Choosing the right onion with histamine intolerance & mastcell deseases

Without onions, the most food lacks taste, the certain something is missing. It hits really hard especially if you are standing at the beginning on a histamine desease and come to the point where you have to deal with everything you should´nt eat anymore, if you wish to stay healthy. Pleasant is something else. But let me tell you that there are onions we can eat! Even without fearing symptoms after we enjoyed our food.

A little food-science:

The first candidate is the white onion. It is the south-european relative to the common used onion. The common onion contains a high amount of so called liberators. They are based on amino acids like tyrosine and tryptophan, which will be synthesized by the body into biogenic amines and will trigger your own mastcells to “degranulate”- to pour out their contents into the local body tissue to activate an immune reaction. Your bodylevel on histamine is rising, if it hits your personal tolerance border, you´ll develop symptoms. That is why you´ll have also to avoid foods that are generally high with those biogenic amines. Please do not mistake the white onion with the common one! It has a white peel and is often also called sweet onion, because it´s milder than it´s sister with the brown peel. It does conatin low amounts of amino acids, so you can eat it as much as you like. I personally use it for everything, where I supposed to use the common one and I don´t miss anything! Maybe you´ll have to search for it a little. I buy mine at turkish supermarkets or at german ALDI supermarkets. Tip: If you buy a larger amount you can cut and freeze them. That way you always have some available.

Liberators & biogenic amines

  • Biogenic amines: histamine count to the group of biogenic amines. Their names are connected to the amino acids their based of: histidine to histamine, tyrosine to tyramin, tryptophan to serotonin and so on. They cause the same symptoms like histamine.
  • Liberators (lat. Liber=free): Activating the mastcells to degranulate. They contain over 200, some sources even speak of over 600, different substances that are triggering a cascade of immun reactions. Liberators are some of the biogenic amines, alcohol, additives in food or cosmetics and a lot of foods themselves. That is why we have to eat restrictive if we want to stay healthy. Restrictive does not mean to eat one-sided or boring!
  • Mastcells, Mastocytes: Belong to the group of white blood cells (Leukocytes) and are therefore an important part of our immune system. They exist within any of the intermediate tissue in our body. They distribute their content normally as an reaction to IgE-antibodys, as part of the normal immune reaction. In people that suffer from a histamine desease, that reaction is non-immunologic to biogenic amines, additives and drugs. That is why it is labeled as a pseudoallergy.
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Mild, south-european white onions. Also known as sweet onions.
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Attention! Please do not mistake the common onion as a white onion just because it´s white when peeled!

The probably sweetest onion in the world

The second candidate is a not well known speciality from Italy: The Rosso Cipolle di Tropea or red Tropea onion from Calabria. It was very hard to find it in a local store. I only got lucky because my husband Denis bought them on a supermarket that just had a special italy week. Since then I got mine from a german trader on Ebay, that runs a local store for italian gourmet foods at the other end of Germany. As you can see on the picture below, they have long, green leaves. In this state you will probbly only find them at a daily market in Italy. You will probbaly more likely find them with the characteristic braid, made out of the dried green leaves. This, and the name “Tropea” will make sure you got the right one. The name is protected and only allowed to use for this original calabrian type. By the way: Have you ever eaten sweet onion marmelade? It is made out of tropea and tastes heavenly on bread or as a sauce when your are having a barbecue.

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Cipolle di Tropea with fresh, green leaves.
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Cipolle di Tropea with its characteristic braid

I hope, this article was helpful for you. You can print it via the button down below. Please share this knowledge with other affected people or with professionals. Leave a comment, watch my recipe videos on YouTube, sub to my Pinterest or join my Facebook groups for histamine-low recipes or for help for your questions. You can find the buttons top right on the main website.

Have a nice a symptom-free day. ♡

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