten must avoid grains that contain gluten, if they are to remain healthy.
  • Eating non-grain pasta means consuming fewer calories – if you are trying to lose weight, this could help.
  • Vegetable noodles are delicious and nutritious.

It’s strange but true – veggies taste better when they’re in a different shape! So give spiralizing a try, and you could find you’re enjoying vegetables a whole lot more.

 

 

 

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Grow Fresh Food in Small Spaces

windowsill herbsYou Can Grow Your Own Fresh Food Almost Anywhere!

Histamine develops and accumulates to high levels in aging food. Eating old, long-stored food can provoke symptoms in people with histamine intolerance.
The best way to make sure your food is fresh is to grow it yourself. If you can simply reach out and pick a few lettuce or rocket leaves, or pull up some carrots or pluck some herbs, you can not only stay healthy, you can cut down on ‘food miles’ and your grocery bills.  You can ‘eat fresh’ every day. If you don’t happen to live on a farm, you can still enjoy your own fresh vegetable patch.

In the USA, gardeners like Paul Wheaton are spreading the word about growing your own organic foods sustainably and living in small spaces. HGTV has free online articles with helpful suggestions, such as Intensive Gardening Makes Small Spaces Work Double Time and Edible Gardening in Small Spaces.
The Univeristy of Maine in its article on Gardening in Small Spaces says, “At a time when Americans are overweight and under-exercised more than ever before, consider that a 150-pound person working in the garden will burn approximately 350 calories per hour. That’s roughly equivalent to doing low-impact aerobics, playing softball, pulling a cart while playing golf, walking at a very brisk pace, or playing vigorously with children. Of course, consuming home-grown vegetables is good for your health as well. Fresh vegetables are loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which play a role in cancer prevention and general good health. And when you grow your own vegetables, you know exactly how they were grown and where they originated—issues of food safety and security that are becoming more and more important to our society.”

Alan Titchmarsh, arguably the most famous gardener in the UK, says, ““I think it is a very underrated mission, encouraging people to grow things and to look after that little patch of ground outside their house. Hopefully [his TV gardening series] shows just how important gardens are. It sounds like a grandiose claim, but they can, and do, change lives. They are a safety valve, an oasis, a sanctuary, somewhere to feel at one with nature, all of those things. I always call them an escape to reality because that is the real world, really. And if you can make a garden that suits you and your sensibilities, you realise its value. It will aid the environment immeasurably and give them enormous solace, stimulation and pleasure.” His book “How to Garden: Vegetables and Herbs” is useful for UK gardeners.

Your own Backyard

Clive Blazey, the Australian founder of the Digger’s Club, says, “If you plan your garden carefully, you can grow a remarkable amount of produce in only a few square meters of space. To feed a family of four for a whole year, you only need 40 square meters of ground.” One of Mr Blazey’s “mini plots” could easily fit into the area occupied by a small suburban backyard. Or, to feed one person for a year all you require is ten square meters of ground.
Mr Blazey’s method is based on successional plantings, and you can read about it in his book The Australian Vegetable Garden. The method can be adapted to any country or climate.

Your Courtyard, Deck or Patio

Containers such as flower pots, tubs and hanging baskets can be used to grow your own fresh produce in small spaces.

Your Roof

Roof gardening is growing in popularity. Up there, there’s plenty of sunshine for growing plants. As an added bonus, growing vegetables on a roof can be a great way to insulate a home or office space. Do your research first – you need to be able to safely access the roof and make sure it’s properly waterproofed.

Your Windowsill

No home is too small to grow herbs and salad greens for the kitchen. Potted plants can thrive even on a sunny windowsill. Freshness means low histamine, and growing your own living herbs for muffins, garnishes, main courses and salads etc. is the best way to ensure freshness. Products like the ‘Jiffy Windowsill Greenhouse” can help.

Get Plants for Free!Propagating fruit plants

You don’t have to always buy plants, seedlings and seeds. Once you have a plant, you can propagate more. Find out how to make your own new plants from old, using simple techniques such as seed-saving or taking cuttings. Propagating Fruit Plants will tell you how.

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