Coconut is no longer recommended for people with HIT

In recent years the humble coconut has increased its status from being considered almost a health risk to being an ever more popular ‘superfood’.

Coconut was originally included as a “safe” food in previous editions of “Is Food Making You Sick? The Strictly Low-histamine Diet”.

The team behind the book is always updating it to reflect the latest scientific research.

A few research sources no longer recommend coconut for HIT sufferers, though some people appear to tolerate it. Coconut has been added to the “foods to avoid” list in the book. Recipes have been revised accordingly. Look for the 2017 edition of the book. The date is printed on the front cover and on the title page.

The Strictly Low Histamine Diet is just that – strict. Our aim is to exclude any foods that possess even a minimal chance of aggravating the condition.

61 thoughts on “Coconut

  1. This advice is wonderful to see as it contradicts what out there but I find is SO true.
    I have sometimes severe histamine intolerance attacks, its under control most of the time but things that some sites say are OK (like coffee) can send me into a bad attack. I was brushing with coconut oil and for several days and out of the blue had a severe attack. I was not thinking it was the coconut but my diet had been strict otherwise so it had to be. My assumption was not only was some oil getting into my digestive system but in my blood system via my gums. For me coconut in any form is Bad news. Ive retried it and I get the same reaction. Everybodys different but this is a major culprit for me. AVOID!!

  2. I had a severe reaction after having corn flakes with coconut milk, followed by corn on the cob. I’ve tolerated both for a long time. I’m guessing the immune system can evolve to the point of adding new triggers to histamine release?

    • Hi! The last thing I tried that I reacted to is frozen organic corn. I’m trying an organic coconut milk powder in my “Chicory Coffee”. Hopefully it works. Chicory good for prebiotics that feed probiotics. Working on gut health.

    • I put 1 tsp of coconut oil in oatmeal and my hands turned bright fuschia! I was “fine” with coconut oil before I went on low-hist diet. One week today. I have many years’ adrenal exhaustion and severe inflammation. So glad to find this diet!!

    • I think there may be variation in the processing. For example, some manufacturers may let the coconut (which has some protein) sit around developing histamine while others may get it processed and canned quicker, reducing the amount of histamine able to be developed. So some brands may be less of a challenge than others, adding to the confusion. It’s like fish– the histamine content depends on how long it is left sitting around. I just today put 2 and 2 together, and can’t tolerate it. So, the fresher whatever it is, the less histamine.

      • HI, thanks for sharing this thought because I never considered this before. Have you found any brands of coconut milk and/or coconut oil that you don’t react to? If so, would you mind sharing which ones? Thank you in advance.

  3. How am I supposed to get better when my doctor’s don’t tell me squat to do or about and I have NO money fixed income and been misdiagnosed for years I also have asthma I’m 52 and on oxygen now and in heart failure because my doctor’s wouldn’t listen to me 3 yrs ago so how can I get HELP please I’m desperate and in this alone on top of it all I also have allergies to dust, dust mites, cockroaches, pollen,cats,cashews, pistachio need,mold please tell me what I can do. Sincerely, LEISA

    • I don’t know how to help, but I read your comment and my heart goes out to you.
      Sending you lots of good healing energy and hoping your are well.
      ~Lisa Marie

    • Hi Leisa, do you have histamine intolerance? Wonder if you’ve considered MCAS. Many people are finding they have this now post Covid. Have you had or been exposed to anyone with Covid? Since you said you have allergies, asthma and are now on oxygen and having heart failure, made me think Covid. Happy to share all I can with you if you’d like to connect.

    • Hi Leisa, I know what you are saying, most Doctors know squat about health.
      I have same allergies, first try a good magnesium ( no oxide) it will help with your heart & allergies… B vitamins and little more B1 helps heart beat.
      some Probiotics but go slow, for mold vinegar & oil of cloves, I spray it every where & get out side, I think it helps a bit, I bought a cheap air purifier & I Keep a window open to get as fresh air as possible. I hope this helps you as you need a bottom less bank account to get the best help. I will think of other things that i do to help & let you know if you like. BEST of Luck

    • Bag Breathing is a very old, very practical approach to reversing preventing asthma… Benadryl is a first generation Anti-Histamine otc medication. Often I can use 1/4-1/2 the dose during the day without becoming drowsy, otherwise taken in the evening bedtime most often, can help you sleep. Hoping to provide helpful suggestions, All the Best!

    • Hi Leisa, I also have extremely high histamine. Just follow the diet to reduce histamine. I’ve found that I can eat the ancient grain Einkorn wheat. I make bread and dumplings, etc with it. I can also eat heavy cream, the organic valley kind. I make a hot drink w it. Boil water and add a lot of cream. I also use purified water, reverse osmosis, .30 cents to fill up a gallon at the health food store, or wherever it’s sold. Freeze the food you make within an hour of making it, in single serve portions. Follow the low histamine diet VERY carefully. I also eat as much honey as I want, and DONT use olive oil, it’s dangerous for people w low DAO enzyme. Use only organic expeller pressed or cold pressed canola oil. I hope this helps, I was so sick n histamine was so high I would go into I think cytokine storms, where I was in extreme pain for hours.😊

    • Also had my mercury fillings taken out and two root canals. That really helped me as I believe I have a genetic problem with detoxing. I plan to take a genetic test to see exactly what my mutations are, which helps me see how I can help myself.

    • Hi Leisa, I hope you’re OK. You could try Dr Hymen’s 10 day reset. You’ll find a podcast interview w him on the HEAL Podcast. Take care….you CAN heal.

    • I’m so sorry. I too have many allergies, etc., too and have recently become aware of “leaky gut syndrome” (Amy Myers, M.D. has a website where you should be able to get free dietary advice to help with that.)
      As to histamine intolerance, I’ve read that bifidobacteria probiotics can help – specifically Bifidobacterium breve, B. longum, B. bifidum, & B. lactis. Bifidobacteria also make short chain fatty acids in the gut, which help with leaky gut syndrome.
      And I’ve read that “retinol” – which I think is found in yellow vegetables like Butternut winter squash – can help heal leaky gut. Best wishes. P.S. Honeywell makes a great HEPA air filter for allergies.

    • I have struggled with histamine intolerance for a while and have found the medical community is no help. My advice is to do your own research. Go on a low histamine diet (you will find lists on line) , take the recommended supplements. And if possible find a functional medicine doctor. And if you can afford it, go organic. No processed food or canned goods. It’s the most boring diet I’ve ever been on but it helps a lot. I have also had some luck with acupuncture for sleep but it’s expensive. I am fortunate to not be hampered with money problems and some of the stuff can get expensive. So at minimum – low histamine diet, no meat that has sat on the store shelf unfrozen (be careful with ground meats), freeze all your leftovers and thaw when you are ready to eat, defrost meat in the microwave instead of the fridge or counter. Bacteria happens and is high in histamine. I haven’t tried meditation but they say it help (reduced stress reduces reactions I think). I have seen many doctors and gave up on them. I have no medical background and am not recommending you stop seeing your doctor. I have just found that they aren’t familiar with this and I had to be my own advocate. I had to educate my doctor. Histamine intolerance is new. May be from medication we take, possible pestacides are adding to it. I believe mine started with the anti depressants I took after my husband died. It is manageable. But I miss pizza. Best of luck.

    • I ate a slice of homemade coconut cake yesterday & was awake most of the night. I ended up taking far too many antihistamine tablets just get a couple of hours sleep. Feel rubbish today.

  4. Thank you. I know for sure I cant tolerate shaved dry cocunut. However cocunut water I seem find with. Yes, very confusing.

  5. I have severe histamine intolerance, and I can tell you that coconut oil is fine for me. But fermented coconut, or dried coconut is what poses a problem. When you have histamine issues, food is best in it’s fresh raw state. Not all high histamine foods bother me, but most do. Fresh fish is fine for me, but forget shellfish, there’s no set rules. Everyone is different. I’m fine with chicken and just about any other meat. Just test the foods and you will surely know!!! I can eat tomatos, as long as it’s not a sauce from a jar. Avocados and spinach are big no-nos whether raw or cooked. The only way you’ll know is by testing.

    • This is to anyone and everyone struggling with these issues. Just wanted to share some of what I’ve learnt over the past 10 years I’ve been on this histamine journey.

      All dried fruits end up having higher histamine levels by nature. It’s best to stay clear until the gut, CNS, inflammation and reactivity in the body goes down.

      Definitely best to find a balance with histamine degrading probiotics (if tolerated, usually not standard strains that produce high hist), lots of histamine lowering foods, histamine lowering teas (like stinging nettle), exercise, sleep, meditation, yoga etc. It all adds up. IGG/IGA supplements, when my body was at a good place pushed me towards massive improvements, but it’s sadly expensive to supplement long term.

      If suspected genetic complication (mast cell activation syndrome) then do things with caution and find help. MCAS360 is a good resource for this. Beth O’Hara has MCAS and has helped a lot of people with her content, and program which tells which things to focus on to reduce or heal symptoms. DNRS, limbic system retraining, breathwork, meditation, yin yoga, chi gong, diet, supplements, etc. It’s all there. Plus a ton more.

      Cutting out high histamine foods forever isn’t good because of all the deficiencies it causes. Which can in turn cause more issues, more digestive issues, and in turn produce more severe problems. I’ve done it all over the 10 years. Find someone to work with you unless you can figure out what to do on your own. These issues are multi-layered, highly complex and can go deeper than what we can analyze with causation. Genetics can play a role here too.

      Resources I suggest looking up is:
      – Healing Histamine by Jasmine
      – FactvsFitness with anita
      – Mcas360 with Beth O’Hara

      These resources are EXTENSIVE and will give a lot of information to get the ball rolling.

      I just realized about three weeks ago I don’t have a strict histamine issue, which I thought for years. Oxalates seem to be my hidden driving factor, because of celiacs, and potentially a gene issue. Found out sarcoidosis (got granulomas in lungs) is made from oxalate crystals, sometimes binding iron to create granulomas.

      It’s best to focus on finding the root cause. Diet can do a lot, but it’s not the end all be all. If you suspect further issues, oxalates can be an issue which in turn, if not handled properly by the body, can cause dysbiosis, it blocks salicylate detox pathways as oxalates use the same. Which then makes you have histamine reactions to foods which normally would be fine (this is what I’ve connected now). The thing is, oxalate causes dumping if cut out of the diet. It has to be done cautiously and slowly over time. For me, 20 weeks of reducing the amount. has great information on this, as well as Elliot Overton and Sally K. Norton. Plus Dr. Michael Ruscio has had Sally on his podcast, and he has a ton of health info. Also got a gut protocol in his book that works for most people.

      Most of all, find support. Be patient. You’ll figure it out in the end 🙂

      Feel free to contact me. I’ll help in any way I can. Stay safe. James

      • Hi Jaimie, I was wondering if you know anything about the MTHFR mutation and methylation? This condition also causes high histamine, are you aware of what helps in this situation.

        Thank you,

    • How do you test? I’m new to histamine intolerance. I read where activated charcoal helps if taken at night. While looking it up I found activated charcoal from coconuts which lead me here. Thanks for any info

  6. So confusing! I plan to buy a copy of this book. In the mean time, can you please tell me if sesame seeds (tahini) are safe for HIT? There seem to be conflicting views on this.
    Many thanks.

    • Yes Mel, you are right, the literature about histamine-rich and histamine-provoking foods can be very confusing. Measuring histamine in foods is not an exact science because histamine levels fluctuate depending on a number of factors such as food storage conditions, how fresh the food is and so on. With the Strictly Low Histamine Diet we have taken the view that if there is any reasonable controversy about a food’s histamine status, we won’t recommend it. Taking this stance means we are being as safe as possible, but it also means the food list is quite narrow. Fortunately, the great bonus is that once your body’s histamine levels have been lowered by sticking to the diet, you can gradually re-introduce all the foods you have been missing. The Strictly Low Histamine Diet is not intended to be a life-long diet, but a relatively short-term path to wellness. And if your histamine levels rise again, you can always return to the diet for a while to make them fall. So in answer to your question – stay away from sesame seeds while you are on a low histamine diet, but re-introduce them when you feel better. I hope this helps!
      ~ James L Gibb

    • Hello Jana, the latest research casts doubt on coconut and coconut byproducts, so our 2017 updated edition of “Is Food Making You Sick” recommends that coconut sugar should be avoided by people with histamine intolerance.

    • Gillian, all parts of coconut were considered safe until new evidence was revealed. The book “Is Food making You Sick?” was revised in 2017 to reflect the ongoing nature of scientific research and we now recommend that to be “strictly” low histamine, coconut should be avoided.

          • How was this information missed for thousands of years? Can you provide evidence and links to information that proves this theory, please?

          • Hi Rod, Histamine Intolerance has been “missed for thousands of years” the same way helicobacter pylori was missed for thousands of years until 1982.
            It’s hard to detect.
            Its occurrence is due to a complex multiplicity of factors.
            In the 21st century, medical professionals still do not understand the causes of all health problems. We are still discovering the factors that contribute to disease, and we have a long way to go. The reasons why HIT is hard to detect, and the massive list of scientific citations backing up the proof that it exists, can all be found in the book “Is Food Making You Sick?”

          • Thank you!! I drank a bottle of coconut water the other day because last weekend I went to the hospital tachycardic due to severe dehydration, and malnutrition – I’ve been in a flare for a month, have hardly eaten anything, and even many things in the low histamine list are giving me grief. I’ve been reacting to the coconut water for 3 days. Has anyone here use Antronex for an antihistamine?

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