Are cranberries low histamine? You already know that diet matters if you have histamine intolerance. If you overwhelm your body with high-histamine foods and have a reduced ability to break histamine down, you’ll end up with the familiar symptoms of histamine intolerance.
That’s something you want to avoid.
That’s why it’s important to do your research and know whether the foods you’re eating contain histamine or whether they stimulate the release of histamine. (Also known as a histamine liberator)
The objective of this article? To find out whether cranberries, famed for their nutritional value, stand as a low histamine option, offering potential benefits to those navigating histamine sensitivity. Ready to take a closer look?
Are There Histamines in Cranberries?
First, the good news. Cranberries are not known to be a high-histamine food. In fact, they are listed on the SIGHI-Leaflet Histamine Elimination Diet list as being a fruit well-tolerated by those with histamine intolerance. (4)
However, the amount of histamine and other biogenic amines in cranberries varies depending on their age and any processing they undergo. So, cranberries may not be completely histamine free, depending upon their age.
Age is the enemy of low histamine, as older fruits and other food have more opportunity to accumulate histamine-producing bacteria.
You sometimes see fresh cranberries listed as high in histamine, but there’s no evidence to support this. But as mentioned, you can’t say cranberries are histamine free, as you don’t know how they were grown or processed, or how old they are.
But among the histamine intolerance sufferers I’ve worked with, no one has experienced a worsening of their histamine intolerance symptoms after adding cranberries to their diet.
Unlike some other red, juicy berries, like strawberries and kiwifruit, which are histamine liberators, fresh cranberries typically don’t trigger or worsen histamine intolerance symptoms for most people.
Cranberries Are High in Salicyclates
But let’s look beyond histamine. Are there other components in cranberries that could trigger symptoms? Cranberries are high in salicylates, chemicals in some plants that protect them against predators.
Some people are sensitive to salicylates and must keep them out of their diet. This is something to keep in mind if you have salicylate sensitivity.
Also, know that everyone has differing tolerances to foods. You may respond differently to cranberries because you’re reacting to some other component in cranberries, like salicylates.
That’s why it’s so important to keep a food diary and monitor your response closely when you add a new food to your diet.
Are Dried Cranberries Low Histamine?
Unlike fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, which may contain sulfites and other preservatives, can be problematic for some people with histamine intolerance. If you love cranberries stick with fresh ones and monitor how your body responds to them.
In general, you should avoid dried fruits if you have histamine intolerance and consume only the freshest, low-histamine fruits. Plus, they’re a more concentrated source of sugar due to their lower water content.
Is Cranberry Juice Low Histamine?
Cranberry juice is tricker than fresh cranberries. On the plus side, cranberry juice, with its high concentration of polyphenols, has anti-inflammatory activity. However, commercial cranberry juice may contain various additives that may be intolerable for some.
You should also know that manufacturers sometimes use fruit other than cranberries to make commercial cranberry juice. And there’s the problem of too much sugar. Commercial cranberry juice often contains a significant amount of sugar – and that isn’t healthy for anyone.
Be sure to read the label and know the ingredients and how much sugar a bottle of cranberry juice contains.
On the plus side, Trader Joe’s sells pasteurized 100% cranberry juice with no added sugar. If you enjoy cranberry juice, this is a good choice, but introduce small quantities into your diet and see how you react to it.
Also, know that cranberry juice without sugar is tart and not taste bud friendly for everyone.
Be aware that almost ANY fruit juice can contain varying amounts of biogenic amines, including histamine. (5) Biogenic amines can build up in all types of fruit juice, especially if you store it for a long time.
Processing, heat, and age can all increase the number of biogenic amines, including histamine, in fruit juice. Other biogenic amines include tyramine, putrescine, and cadaverine.
So, the take-home message is to drink only the freshest cranberry juice, without additives, and no added sugar. (When possible) That’s a good rule of thumb for any fruit juice that you drink.
Also, avoid fruit juice made from fruits known to be high in histamine.
Is Cranberry Good for Histamine Intolerance?
Cranberries contain a variety of bioactive compounds (1). Structuring your diet around anti-inflammatory foods helps counter the negative impact of histamine on your body.
Still, you don’t want to overwhelm your body with high-histamine foods, even if they have anti-inflammatory benefits.
The first rule is not to increase your body’s histamine burden. However, there may be benefits to eating fresh, low-histamine fruits rich in anti-inflammatory compounds.
Cranberries also contain bioactive compounds called polyphenols. (6) Along with their ability to fight inflammation, some studies suggest that polyphenols and other components in cranberries, may have anti-cancer properties. (2)
This is an area that needs more research, so always talk to your doctor about what foods to eat and avoid if you have other medical conditions.
Plus, other research showsthe polyphenols in cranberries reduce inflammation of the type that contributes to cardiovascular disease. (3)
So, cranberries are a healthy snack and fresh cranberries are unlikely to boost your body’s histamine burden. But you’ll have the least risk if you eat fresh cranberries and only drink cranberry juice that’s fresh and free of additives.
Avoid dried cranberries, as they contain sulfites and additives that can trigger histamine release if you’re sensitive to them.
Cranberries and Histamine Intolerance
Are cranberries low histamine? If they’re fresh and unprocessed, they’re most likely low in histamine. But know that cranberry juice may contain some histamines or other biogenic amines if it underwent processing or is not fresh.
- Côté J, Caillet S, Doyon G, Sylvain JF, Lacroix M. Bioactive compounds in cranberries and their biological properties. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Aug;50(7):666-79. doi: 10.1080/10408390903044107. PMID: 20694928. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20694928/
- Neto CC. Cranberry and its phytochemicals: a review of in vitro anticancer studies. J Nutr. 2007 Jan;137(1 Suppl):186S-193S. doi: 10.1093/jn/137.1.186S. PMID: 17182824.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17182824/
- Abstract 19732: Low Calorie Cranberry Juice Reduces Risk Factors of Cardiovascular Disease in Adults. Circulation. Published online 2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1161/circ.126.suppl_21.A19732
- Domingues Neto, Francisco José et al. “Improvement of biogenic amines in grape juice from Vitis labrusca and hybrid grapes grown in different training systems.” The Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 98 (2022): 223 – 232.
- Wang, P., Du, C., & Francis, F. (1978). ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF POLYPHENOLIC COMPOUNDS IN CRANBERRIES. Journal of Food Science, 43, 1402-1404. https://doi.org/10.1111/J.1365-2621.1978.TB02502.X.