Powerful Antihistamine Juices

Recipe of the month: OCTOBER


(Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

The book ‘Is Food Making You Sick?’ contains more than 150 strictly low histamine, low histidine, low oxalate and antihistamine recipes.

In one of our blog posts we highlighted the diamine oxidase properties of dark-grown pea sprouts. Here are some ways to use those DAO-packed sprouts in delicious raw smoothies.


Sweet Mango and Pea Smoothie


2/3 cup sprouted green peas
2 cups iceberg lettuce
1 cup frozen mango chunks
3/4 cup organic apple juice
1/4 cup filtered water (or tap water)
1 tablespoon milled chia seed
If you wish you can sweeten with honey, maple syrup or sweetener of your choice.


Put all ingredients together your blender and blend at highest speed until the mixture is smooth.

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Anti-inflammatory Power Juice with Quercetin and DAO


1/2 cup of freshly dark-sprouted pea seedlings
1 small head of fresh broccoli
1 unpeeled apple, core removed
1 small knob of turmeric root


Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Drink as soon as possible.

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Easy Sprout Juice with Apple and Ginger


  • 1/2 cup dark-sprouted pea seedlings
  • 1 unpeeled apple, core removed
  • a small piece of ginger


Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Drink as soon as possible.

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Beetroot Juice with Pea Sprouts


half a medium-sized beetroot
3 celery stalks
1 unpeeled green apple, core removed
2 carrots
big handful of cilantro/coriander (with stems)
1/2 teaspoon amchoor powder
freshly ground black pepper to taste


Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Drink as soon as possible.


Should Histamine Intolerance sufferers go gluten free?

Don’t panic about gluten!

Some people believe that if you suffer from histamine intolerance you should go gluten free.

These days, there is a fashion for avoiding gluten-containing foods because ‘gluten free’ is perceived as ‘healthier’. Gluten-containing foods include wheat, barley, rye, triticale, kamut and spelt.

Gluten is a natural plant protein that helps bread rise and gives bread, cakes, pastry, pasta, noodles, and similar foods their elasticity and texture.

The truth is, gluten is only a problem for people who are non-celiac gluten sensitive (NCGS), or who have celiac disease – that is, approximately 1% of the population. (Note: NCGS is a condition that is distinct from celiac disease.)

Foods that happen to contain gluten may also be a problem for people who are sensitive to those particular foods. For example, you may not be celiac or NCGS, but you might have been diagnosed as being sensitive to wheat, for reasons other than its gluten content. People with histamine intolerance should avoid wheat germ, in any case.

If you have celiac disease or NCGS then it is vital to avoid gluten because it can cause intestinal permeability, which is also known as ‘leaky gut’. This can in turn lead to DAO insufficiency and thus to histamine intolerance. Gluten intolerance is also linked with autoimmune  diseases.

However if you are, like the vast majority of the population, perfectly capable of digesting gluten without any problems, gluten-containing foods are actually good for you. They are highly nutritious – packed with vitamins, minerals and beneficial fiber.

“Studies show that whole grain foods, as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. A 2005 report from the American Dietetic Association warned that gluten free products tend to be low in a wide range of important nutrients, including B vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and fiber. There’s also little point in eliminating just some gluten. For people who are sensitive, even trace amounts can cause damage to the small intestines. So an almost gluten-free diet isn’t going to help if you have a problem.” [Source: WebMD]

In a normal, healthy person gluten will not cause a leaky gut. And the odds are, you are one of the 99% who can digest gluten.

If you think you really might be celiac or have NCGS, ask your doctor for a test. The Celiac Disease Foundation states that there are several blood tests available that screen for celiac disease antibodies. “If test results suggest celiac disease, your physician will recommend a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.”

Even if your celiac test comes up negative, you could try avoiding all gluten for at least 30 days to see if that makes your health improve. If you do feel better, this might indicate that you have NCGS.

If you really are gluten intolerant you’d have to cut out all gluten, down to the tiniest particle. An ‘almost-gluten-free’ diet will not help at all.

Simply avoiding gluten because you think it’s ‘bad’ for you means cutting a lot of nutritious foods from your diet. You can, of course, do so if you wish, but-

  • it’s more than likely there will be no benefit in it
  • you’d have to cut out a wide range of foods, because if you check the ingredients on labels, there are traces of gluten in most pre-prepared foods
  • commercially available gluten free foods often contain higher amounts of saturated fats, refined sugars and other undesirable ingredients
  • prepared gluten free foods are usually more expensive

The book “Is Food Making You Sick?” contains a large number of gluten free, low histamine recipes. Is Food Making You Sick?

Boosting your DAO

boosting your daoAntihistamines

If you find that taking certain antihistamines significantly improves your health, then it’s likely you suffer from HIT (Histamine Intolerance). Some common antihistamine trade names include:

Zyrtec = cetirizine, an antihistamine that works by blocking histamine (H-1) receptors.
Zantac – ranitidine, an antihistamine that works by blocking histamine (H-2) receptors.

Both of these – like any medications – can have unwanted side effects. However, these are generally outweighed by their benefits, at least in the short term. Taking them is a good way to hit your symptoms hard and really get them to settle down. If you wish to follow up the potential side-effects of Zyrtec and Zantac, click on these links: Zantac   Zyrtec

That said, taking Zantac and Zyrtec is not a long-term solution. It’s like putting a bandage over an infected wound – it looks okay from the outside but the problem remains. Besides, over time the body can develop resistance to the meds. Then they gradually lose their efficacy and you go back to ‘square one’.

About Boosting Your DAO

We suggest that HIT sufferers:

  • Make sure none of your other medications (if any) are DAO (diamine oxidase) blockers, which might have brought on your symptoms in the first place. If possible – and under medical supervision – try to wean off them.
  • Stick to the Strictly Low Histamine Diet and its associated dietary supplements. A low histamine diet with safe, natural supplements has no unwanted side effects and for many people it has provided that ‘miraculous’ relief they have been seeking. It doesn’t take months and months to get a result – only a few weeks.
  • Another essential is dietary fiber. Consuming abundant fiber has been proven, in numerous studies, to decrease inflammation in the body (and the reverse is true of a high fat diet). It can actually improve the binding ability of the histamine H-1 receptor.
  • Stress can be a powerful trigger for Histamine Intolerance too, so it’s important for people with HIT to treat themselves kindly and allow themselves time to relax. For anyone with HIT who is reading this post, we recommend visiting the Helpguide website and looking at their excellent Stress Management Guide.
  • Protect and heal your intestinal mucosa. The body produces DAO in the small intestine, the upper part of the large intestine, and the kidneys. To help protect and heal the mucosal lining of your intestines, include the spice turmeric and brassica vegetables (e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, )in your diet. Prebiotics and probiotics, too, play an essential role in the healing of the gut.
  • Protect and heal your kidneys. Your kidneys may be perfectly healthy, but there are still things you can do to make sure they stay that way – and to boost their DAO producing capabilities. The Kidney Foundation of Canada recommends that people with kidney disease should ‘control your salt intake and avoid foods with a high sodium content. These include processed foods like “deli” meats, canned foods, convenience and “fast” foods, salty snacks and salty seasonings.’ They also say, ‘Phosphorus is a mineral which normally keeps your bones strong and healthy. However, too much phosphorus may cause itchy skin or painful joints. When the kidneys start to fail, your blood phosphate level will rise. Therefore, you may need to limit certain foods which contain even a moderate amount of phosphorus. These include milk, cheese and other milk products, and protein foods such as meat, fish and poultry.’

Natural Sources of DAO

Pea sproutsPea Sprouts to boost your DAO

Numerous people have written in asking for more information on natural sources of diamine oxidase (DAO), so we’ve brought forward this post. (The promised recipes for home-made pH balanced shampoos will appear in the following post.)

When our diamine oxidase enzyme levels are low we can suffer from histamine intolerance. A number of legumes contain especially high levels of DAO. According to Dr Janice Joneja, eating these legumes as sprouts can provide us with a natural diamine oxidase boost.

NOTE: It is fine to take DAO by mouth to relieve symptoms in the short-term, but what you should be aiming for is to heal the gut so that you will not need to be taking DAO supplements.  It is wiser to heal your body to the extent that it can manufacture its own DAO, rather than depending on outside sources. The only way to achieve this is by following a Strictly Low Histamine diet for long enough to allow the healing process to take place. This  healing period varies from person to person, and takes longer with severe cases of histamine intolerance. Taking oral DAO supplements is like putting a bandage over a festering wound. It will not fix the problem, merely temporarily mask it.

The new seedlings of all legumes can provide us with DAO, but green pea sprouts are the best sources.  Lentils and chickpeas are also good.

DAO is high in legume seedlings because the diamine oxidase helps the plant to build its structural components, such as its stem, when the baby plant is forming. Diamine oxidase begins to be produced about three days into the development of the seedlings. It increases to its maximum at about 10 days, after which it decreases because the plant no longer requires it.

Highest Possible DAO concentrations

When seeking DAO from natural sources we need to obtain the highest concentrations possible, because the process of digestion itself can destroy the DAO before it works its magic on our histamine levels.
Histamine intolerance specialist Dr Janice Joneja says: ‘The research indicates that up to 4% of the total protein content of the seedlings can be diamine oxidase. Being a protein, it’s also subject to digestion and then of course the diamine oxidase itself will be broken down in the process of protein digestion, so it’s a matter of seeing how much can be absorbed and how much of it is still active. But it is still absorbed in the small intestine, so it doesn’t have the entire length of the digestive tract to be exposed to digestive enzymes.’

Dark-Grown Sprouts

To increase the levels of DAO in your home-sprouted legumes, grow them in darkness. Sprouts that are grown in the dark have a higher level of diamine oxidase. Diamine oxidase is a protective enzyme for both humans and plants. Thus, when plants experience stress, they produce more of it.  When seeds grow in the dark they have to struggle. This struggle produces a much higher level of diamine oxidase. Dark-sprouted pea shoots will appear lank and pale (‘etiolated’. They may not look as vibrant and healthy as green sprouts, but their content of  diamine oxidase will be approximately five times higher than the content of bright green seedlings grown in sunlight. They are therefore better for people with Histamine Intolerance.

About Store-bought Pea Sprouts

You can buy pea sprouts that have been commercially grown and bagged. Eating them may be somewhat beneficial to your health, but they have the following disadvantages:

  • Their DAO levels vary greatly
  • They may have languished on the shelf for a while, and not be super-fresh. Thus their histamine levels may be high.
  • They are generally grown in sunlight or artificial sunlight  – that’s why they are green. Therefore their DAO levels are much lower.

About  Store-bought Pea Sprout Powder

Store-bought pea sprout powder can also be used. It is difficult, however, to estimate exactly how much DAO it contains, which means we cannot know what dosage to take on a daily basis for optimum benefit. Dr Joneja recommends mixing a cupful a day with water and taking that, to see if you get any benefit.

Benefits of Home-grown Pea Sprouts

Growing pea sprouts at home has numerous benefits.

  • Quick – your crop can be ready for harvest in less than ten days.
  • Easy – they can be grown indoors, and need no soil.
  • Cheap – you can sprout dried ‘soup peas’ from the supermarket.
  • Higher DAO – grow them in the dark and their enzyme levels will be far higher.
  • Flexible – grow them anytime.
  • Compact – you can grow them in small spaces.
  • Delicious –  sprouts can be consumed raw in juices.
  • Nutritious – in addition to DAO, pea sprouts are packed with vitamins A and C and folate.

How to Grow Pea Sprouts/Seedlings

Obtain peas that are intended for eating, not for planting. Pea seeds that are sold for planting in gardens may have been dusted with chemicals to inhibit mold or to kill insects. Choose fresh green peas from your greengrocer or dried peas from the grocery section of your supermarket. Do not select dried peas that are salted, frozen, split or processed in any way. Try to find organic peas. Freeze dried peas are fine. (Shop online for them here.)

  • To avoid bacterial contamination, do not grow seedlings in soil.
  • Do not sterilize the pea seeds. If you heat them, you will deactivate the diamine oxidase enzyme.
  • Rinse the peas in clean, cool water.
  • Place the peas in a bowl, and cover them with more clean water.
  • Allow them to soak for 12-24 hours.
  • Place the seeds in a clean seed-sprouting bag or other sprouting equipment (see below) and leave the bag in the dark (such as a drawer or cupboard, or wrapped in a thick towel), for 7-10 days; no later. Do not leave them in the refrigerator – they need to be at room temperature, at least.
  • Two or three times a day, rinse them with clean water to hydrate them. Always tip out all of the water to drain the peas thoroughly. Do not forget to rinse them or they may become moldy. One trick for remembering is to rinse them whenever you clean your teeth.
  • Continue the process for 8-10 days. Pale shoots will emerge from the peas and start to grow.
  • Harvest the sprouts.
  • Juice them raw and consume them straight away. Do not heat them – heating destroys DAO.
  • Mature sprouts have sets of two leaves.
  • Rinse sprouts before for juicing. If you wish, you can wrap them in a lettuce leaf to help the juicing process and make sure the nutrients are extracted.
  • See our sprout juice recipes here.
  • Store leftover sprouts in the refrigerator in a sealed bowl containing a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Use the sprouts within a week.

Note: Sprouts that start to look rather brown in color should be discarded because they are past their use-by date. Over-aged sprouts may also release a yellowish liquid in their container.

Pea-Sprouting Equipment

  • Bags: Seed-sprouting bags are drawstring bags made from a closely-woven, natural fabric (not plastic) such as cotton or hemp. You can make your own or buy them commercially. Seed-sprouting bags are made by stitching together two rectangles of cotton or hemp, with a drawstring opening.
  • Jars: The cheapest seed-sprouting equipment is a clean glass jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with clean stockings or pantyhose, held in place by an elastic band. The pantyhose acts as a strainer when rinsing the peas with water.
  • Commercial: You can also purchase commercial seed-sprouting equipment. In the electrically-powered versions, the water is automatically filtered through.
  • Make sure you position all your sprouting equipment in a pitch dark place while your seeds are growing.

How to use Pea Sprouts/Seedlings

Use your pea sprouts in smoothies, rather than eating them in their unprocessed form. Diamine oxidase enzymes exist to help the plant build the wall of its cells, so they are attached to those cell walls.
Your normal chewing and digestion will not readily break those bonds. By whizzing the sprouts in a blender you will make the DAO  more readily available for your body to absorb. Do not put the juice through a strainer – it’s vital to consume the whole plant, cell walls, fiber and all. See our recipes here.
We recommend taking one cup every day.

Other natural Sources of DAO

Another natural source of diamine oxidase is kidneys. Make sure you buy fresh ones and cook them as soon as possible, or freeze them to stop histamine from developing.