Cooking, histamines, MCAS

Cooking method affects histamines

According to a 2017 study on how cooking method affects histamine content of select foods, grilling and frying increased histamines whereas boiling did not. I wish they’d measured the effects of steaming, sautéing and a few other cooking methods, but we know from research on AGE’s (inflammatory compounds called advanced glycation endproducts) that cooking methods that are “wet” — e.g., steaming, boiling, or lightly sautéing with water—produce less inflammatory food than cooking methods that use dry, high heat and lead to browning of the food, such as frying, roasting, grilling and even baking.

If you want to experiment with cooking methods, to see if they help reduce inflammation or mast cell symptoms, some potentially helpful changes include steaming veggies instead of roasting; more soups and stews; turning down the heat to sauté and putting more water in the pan; enjoying more raw veggies; eating sprouted nuts and seeds instead of roasted ones; finding raw nut butters to replace roasted nut butters; boiling soybeans (making edamame) instead roasting into crunchy snacks; boiling chickpeas to make hummus instead of roasting them to make crunchy snacks; boiling and perhaps mashing potatoes in place of French fries; eating pasta instead of bread; steaming fish instead of grilling; avoiding puffed grains including rice cakes and eating boiled or steamed grains instead. For me, some of these things make a big difference. For example, roasted nut butters always make my knees get inflamed, but raw or sprouted nut butters don’t. I’d be interested to hear if others notice substantial differences.

One interesting exception in the study was eggs. Cooking method didn’t change their histamine content as it did with other foods. Good news, perhaps, for MCAS patients who love their eggs fried. They didn’t test every food, so there may be other exceptions.

If you want to see the details, the full study is here.

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