Are pretzels low histamine? If you’re someone who is conscious about their histamine levels and looking for snack options that won’t trigger histamine intolerance symptoms, you might wonder whether snacking on pretzels is an option.
Histamine intolerance occurs when there is an imbalance between accumulated histamine and its degradation, resulting in symptoms that mimic allergic reactions. (1) If you don’t break down histamine efficiently and you snack on high-histamine foods, it could increase your histamine level and trigger histamine sensitivity symptoms.
The symptoms of histamine intolerance vary greatly and may include headaches, hives, digestive issues, and more. (2) One study found that the most common symptom of histamine intolerance is bloating. (2) but you can experience a wide array of symptoms with this condition.
Managing histamine levels through diet is often a key component in alleviating these symptoms. Some snack foods will increase your body’s histamine burden. Are pretzels one of those? Let’s dig deeper.
Should You Eat Pretzels with Histamine Intolerance?
While pretzels are a popular snack choice, you need to be aware of their histamine content and whether they can be considered low in histamine.
Pretzels are usually made from simple ingredients like flour, water, salt, and yeast.
It all starts with a simple dough made from flour, water, yeast, salt, and sometimes a touch of sugar or oil for added flavor. Pretzel makers combine and knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic, making it easier to work with. This process helps develop gluten, giving pretzels their distinctive chewiness.
Now that you know pretzels contain gluten, you know that they shouldn’t be part of your diet if you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
However, you can buy gluten-free pretzel brands made with gluten-free flour, such as rice or potato flour. For example, Snyder’s and Quinn’s snacks makes a gluten-free pretzel.
The ingredients in pretzels, in their raw form, are not typically high in histamine. However, the fermentation process they undergo can potentially increase the histamine content of pretzels.
Therefore, the histamine content can vary depending on how they’re processed and what they’re seasoned with. However, most pretzels, even commercially made ones, are not known to aggravate histamine intolerance symptoms.
Still, yeast, a common ingredient in pretzels, can be a source of histamine. During fermentation, yeast breaks down sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, producing histamine as a byproduct. This histamine content can vary depending on the type of yeast used and the fermentation time.
According to some sources, it’s not yeast that cause histamine formation during fermentation but bacterial contaminants. So, the source isn’t completely clear. On the plus side, the amount of histamine that forms doesn’t seem to be enough to trigger histamine intolerance in most people.
And, as mentioned, some pretzels may contain additional flavorings, such as spices or seasonings, which can also contribute to histamine levels.
Listen to Your Body if You Have Histamine Intolerance
If you choose a simple brand of pretzel or make your own, pretzels are low in histamine. Note that everyone’s histamine tolerance is unique, and what may trigger symptoms in one person may not affect another.
If you suspect histamine intolerance or have been advised to follow a low histamine diet, it’s wise to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs.
If you enjoy pretzels but want to minimize histamine intake, there are a few steps you can take. As mentioned, opt for fresh, homemade pretzels where you have control over the ingredients and fermentation process. This allows you to choose brands with lower histamine-producing potential and avoid the spices in commercial pretzels that could be problematic.
It’s also possible to be allergic to or intolerant of yeast. Between 1 and 2 out of every 100 adults have yeast intolerance, which is less severe than having a yeast allergy, but still inconvenient. (3)
Reading labels and selecting pretzels without added flavorings or preservatives can help reduce potential histamine triggers. It’s also worth considering the overall balance of your diet and incorporating a variety of low-histamine foods to support histamine management.
Low-Histamine Snack Alternatives to Pretzels
Although pretzels, especially homemade ones without additives, are low in histamine, they’re not a nutrient-dense snack, especially if they’re made with white flour. Plus, white flour and refined grains cause blood sugar spikes that aren’t healthy. However, pretzels are low in histamine, in most cases.
If you want a healthier alternative that’s easier on your blood sugar, look for whole-grain pretzels without high-histamine spices or additives, or make your own.
If you buy manufactured whole grains pretzels, they’re usually made with a variety of whole grains, both gluten-containing and gluten-free grains. (4)
Whole grain pretzels also contain more fiber than pretzels made from white flour, which is a benefit for blood sugar control.
Also, look for brands that are lower in sodium, especially if you have medical conditions like hypertension or heart disease where sodium intake can be an issue.
Another more nutrient-dense crunchy snack alternative is homemade zucchini chips or kale chips. You can make them with a home dehydrator to remove the moisture and make them crunchy.
Also, popcorn and corn tortilla chips are low in histamine if they contain no additives or spices that trigger histamine release.
You can also munch on raw low-histamine fruits or vegetables and skip the pretzels and chips entirely. This is a more nutrient-dense choice that’s easier on your waistline too.
For example, you might enjoy dipping carrots, bell peppers, or celery sticks into hummus made without high-histamine spices. Hummus made with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, and olive oil is safe for most people with histamine intolerance.
Are Pretzels Low Histamine?
Can you eat pretzels if you have histamine intolerance? While pretzels may not be inherently low in histamine, your individual tolerance may differ from someone else’s.
Plus, you may have food intolerances, independent of histamine sensitivity. So, keep tabs on how you respond by keeping a food diary where you document what you eat, including pretzels, and your symptoms.
Remember, finding the right balance between enjoying your favorite snacks and managing histamine levels is a journey of self-discovery.
With proper guidance and an understanding of your body’s unique response, you can make informed choices to support your health and well-being.
Snacking isn’t as easy when you have histamine intolerance, but there are low-histamine snacks, including pretzels, that won’t raise your body’s histamine level. Now find out whether the mustard you dip pretzels into is low histamine.
- Shulpekova YO, Nechaev VM, Popova IR, Deeva TA, Kopylov AT, Malsagova KA, Kaysheva AL, Ivashkin VT. Food Intolerance: The Role of Histamine. Nutrients. 2021 Sep 15;13(9):3207. doi: 10.3390/nu13093207. PMID: 34579083; PMCID: PMC8469513.
- Schnedl WJ, Lackner S, Enko D, Schenk M, Holasek SJ, Mangge H. Evaluation of symptoms and symptom combinations in histamine intolerance. Intest Res. 2019 Jul;17(3):427-433. doi: 10.5217/ir.2018.00152. Epub 2019 Mar 7. PMID: 30836736; PMCID: PMC6667364.
- “Yeast Allergy”. Www.Healthline.Com, 2023, https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/yeast#tests. Accessed 9 Jul 2023.
- “FoodData Central”. Fdc.Nal.Usda.Gov, 2023, https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1852554/nutrients. Accessed 9 Jul 2023.