Is pumpkin high in histamine? When it comes to managing histamine intolerance, one question that frequently arises is whether pumpkin is safe to enjoy on a low-histamine diet.
The internet is rife with conflicting information on this subject, creating confusion about the histamine content of this popular fall vegetable.
Can you eat or should you avoid pumpkin on a low-histamine diet? In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of pumpkin and its relationship with histamine intolerance.
The Complex Nature of Pumpkin and Histamine
What does science say about histamines in pumpkin? One study that tested a variety of plant-based foods, including pumpkin, found that only avocado, tomato, spinach, and eggplant contained high levels of histamine.
The study found that pumpkin had little or no histamine. (1)
However, some sources claim that pumpkin is a “histamine liberator.” This peculiar term describes foods that can elevate histamine levels within the body, even though they aren’t inherently high in histamine themselves.
The theory is that certain foods cause mast cells (histamine-releasing immune cells) to release histamine. This ambiguity is one of the reasons behind the confusion regarding whether pumpkin is low histamine.
However, I can find no scientific evidence that pumpkin is a histamine liberator. But the story takes a different turn when we discuss canned pumpkin puree and canned pumpkin pie.
These canned variants tend to be higher in histamine, primarily due to the way they’re processed and preserved. Also, be aware that fresh pumpkin is prone to spoilage, even when you refrigerate it. (6)
So, use it quickly, within a day or two to limit histamine build-up.
Unraveling the Canned Pumpkin Paradox
The higher histamine levels in canned pumpkin products can be attributed to the canning process itself. Canning involves sealing the contents in an airtight container, which can lead to histamine accumulation over time.
One study that looked 20 canned food items found that canned foods can contain histamines. Of the items they tested, canned tuna and sauerkraut contained the highest average histamine content. (3)
So, be wary of canned foods, including canned pumpkin. This histamine buildup is further exacerbated when the canned pumpkin is stored for extended periods.
Plus, stores carry both canned pureed pumpkin and pumpkin pie mix. The latter often contains added sugar and spices that may not be histamine friendly. Therefore, it’s safest to stick to fresh pumpkin if you have histamine intolerance.
The Nutrient Composition of Pumpkin
Pumpkin’s nutrient makeup is impressive. Boasting a meager calorie count yet brimming with an abundance of essential nutrients, delve into the depths of that vibrant orange flesh, and you’ll uncover a wealth of vitamins such as A, C, and E. (4)
You’ll also find a diverse spectrum of vital minerals, including potassium and magnesium. By now, you’re probably wondering about the histamine content of pumpkin seeds.
Are Pumpkin Seeds High in Histamine?
Beyond being low in histamine, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, wholesome fats, and micronutrients like zinc.
Could Pumpkin Be Beneficial for Histamine Intolerance?
If you consume only fresh pumpkin that isn’t too ripe, the histamine content will likely be low or non-existent. And there are some ways pumpkin could be beneficial for histamine intolerance. One positive is the fiber content of pumpkin.
The dietary fiber in pumpkin can promote healthy digestion. (5) This can be especially beneficial for individuals with histamine intolerance, as digestive issues are often associated with this condition. A well-functioning digestive system can help reduce the likelihood of histamine buildup.
Plus, the vibrant orange color of pumpkin indicates the presence of antioxidants, particularly beta-carotene. Antioxidants play a role in combating oxidative stress and inflammation, which is beneficial if you have histamine intolerance.
These are the antioxidants in pumpkin:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Also, know that how you prepare pumpkin can affect its antioxidant content. Roasted pumpkin had the lowest flavonoid content at 12.09g/kg, while pumpkin soup stood out with the highest recorded content at 17.96 g/kg, a statistically significant difference at P≤0.05. (2)
Conclusion: Is Pumpkin High in Histamine?
Although fresh pumpkin is not known to be high in histamine or other biogenic amines, the histamine content of pumpkin can vary with its age and processing.
For example, canned pumpkin will likely contain more histamine than fresh pumpkin and the histamine content may rise as the pumpkin ripens and ages.
That’s why it’s wise to introduce only modest quantities of pumpkin into your diet until you see how you respond. Keep a food diary and track your symptoms with each new food you add, so you can identify patterns.
While pumpkin can be part of a histamine intolerance-friendly diet due to its low histamine content and potential health benefits, individual tolerance varies.
If you’re unsure, talk to a healthcare expert who can create a personalized diet plan that ensures you’re getting enough essential nutrients while managing your histamine intolerance symptoms. This is especially true if you have other health conditions or take medications.
But for most people, fresh pumpkin, in moderation, doesn’t worsen histamine intolerance symptoms.
- Fresh pumpkin typically has low to no histamine content.
- Canned pumpkin products can have higher histamine levels due to processing and storage.
- Fresh pumpkin is rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins A, C, and E.
- Pumpkin seeds are a valuable source of protein, healthy fats, and micronutrients.
- Fresh pumpkin’s dietary fiber can promote healthy digestion, beneficial for histamine intolerance.
- Pumpkin’s antioxidants, like beta-carotene, may help combat inflammation.
- Introduce pumpkin gradually, monitor your body’s response, and keep a food diary.
- Consult with a healthcare expert for personalized dietary guidance.
- Most people with histamine intolerance can tolerate fresh pumpkin in moderation.
- Use fresh pumpkin quickly to prevent histamine production by bacteria.
Now, discover whether dragon fruit is high in histamine.
- Sánchez-Pérez S, Comas-Basté O, Rabell-González J, Veciana-Nogués MT, Latorre-Moratalla ML, Vidal-Carou MC. Biogenic Amines in Plant-Origin Foods: Are they Frequently Underestimated in Low-Histamine Diets? Foods. 2018; 7(12):205. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods7120205. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6306728/
- Lotfy, Tesby M. R. et al. “Effect of Different Cooking Methods on Natural Antioxidants in Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) Products.” Australian Journal of French Studies 14 (2017): 17-24.
- Taylor, Steve L et al. “A SIMPLIFIED METHOD FOR HISTAMINE ANALYSIS OF FOODS.” Journal of Food Science 43 (1978): 247-250.
- Nutrition Facts for Canned Pumpkin. myfooddata. Published 2019. Accessed September 1, 2023. https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-facts/168450/wt1
- Mora-Flores LP, Casildo MT, José Fuentes-Cabrera, Hugo Alexer Pérez-Vicente, Guillermo de Anda-Jáuregui, Elier Ekberg Neri-Torres. The Role of Carbohydrate Intake on the Gut Microbiome: A Weight of Evidence Systematic Review. Microorganisms. 2023;11(7):1728-1728. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms11071728
- Tesby M, Lotfy, Marwa Z, Mahfouz, Youssef amp; Effect of Different Cooking Methods on Natural Antioxidants in Pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) Products. Alex J Fd Sci & Technol. 2017;14(2):17-24. Accessed September 1, 2023. https://ajfs.journals.ekb.eg/article_16282_d0001edc81e4240b39727e4495cf699b.pdf