Are There Low-Histamine Breakfast Cereals?

Are there low-histamine breakfast cereals you can safely enjoy with histamine intolerance?  Breakfast cereal is not always the healthiest choice, but sometimes you’re in a hurry and breakfast cereal is something you can get on the table quickly.

If you’re someone who loves to kickstart your day with a bowl of cereal but struggles with histamine intolerance, worry no more. The good news is that there are indeed low-histamine breakfast cereals you can add to your bowl and enjoy in the morning.

So, let’s dive into this crunchy topic and explore some of the options that won’t trigger those unwanted histamine reactions!

First, be aware that boxed breakfast cereals are often high in sugar and refined grains, meaning they’re not the healthiest option for a first-morning meal, or any meal for that matter!

 But if you’re looking only at the histamine content of cereal, some boxed cereals may be suitable for a low-histamine diet.

Let’s start with some popular boxed cereals and then we’ll look at a few healthier, low-histamine options that require a little more preparation.

Less Healthy Low-Histamine Breakfast Cereals

Cornflake Cereals

Corn is typically low in histamine, making cornflakes a food that typically doesn’t usually contain histamine or other biogenic amines. But you should also be aware of the other ingredients in cornflakes that could be problematic in some cases, and factor in other sensitivities that might preclude eating cornflakes.

For example, some people are allergic to corn, meaning they’ll get histamine release if they eat a bowl of cornflakes or other form of corn. Plus, corn flakes have a high glycemic index (4), meaning they’re not blood sugar friendly. So, if you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, limit the amount you eat.

Puffed or Creamy Brown Rice Cereal

Another safe option for most people with histamine intolerance is puffed or creamy brown rice cereal. These cereals are usually low histamine and are usually gluten free as well.

But be aware of additives in most boxed cereals, and if you’re gluten intolerant, ensure it was manufactured in a gluten-free facility.

What about nutrition? Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice, but some boxed brown rice cereals, especially the puffed ones, are highly processed. (5) And if you buy a boxed brown rice cereal, it may contain added sugar. However, there are exceptions.

For example, Bob’s Red Mill makes a Creamy Brown Rice Cereal that’s whole grain and contains only one gram of sugar. If you like creamy brown rice cereal, it’s one of the better choices from a health standpoint.

Cheerios Whole Grain Oat Cereal

Cheerios, the iconic round oat cereal, is known for its heart-healthy qualities. It’s made from whole grains and also falls within the low-histamine category, so you can munch on them without worrying about histamine levels.

Although Cheerios are fortified with essential nutrients, including iron and vitamin D, it’s a highly processed cereal and isn’t a blood sugar friendly option. It’s also relatively low in protein.

Although whole grains are nutrient rich, high in fiber, and beneficial for health, processing alters the characteristics of the grains and makes them less healthy. (1)

Plus, some types of Cheerios contain significant quantities of added sugar, as much as 12 grams per serving, which isn’t beneficial for your health.

So, despite its whole grain status and low histamine content, it’s still not a healthy choice as a breakfast food. However, it is unlikely to fill up your body’s histamine tank.

Tiger Nut Cereal

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional grains, tiger nut cereal might appeal to you. Made from nutrient-dense tiger nuts, this cereal offers a unique flavor profile while keeping histamine levels in check.

They’re a good source of healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, they contain compounds with antioxidant activity. (6)

Tiger nuts are a crunchy snack you can add to salads in place of tree nuts too. However, boxed tiger nut cereal may be high in sugar, so read the package carefully to ensure you’re not getting a big dose of sugar when you eat a bowl of it.

oatmeal is a low histamine cereal

Healthier Low-Histamine Breakfast Cereal Options

If you have a slow cooker, you can prepare your own low-histamine breakfast cereal overnight, and avoid the high sugar content and additives often in boxed breakfast cereal.

Let’s think out of the cereal box and look at some healthier options you can prepare in a slow cooker.

Sorghum

Sorghum, a nutrient-rich grain, is another low-histamine cereal option. Also known as Indian millet, sorghum is low in oxalates, lectins, and FODMAPs and nutrient dense.  Plus, it’s gluten free.

Along with being a source of vitamins and minerals, it also contains phenolic compounds that are antioxidants and beneficial for the gut microbiome. (2) However, some people are allergic to sorghum. So, try it in small quantities and see how your body responds.

You can enjoy it as a standalone cereal or mixed with other ingredients to create a customized breakfast bowl that suits your taste buds.  Wondering how to make your own sorghum cereal?

  • Soak 1 cup of sorghum grains in water for at least 6 hours.
  • Drain and rinse the grains before cooking them in fresh water for 45-60 minutes until tender.
  • Customize your cereal by adding sweeteners, fruits, nuts, or spices.
  • Finally, serve and enjoy your homemade sorghum cereal with non-dairy milk.
  • Get creative and savor the delicious flavors and textures of your personalized creation!

Find out whether it’s safe to add cherries to your breakfast cereal with histamine intolerance.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another low-histamine breakfast cereal, but it’s healthiest to buy old-fashioned oats or steel-cut oats and avoid packaged oats with added sugar or quick-cooking oats that cause a more pronounced rise in blood sugar when you eat them.

Steel cut oats are the least processed, making them easier on your blood sugar level. (6) The steel cut variety takes longer to cook, but you can cook them overnight in a slow cooker and wake up to hot oatmeal in the morning.

Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

Quinoa is another low-histamine grain (actually a pseudograin or seed) that you can use to make a delicious breakfast cereal. It’s also a complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids, and is a good source of fiber, along with other vitamins and minerals. (3) Plus, quinoa is gluten free.

Why not make your own quinoa at home? Here’s how:

  • Rinse 1 cup of quinoa to remove any bitterness.
  • Cook the washed quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water for 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  • Customize your cereal by adding low-histamine sweeteners, seeds, or spices.
  • Finally, serve your homemade quinoa cereal with your choice of non-dairy milk or yogurt and savor the delightful combination of flavors and textures.
  • Enjoy a nutritious and delicious start to your day!
hot quinoa cereal is a low-histamine food
hot quinoa cereal

Always Read the Ingredient List When Buying Low-Histamine Breakfast Cereal

While these low-histamine cereals are great options, it’s crucial to remember that some regular cereals may contain ingredients that are high in histamine. So, carefully check the ingredients list before buying packaged breakfast cereal. By doing so, you can ensure that you’re making a choice that aligns with your specific dietary needs.

Monitor How You Respond to These Low-Histamine Breakfast Cereal Options

In the wonderful world of food sensitivities and intolerances, know that everyone’s body reacts differently. What might be a safe option for one person might trigger a reaction in another. So, be mindful of your own unique tolerances and listen to your body’s cues.

If you suspect histamine intolerance, consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to gain further insights and personalized advice.

Are There Low-Histamine Breakfast Cereals?

Fortunately, the answer is yes! Breakfast cereals are a convenient way to start your day. If you have histamine intolerance, there are low-histamine options available to keep your morning routine enjoyable and symptom-free.

From puffed brown rice cereal to maple cinnamon Chex, these cereals offer a range of flavors and textures to suit your preferences. However, oatmeal, quinoa, or sorghum, although requiring more effort, are healthier options.

Remember, always read the ingredients list, and respect your body’s individual needs when making your breakfast cereal choices. So go ahead, grab that bowl, and spoon, and savor a satisfying low-histamine breakfast experience!

References:

  1. Tosh SM, Chu Y. Systematic review of the effect of processing of whole-grain oat cereals on glycaemic response. Br J Nutr. 2015 Oct 28;114(8):1256-62. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515002895. Epub 2015 Sep 2. PMID: 26330200. Systematic review of the effect of processing of whole-grain oat cereals on glycaemic response – PubMed (nih.gov)
  2. de Morais Cardoso L, Pinheiro SS, Martino HS, Pinheiro-Sant’Ana HM. Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.): Nutrients, bioactive compounds, and potential impact on human health. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Jan 22;57(2):372-390. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2014.887057. PMID: 25875451.
  3. “Quinoa | The Nutrition Source – Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/quinoa/.
  4. “Kellogg’s Corn Flakes nutrition, glycemic index, calories, net carbs & more.” https://foodstruct.com/food/kelloggs-corn-flakes.
  5. Saleh ASM, Wang P, Wang N, Yang L, Xiao Z. Brown Rice Versus White Rice: Nutritional Quality, Potential Health Benefits, Development of Food Products, and Preservation Technologies. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2019 Jul;18(4):1070-1096. doi: 10.1111/1541-4337.12449. Epub 2019 Jun 4. PMID: 33336992.
  6. Yu Y, Lu X, Zhang T, Zhao C, Guan S, Pu Y, Gao F. Tiger Nut (Cyperus esculentus L.): Nutrition, Processing, Function and Applications. Foods. 2022 Feb 19;11(4):601. doi: 10.3390/foods11040601. PMID: 35206077; PMCID: PMC8871521. Tiger Nut (Cyperus esculentus L.): Nutrition, Processing, Function and Applications – PMC (nih.gov)
  7. MSU Extension. (2023). Retrieved 3 July 2023, from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/steel_cut_oats_are_a_nutrient_rich_way_to_start_your_day

I'm a family physician (M.D.) from Virginia Commonwealth University. I have a passionate interest in histamine intolerance and have written a Kindle ebook on Histamine Intolerance and the role diet plays in controlling the symptoms. I also have a Masters degree in Clinical Pathology where I studied immunology extensively. I believe in lifestyle and prevention!