Are potatoes high in histamine?
If you have histamine intolerance, you might have questions about what is safe to eat and what foods will aggravate your histamine sensitivity symptoms. There are few “yes’s” and “no’s” with this condition.
What triggers symptoms in some people might be well tolerated in others. But there are some generalizations you can make about diet and histamine intolerance.
Certain foods, like fermented foods and foods that aren’t fresh, are problematic for everyone with histamine intolerance, while other foods cause symptoms in some people, but not others.
Keep a Food Journal
You’ll have to experiment a bit to determine what your tolerance for certain foods is. You can do this by keeping a food journal. It’s a learning process that can pay off with a renewed understanding of what your digestive tract will and won’t accept without rebeling.
One favorite food that many people think they can’t live without is the potato. Most people love potatoes. In fact, potatoes rank at the top of the list of American’s favorite vegetables, along with lettuce and tomatoes.
Americans love them boiled, baked, and even fried, although that isn’t the healthiest preparation.
You might wonder whether eating potatoes is known to aggravate histamine sensitivity symptoms. What should you know about potatoes if you have histamine intolerance?
Potatoes and Histamine Intolerance
You should always determine your own response to a food by keeping a food journal and documenting your symptoms. when you eat a certain food.
However, potatoes are not known to be high in histamine, and they don’t increase the body’s histamine burden. Most people with histamine intolerance can eat them without problems.
You can also eat potatoes if you have other food-related issues, like gluten sensitivity. In addition, it’s uncommon to be allergic to potatoes.
Be aware of how you prepare potatoes though. As mentioned, frying them into a crisp French fry does nothing but negative things for your health. One study even found that French fries top the list of foods that are bad for health. (1)
You don’t want to eat potatoes raw either. Raw potatoes contain glycoalkaloids, natural toxins that can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. (7) Glycoalkaloid levels are highest in raw potatoes that have turned green or contain sprouts.
Fried Potatoes and Mortality
The study followed 4440 people for 8 years. It found that consuming fried potatoes often was linked with a higher risk of mortality over the course of the study.
They’re not sure why eating French fries might boost mortality, plus it’s only an association, and doesn’t necessarily show causation. But French fries are the least healthy way to eat a potato.
However, French fries are often cooked in unhealthy fats and the process of frying potatoes creates chemicals called acrylamides that may increase the risk of cancer, although this is unproven in humans as of yet. (2)
Despite these findings, Americans consume 116 pounds of white potatoes and about two-thirds of that are friend potatoes, including chips. Americans love their French fries! You can avoid the oils by frying them in an air fryer, but there are healthier ways to prepare potatoes.
The Nutritional Content of Potatoes
Since you can likely tolerate potatoes even if you have histamine intolerance, you might wonder how nutritious they are. Although white potatoes fall short in comparison to some non-starchy vegetables, like broccoli or kale, they are not devoid of nutrition.
White potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C with one serving supplying almost a third of the recommended intake of vitamin C daily. Plus, they contain substantial quantities of potassium, a mineral important for blood pressure control, and vitamin B6. They also contain modest amounts of fiber.
Are Sweet Potatoes a Healthier Option?
The biggest difference between sweet potatoes and white potatoes is sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory activity, but a portion of the beta-carotene you take in, your body converts to vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in potassium.
Don’t Overdo Potatoes With Histamine Intolerance
Potatoes cause a more pronounced in blood sugar than other non-starchy vegetables. Spikes in blood sugar contributes to insulin resistance and increased inflammation. That’s not what you want if you have histamine intolerance.
Enjoy potatoes in moderation, but don’t eat them as a substitute for non-starchy vegetables that don’t aggravate your histamine sensitivity symptoms.
According to Harvard Health, eating a cup of potatoes raises blood sugar as much as eating a handful of jelly beans or drinking a can of soft drink. (3)
Sweet potatoes can also cause blood sugar spikes, although you also get the added benefits of the anti-inflammatory effects of the beta-carotene.
If you’re choosing between white potatoes and sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes add extra nutritional punch.
Reduce the Glycemic Effect of Potatoes
Did you know there’s a way to reduce the blood sugar spike you get when you eat white potatoes? After cooking a potato, place it in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
The cool temperature in the refrigerator will convert some of the starch in the potato to resistance starch. (5) That’s a benefit since resistance starch doesn’t cause a rise in blood sugar.
When you refrigerate a potato, around 40% of the starch becomes resistance starch and you get a reduced blood sugar response. It’s okay to cook the potato after refrigerating it since the resistant starch remains stable once it forms.
Resistant starch has other health benefits too. It has a similar effect to fiber on your digestive tract and even has anti-inflammatory benefits.
Bacteria in your gut convert resistant starch to short-chain fatty acids that keep the lining of your digestive tract healthy and reduce inflammation.
There’s even some evidence that eating a diet rich in resistant starch may lower the risk of colon cancer due to the anti-inflammatory benefits of the short-chain fatty acids. (6)
The Bottom Line
If you have histamine intolerance, you will likely have no problems eating potatoes. Most people with histamine overload issues tolerate potatoes without a problem.
But keep in mind that starchy potatoes cause significant blood glucose spikes that can increase the inflammatory burden on your body. That’s why it’s a good idea to limit how often you eat them.
Watch how you prepare potatoes too. If you bake or boil potatoes, try the resistance starch method to increase the resistant starch content of the potato. The resistant starch is healthy for your gut and blood sugar.
When you have histamine sensitivity, constant testing to determine what your body will tolerate is important. Keep your food journal up-to-date, so you can fine tune your diet to give you the fewest histamine intolerance symptoms.
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 106, Issue 1, July 2017, Pages 162–167, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.117.154872
- “Acrylamide and Cancer Risk.” https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/acrylamide.html.
- “The problem with potatoes | The Nutrition Source | Harvard ….” 24 Jan. 2014, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2014/01/24/the-problem-with-potatoes/.
- “Foods that spike a patient’s blood glucose are not what ….” 14 Mar. 2019, https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/diabetes/foods-spike-patient-s-blood-glucose-are-not-what-you-think.
- “Cooling Some Foods After Cooking Increases Their Resistant ….” https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cooling-resistant-starch.
- Higgins JA. Resistant starch: metabolic effects and potential health benefits. J AOAC Int. 2004 May-Jun;87(3):761-8. PMID: 15287677.
- Mensinga TT, Sips AJ, Rompelberg CJ, van Twillert K, Meulenbelt J, van den Top HJ, van Egmond HP. Potato glycoalkaloids and adverse effects in humans: an ascending dose study. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2005 Feb;41(1):66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2004.09.004. Epub 2004 Dec 10. PMID: 15649828.