I still get frustrated at the lack of information on the histamine content in foods. There is barely any research on the subject and I have no idea what information most of the low histamine food lists is based on (my own included). I found the same when trying to research anti-inflammatory foods.
After listening to Dr Theo’s talk yesterday, and the fact that luteolin and quercetin are mast cell stabilizing compounds, I looked up “high flavanoid foods” and again found very little. After Googling til my fingers bled, however, I came across this site from the US Department of Agriculture which pools loads of small research studies and lists the information in a table. Hurrahhh! I then spent most of the day analysing the data and came up with a list of the highest sources of both luteolin and quercetin from the foods listed (please note, the following table is not exhaustive and there may be other really good sources which aren’t included as they haven’t been involved in research trials).
The top 5 food sources containing both luteolin and quercetin from the data are:
- Dried oregano (fresh isn’t half as potent)
- Juniper berries
- Raw radicchio
- Yellow hot chilli peppers
- Green hot chilli peppers
The amount of luteolin in dried oregano is staggering: 1028 per 100 mg, the highest source by a mile. The luteolin in juniper berries is 69 per 100mg, so you can see the difference. From the data, it appears luteolin is only found in high quantities in a small number of foods, unlike quercetin which is much more readily available.
The top 5 luteolin food sources are:
- Dried oregano
- Celery seed
- Juniper berries
- Fresh thyme
- Radicchio and chinese celery
The fact that dried oregano is much higher in luteolin than fresh is surprising, as you always think fresh is best. Celery seed, as against fresh celery, was also interesting. I then wondered how to incorporate more celery seed into my meals and thought celery salt was worth a try – commercially it’s made up of crushed celery seeds mixed with normal salt, or you can make your own by crushing the seeds and adding them to twice their quantity of regular salt. Fresh juniper berries are fairly hard to come by here in the UK, but you can get dried – there’s some information on how to use them on the BBC food website. I haven’t come across chinese celery before, and think it will only be available from Asian grocers here, but obviously radicchio is widely available.
The top 5 quercetin food sources are:
- Raw capers
- Tinned capers and raw lovage leaves
- Elderberry juice concentrate
- Raw dock leaves
- Raw raddish leaves, wild rocket (arugula), fresh dill weed, fresh coriander (cilantro), fresh fennel bulb (all being much of a muchness)
Eugh, I hate capers so am disappointed they’re both no.1 and no.2 on the list! Lovage, however, is something easily incorporated into meals, particularly sandwiches and salads. I was happy to see elderberries at no.3, as I drink Belvoir concentrated elderflower cordial and it’s gorgeous. Dock leaves are only ever something I fed my rabbit as a kid 😉 . The herbs and salad vegetables listed at no.5 are all easily added to meals.
There were a few high food sources of quercetin I didn’t include in my table, as I’d never heard of them but my overseas readers might have access to them so I’d recommend you take a look at the original list – all 146 pages of it 😉 .
Here is the table of all the high luteolin and quercetin foods I extracted. The first group lists foods high in both luteolin and quercetin. The next group lists foods only high in quercetin and the last group lists foods only high in luteolin. I only extracted foods which had more than 10 mg/100 of flavanoid.
I was surprised to see that carob flour was much higher in quercetin that regular cocoa powder (which didn’t even make the list) and I need no more excuse to make more carob chip cookies 😉 Also a surprise was how relatively low down the list kale was, as it’s widely touted online to be an excellent source of quercetin. Ditto with the “superfood” chia seeds.