Bunnies love carrots and many humans do too! But is it safe for you to enjoy them with histamine intolerance? Are carrots low in histamine?
For decades now, we have heard a lot about the importance of eating vegetables and not enough people are getting the message. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 10 % of the American population gets enough fruits and vegetables daily (at least 5 servings per day). That means 9 out of 10 are falling short. (1)
Only plant-based foods contain significant fiber and if you aren’t eating some fruits and vegetables or other plant-based foods, you’re probably not get enough fiber either. The average person consumes around half of the recommended amount of fiber.(2) That’s a serious fiber shortfall!
Fortunately, there are many low-histamine vegetables you can enjoy on a low-histamine diet but there are exceptions. However, you’re a little different than someone else with histamine intolerance, and you may have other food sensitivities and intolerances that make even a low-histamine vegetable hard for you to enjoy. Now, let’s explore the question: are carrots low in histamine?
Carrots, Histamine, and Histamine Intolerance
If you love carrots, you’re in luck. This crunchy, orange veggie is low in histamine, one type of biogenic amine that can trigger histamine intolerance symptoms. Another consideration is whether carrots contain other biogenic amines that can also trigger histamine sensitivity symptoms. Some of the most common biogenic amines from food sources include agmatine, spermidine, spermine, cadaverine, and putrescine.
Fortunately, carrots do not appear to be high in biogenic amines, meaning it’s unlikely they’ll increase your body’s histamine burden or worsen histamine intolerance symptoms. The most common biogenic amine in fresh vegetables is putrescine, a mildly toxic amine that occurs in small amounts in all living things. (3)
Some studies find that storing vegetables, including carrots, for periods of time leads to higher levels of biogenic amines, including putrescine. So, don’t buy carrots, toss them in the crisper, and forget about them. If you have histamine intolerance, use them within a day or two after purchasing them and look for the freshest ones at the supermarket.
If you can’t use carrots quickly, it’s safer to buy frozen carrots. Manufacturers of frozen vegetables, freeze their veggies right after harvest, before bacteria can accumulate on carrots and produce biogenic amines. Freezing carrots prevents biogenic amine producing bacteria from building up and producing biogenic amines like putrescine.
Are Carrots Low in Histamine: Does How You Cook Them Matter?
Another interesting question is how cooking affects the histamine content of vegetables including carrots. One study found that grilled and fried vegetables have higher levels of histamine than raw vegetables. (4) So, it’s best to avoid these cooking methods if you want the lowest histamine carrot dish possible.
You may have encountered sources who say that boiling reduces the histamine content of vegetables. At least in this study, boiling either had no effect on the histamine content of vegetables or slightly reduced it. (4)
Another thing to know about histamine and carrots is that you shouldn’t save carrots in the refrigerator as leftovers to eat later. As a general rule with histamine intolerance, the fresher the food, the safer it is.
When you save foods for later, bacteria that produce biogenic amines will increase. So, low-histamine foods as leftovers could trigger histamine intolerance symptoms.
Enjoy the Nutritional Benefits of Low-Histamine Carrots
Carrots are a nutritional powerhouse. Being a root vegetable, you’re probably most familiar with the orange variety of carrot, known for being high in beta-carotene, an anti-inflammatory nutrient and precursor to vitamin A. (6) Beta-carotene is linked with heart an eye and immune health. (7)
Carrots are available in other colors including purple, red, white, and yellow shades. No matter their color, carrots are not known to be high in histamine or other biogenic amines. Purple carrots have an additional health perk though. They contain other anti-inflammatory compounds called anthocyanins linked with heart and blood vessel health. (8)
Beyond beta-carotene, carrots are a good source of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin, potassium, and folate for producing healthy red blood cells. Folate also plays a key role in replication of DNA, the genetic material inside cells.
Carrots are also an excellent source of fiber for a healthy gut microbiome. Carrots contain polysaccharides (a type of carbohydrate) with prebiotic properties. Prebiotics supply food for healthy gut bacteria that make-up your gut microbiome. (5) So, the prebiotics in carrots helps support gut health.
Is Carrot Juice Low in Histamine?
Are carrots low in histamine! Yes, but what about carrot juice? If you enjoy a delicious cup of fresh-squeezed carrot juice (I know I do), are you still getting the benefits of a nutrient-rich beverage that’s low in biogenic amines? Carrot juice is low in histamine, but carrot juice contains little or no fiber. Therefore, carrot juice will cause a more pronounced rise in blood sugar than eating whole carrots will. That’s something to keep in mind if you are diabetic or prediabetic.
The Bottom Line
Are carrots low in histamine? They are naturally low in histamine and other biogenic amines. Here are some guidelines for eating carrots if you have histamine intolerance:
- Don’t store fresh carrots for more than a day or two. Use them quickly.
- If you can’t use carrots fast enough, buy frozen carrots.
- Don’t eat carrots or any other foods as leftovers. Bacterial production of biogenic amines increases during storage.
- Add a source of fat to carrots (extra-virgin olive oil is a good choice) to increase absorption of beta-carotene.
Enjoy low-histamine carrots in moderation and eat more carrots as opposed to drinking carrot juice. Although carrot juice is a nutritious beverage, it won’t help you meet your fiber requirements and it will cause a more significant rise in blood sugar that it’s best to avoid.
- “Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables ….” 16 Feb. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/division-information/media-tools/adults-fruits-vegetables.html.
- “Dietary Fiber Intake of the U.S. Population.” https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/DBrief/12_fiber_intake_0910.pdf.
- Sánchez-Pérez S, Comas-Basté O, Rabell-González J, Veciana-Nogués M, Latorre-Moratalla M, Vidal-Carou M. Biogenic Amines in Plant-Origin Foods: Are They Frequently Underestimated in Low-Histamine Diets? Foods. 2018;7(12):205. doi:10.3390/foods7120205.
- Chung BY, Park SY, Byun YS, et al. Effect of Different Cooking Methods on Histamine Levels in Selected Foods. Annals of Dermatology. 2017;29(6):706. doi:10.5021/ad.2017.29.6.706
- ”Carrot extract modulates microbiome and protects against ….” 29 Jun. 2020, https://www.nutraingredients.com/Article/2020/06/29/Carrot-extract-modulates-microbiome-and-protects-against-leaky-gut-study-suggests.
- Anti-inflammatory Activity of β-Carotene, Lycopene and Tri-n-butylborane, a Scavenger of Reactive Oxygen Species. In Vivo. 2018;32(2). doi:10.21873/invivo.11232
- Johra FT, Bepari AK, Bristy AT, Reza HM. A Mechanistic Review of β-Carotene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin in Eye Health and Disease. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Oct 26;9(11):1046. doi: 10.3390/antiox9111046. PMID: 33114699; PMCID: PMC7692753.
- Iorizzo M, Curaba J, Pottorff M, Ferruzzi MG, Simon P, Cavagnaro PF. Carrot Anthocyanins Genetics and Genomics: Status and Perspectives to Improve Its Application for the Food Colorant Industry. Genes. 2020;11(8):906. doi:10.3390/genes11080906.