Bone broth is one of the most recognized food staples that aid in healing and sealing the gut. Please check out my “What is a delicate belly?” post if you are not sure “what the heck” I am talking about. But in summary, if you have allergies, food sensitivities, food cravings, bloating and other GI discomforts, chances are you are suffering of an imbalance in your gut flora; and consequently Leaky Gut Syndrome. Bone broth is incredibly nutrient dense since it’s rich in several vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids (especially calcium, phosphorus and magnesium). And because you are not what you eat, but what you actually digest, rest assure that another awesome benefit of bone broth is that it’s incredibly easy to digest; especially for a delicate belly that has so much trouble digesting foods due to a lack in beneficial flora in the gut.
Now I need to explain what is the deal with the “Low Histamine Bone Broth” in the title of this recipe, which is a pretty bold statement. I didn’t know what histamine really was until we embarked on the GAPS diet. While my oldest son thrived on this diet, my youngest son deteriorated. I couldn’t figured out why a diet rich in nutrients, filled with fresh and clean meats, vegetables, ferments and legumes could have such a negative impact on him. After a lot of research, battling through symptoms such as hives, rashes, extreme itching, sleepless nights and other discomforts, we figured out that histamine intolerance was the culprit. Most of the foods, especially meats, broths and ferments we were consuming had a high content of histamine. These foods contain bacteria capable of producing histamine.
Histamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates many physiological functions in the body. But your body has a sort of histamine tolerance “bucket”. Once that bucket is full, if the body can’t break it down, the bucket will overflow causing a range a problems, from allergic reaction type symptoms, such as skin eruptions, throat swelling or even GI distress such as diarrhea or heartburn . The common body’s response is for histamine to be released when it’s needed and specific enzymes in the gut will break it down. But when our gut flora is compromised sometimes the body is not able to do that job properly. Wouldn’t you know that histamine intolerance is also the result of a gut flora imbalance? We found ourselves in a situation where trying to fix the gut imbalance and heal the gut was causing more problems than what we anticipated. How to get the gut flora built without the side effects we were experiencing? The answer was to start with a nutrient dense but low histamine diet, increasing the body’s ability to break down histamine slowly. During that time I learn a few things about histamine intolerance: It’s a good idea to avoid eating left-overs since bacteria in the food will use oxygen to produce histamine. Meats needs to be fresh for consumption so buying meats/fish that are frozen quickly after their harvest and cooked as soon as you get home from the store are best! Vacuum sealing foods or freezing them as soon as you make them also inhibits the production of histamine.
So, to keep histamine levels low in my broth I buy the meat from my farmer, which makes sure it’s frozen as soon as it is harvested. I bring a cooler with me at meat pick up to keep it a very low temperatures and either place it in my deep freezer as soon as possible or cook it right away. After cooking, we either eat it right away or, I freeze it right away. As soon as my broth is ready and it’s taken off the heat, I have a large stainless steel bowl, a strainer and my silicon molds ready for freezing. So I have a nutritious broth that is low in histamine as well for the rest of the week! Best of both worlds!
Low Histamine Bone Broth
For a lower histamine version you can strain broth as soon as it is ready and freeze it right away in silicon trays like these. You can also use other types of animal bones for this broth, or even a whole chicken!
- Beef Soup Bones - 1 package (approx. 3 lbs)
- Onion - 1 cut in half
- Carrots - 3 cut in half
- Garlic cloves - 4 crushed
- Kosher salt - 2 Tbsp
- Apple Cider Vinegar - 1 Tbsp
- Garlic powder - 1 tsp
- Onion powder - 1 tsp
- Oregano - 1 tsp dried
- Cilantro - 1 tsp dried
- Parsley - 1 tsp dried
- In a pressure cooker add all ingredients.
- Add filtered water until all ingredients have been covered
- Set stove heat to high until pressure builds up. Once pressure is stabled set heat to medium-low
- Cook for 2 hours.
- Serve immediately or strain broth and freeze right away in silicon trays.
Nice article Fabiola – We are making bone broth today for the first time! What do you do with the broth once it is made?
Hi, Annetta! We do many things with our bone broth. We drink it daily for gut healing and we also add to sauces, soups a many other recipes that require chicken or beef broth. Hope you liked it!
great article- wondering if there is a recipe you use for low histamine bone broth? I use beef bones and Turkey – tried chicken don’t like it as much.
Thank You for sharing 🙂
I am a little confused by your question. The recipe above is my low histamine bone broth. But if you want to use any other types of meat, the same rules would apply. Keep extreme temperatures so bacteria doesn’t have a chance to produce histamine!
Hmm, I don’t see a recipe above either.
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Do you ever use the meat in your broth making?
Yes, I do! I freeze it and add to other recipes! I tried to make my life as easy as possible 🙂
So low histamine is just freezing it right away so bacteria cannot form? I had heard from a friend a long time ago it had to do with how long you simmered it…is there any accuracy in that statement?
Yes, your friend is correct as simmering does not allow the temperature on the pot to be hot enough. So yes, that would contribute to histamine production in your pot to rise. That is why we prefer to use a pressure cooker since it cooks the meat faster in high temperature. Take into account cooking time and time for food storage since histamine content may double every 20 minutes. Bacteria will not be able to product histamine in extreme temperatures (hot or cold). When thinking of histamine product, the two variables to take into consideration are temperature and time.
If you use a whole chicken, do you need to remove the skin? I have read the skin is high in histamine but am not sure if that is cooked skin or uncooked skin. I am in this situation now where I did an elimination diet and filled my bucket all the way to the top! Struggling now to get everything back in order.
I used the skin on mine and haven’t noticed a difference. The biggest factor for us is how fresh the chicken is. But I can see how the skin would have the most amount of histamine if the chicken is left unattended. One of the specialists we consulted with had suggested that browning the meet would help with histamine content since histamine production correlates to exposure to oxygen (or being out of extreme temperatures). So maybe removing the skin of the chicken could have the same effect. You just need to take into account how long it would take you to remove the skin as time is of the essence when it comes to bacteria producing histamine.
Thank you for your website!
It is really helpful, being histamine intoleranz and understanding that my gut need to be healed I was wondering how..and you just give me the answer 🙂
My question is: if I buy a whole chicken, I won’t eat it right away, so better is to take all the bones out and just as much as pieces of chicken I need (and frozen directly the left over) and cooke the meat into the bones ?
Isn’t it risky with histamine? Will it be just better to cooke only the bones? But I mean we probably need to eat the meat with it too to heal well..?
And maybe also pour out the skin of the chicken (which contains histamin) right?
Thank you so much!
Thank you for your comment. What you can do to reduce the histamine producing bacteria is: 1: buy your chicken as fresh as possible or buy it frozen. 2. When you get home cook as quickly as possible. If your chicken is fresh – wash it off, brown it a bit to remove the histamine producing bacteria, before adding water and spices for your broth. If your chicken is frozen you have time! Some people like thawing it in a microwave but I don’t have one due to its effects on nutrient content. I throw my frozen chicken into a pressure cooker with the water and spices so it can warm up as quickly as possible, not giving the bacteria a chance to start producing histamine. 3. When done cooking just have everything you will need to separate your meet and broth ready. Time is your enemy when it comes to histamine production. You can separate the meat and the bones, freeze the bones right away if you want to reuse them. Freeze the meat and broth quickly if you are not going to consume it right away.
Hi! Thanks for your great suggestions! 😀
I have the slow cooker, very comfortable to prepare the broth and very good though the cooking is too slow and produces histamine. I was wondering if I would use fast cooking? Because I tried using the pressure cooker for 1h and I do not know if I have a savings because the taste is not as good as with the slow cooker.
Hi, Francesca! Thank you for your comment. I used to make perpetual broth which was crazy high in histamine and nobody at my home would be able to tolerate it when we were still healing from low histamine issues. I am not sure on the taste difference between slow cooking and a pressure cooker. What you need to decide is if you prefer taste over the effects of high histamine in your body. If your family is not histamine intolerant, I would go for the taste, but if they don’t feel too good after eating broth made on a slow cooker, than go for the pressure cooker. Either way, this receipt would work for both cooking styles 🙂
Hey there, thank you so much for this post! I am a little confused by this though. From my understanding, cooking foods in a pressure cooker doesn’t exactly mean that the temperature is higher, but that they cooking method of being pressurized is what makes the meal cook faster. Wellness mama explains it well here: https://wellnessmama.com/77757/pressure-cooker-nutrients/
So if this is the case, would using a pressure cooker really reduce the histamines?
Hi, B! Thank you for your comment. I guess I should have explained a little better. In a pressure cooker, the temperature will rise quicker and the meal will be cooked quicker. Histamine production has a lot to do with timing. The longer the meat sits in regular temperatures, the more histamine will be produced. So a pressure cooker is great option for histamine intolerant individuals since it cooks your meal faster. I hope this answers your questions!
Hi, Thanks so much for this. Two questions. Can this be done with a crock pot? I don’t have a pressure cooker. And, how do you scrape the fat off? My understanding is that you don’t want to consume the fat. But if it is frozen right away, won’t the fat not rise to the surface?
Hi, Alyssa – thanks for your comment. If you decide to do this in a crockpot just know it will not be low histamine since the crockpot takes a while to get to a higher temperature. This gives bacteria more time to create histamine. If you don’t have a pressure cooker I would recommend you doing this in a regular pot. I would also not scrap the fat as it has a lot of nutrients as long as you are getting your meat from a farmer you trust. The animal needs to be grass-fed in a field that is not sprayed with pesticides or that is not fed with genetically modified grains. Look for organic meats!
Hi! Thks for the interesting article. I’m just starting on this journey to see if histamine intolerance is the reason for my issues. Questions:
1) you speak of time being very important – so, is it ok to put very hot bone broth in the silicone molds(never used them). Do you cover them before putting them in the freezer. Any other ideas for freezing in larger quantity?
2) apple cider vinegar…..Isnt this high histamine?
Hi, Wendy! Thanks for visiting the site. Silicon molds can withstand heat up to 400 F so you are ok putting your broth on them as it won’t be that hot. As for apple cider vinegar, we use it to pull more nutrients out of the bones. The amount we use is very small but if you feel it still bothers you, I recommend you leave it out until your symptoms improve. As for the molds, I fill them up slowly. I put two of them side by side on top of a cutting board and fill them up. Then I place some bleach free parchment paper on top to cover and then a flexible plastic cutting board on top of that. Then I stack another two silicon mold trays on top and fill those up, covering them with another sheet of parchment paper. Then I stick that all in my freezer! It’s a balancing act the first time you do it, but that is the only way I found to make that work. Hope this is helpful!
So, has this help heal you from histamines? Just the low histamine diet and bone broth???
Hi, Erika! Thanks for your comment. Histamine intolerance is caused by chronic inflammation and an imbalance in your gut flora. There are specific bacteria in our guts that metabolizes histamine. Our bodies have histamine buckets. If we don’t have the right flora in our gut to metabolize histamine and experience chronic inflammation or consume histamine rich foods, our buckets will keep filling until they overflow (causing your typical histamine reactions). If you are histamine intolerance that just means you might have a smaller bucket or a full bucket and also an imbalance in your gut. You can fix the overflowing problem by consuming low histamine foods. But the only way to heal yourself is to address the inflammation and seal and replenish your gut flora. Broth will help seal the gut and give your body the nutrients to fight inflammation. Then replenish your gut with good bacteria by taking probiotics and, once your gut is sealed enough and your histamine bucket is not so full, you can consume fermented foods to replenish the good flora in your gut even faster. Hope that makes sense!
Thank you for this. I have made bone broth for years, now in my InstantPot. Today I learned that bone broth is high in histamines … I seem to be intolerant. QUESTION: What makes this recipe have lover histamines? The fact that the bones stay chilled and you freeze the broth immediately? And/or using a pressure cooker? I can’t tell what makes that much difference. I appreciate your thoughts.
Hi, Marti! Thanks for your comment. The different is the extreme in temperature. Bacteria can’t produce histamine in extreme temperatures. You have a temperature and a time factor here. A pressure cooker gets hot quicker than regular cooking methods, so that alone helps histamine production to stay low. Then once you make the broth you can consume it right away or freeze it right away. I hope that makes sense!
Hi… thank for your article. I am currently dealing with histamine intolerance and with the purchase of and Instant Pot started making bone broth. I didn’t realize that I might be helping my issue with the broth so that is good news.
I love the broth I have produced and is a wonderful gelatinous consistency.
Now you say you have broth every day – are you freezing all your broth immediately then taking out of the freezer each day?
I love the idea of putting them in smaller silicone molds for easier storage but I know I’ll spill it – my freezer is small with little space to place flat…. any ideas? Thanks!
Hi, Slo! I know exactly what you are saying. It’s a pretty tricky process to transport the molds to the freezer. What we do is lay the molds out on a cutting board to transport and put it in the freezer that way. I cover each mold with chlorine free parchment paper and then a plastic soft plastic cutting board on top and then stack 2 levels of molds side by side. It really works well and then the next day you can remove the broth cubes and store it in ziplock bags. I hope that makes sense but don’t hesitate to reach out if it doesn’t. Thanks so much for visiting the blog!
Thank you so much for such a great article. I will try your recipe as soon as I find a local farmer that has fresh frozen bones. So far I have found out, here in Washington state, all of the meat is aged before it is frozen, so that it becomes tender. How did you find the right farmer? And how do you heat up the broth that is frozen? Just sticking it into a pot, and heating it up?
Hi, Ana! Thanks for visiting the blog. I am glad you enjoyed the article. I actually found my farmer through a referral from another like minded momma in town. Whenever I am not sure where to find something, I always ask my friends. The other great thing about our farmer is that they are familiar with our diet. Another way to find good farmers is to visit farmer’s market and just talk to them. Ask how they raise their animals, ask about their diets. You will notice their passion for what they do right away. To me those are the farmers I tend to gravitate to. As for how to heat up the broth, you are right! Just throw it in a pot to heat up and add veggies, an egg yolk or even add to other recipes. Hope you enjoy it!
Hi – thanks for this. Do you put hot broth in your freezer? Isn’t that bad for the freezer?
Hi, Poppy – thanks for your comment. I have been putting hot food in my freezer for quite a while and haven’t had a problem so far. But I would rather have an issue with my freezer than my our bellies 🙂 Thanks for visiting the blog!
Hi – I like to store broth in mason jars in the freezer. To prevent cracking the jars because of going to fast from hot to cold, I have been storing the broth overnight in the fridge before pouring it into mason jars. But maybe this has been producing histamine?? Perhaps, pouring the broth in the mason jars and THEN not leaving it too long in the fridge- just enough to cool it some to keep the jars from cracking in the freezer?? Or is this the reason you use the silicon molds to avoid the problem of histamines due to waiting to avoid extreme temperatures which can lead to broken glass? I appreciate it any insights you have. I think I need to make a few changes– and not let bones it in pot for too long before turning on heat. I have boiled the broth — rolling boil and then simmer it inside the oven at about 200 in a stainless steel pot overnight. However, the oven will kick off by itself in the night and the broth will cool down (and I guess thereby produce histamines) Anyway, thank you for your ideas. Best– Olga
Hi, Olga! Yes, you are correct. The reason I don’t use mason jars is so that it doesn’t crack. If the food is not at a temperature where bacteria cannot produce histamine, the amount of histamine will double every 20 minutes. If you are highly histamine sensitive I would keep that in mind. But if you feel the method you are using works and you don’t see any reactions, then that should work fine!
Hi! Your info seems mostly practical, except I will have to find a different way to freeze…I am confused though…Am told by an FM doctor that onions, garlic, and apple cider vinegar are ALL naturally high-histamine producing foods? My immune system is terribly compromised and I want to be very careful. Any clarification would be great. Thanks
Thanks for your comment! There are different takes unfortunately on studies for high histamine foods. If you noticed there are some different lists out there as well. What we did in the beginning was to keep high histamine foods at a minimum. But as my son’s gut healed with nutrition, we were able to experiment with more foods. In your situation, I would keep garlic, onions and the apple cider vinegar to a minimum and see how you react. Since those are very nutritious ingredients, I would work on increasing them gradually. Hope this is helpful!
Hi! Do you reuse your beef bones after making a batch of broth? Would that increase the histamine level of the next batch? I have been throwing them out. I use the Instantpot too.
Hi, Lorie – I will reuse them if they are not completely falling apart. What I do is to freeze them right away as I freeze my broth. If I feel they have taken out all I could from them, I just put them on my compost bin.
Hi! Thank you for your article. I have been trying for years to heal my and my kids food sensitivities, asthma, and dysbiosis with diet, probiotics, broth, etc. We really have gotten nowhere. I think histamine is a big issue because it turns out we can’t tolerate the bone broth (granted, I was just storing in refrigerator as we went through it very quickly). Right now we’re actually very sensitive to eggs and chicken, so that is another factor, as I was mostly making chicken bone broth. We started ordering grass fed beef from a local farm and I’m interested in trying a low histamine broth. We are basically eating just beef, radishes, diakons, turnip, and small amounts of broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, & peppers. We do eat blueberries and raspberries daily, but we can’t tolerate any other fruits: allergies to pear, apple, banana and sensitive to most other fruits. I have recently taken off all supplements including probiotics. Any suggestions for adding probiotics back in? And really any other suggestions on how to jump start this healing that I just can’t seem to do on my own? And how and when to add foods back?
Hello, Cara! Thanks you for your comment and for sharing what you have been doing. I honestly have been where you are so many times. Having tried so many diets, supplements, different practitioners…. Spending so much money trying different things, taking foods and supplements in an out. Trust me, I know how frustrating it can be. I can’t really tell you when it’s safe to add foods back as I can’t give you medical advice, but I can share a few things that we did. I believe in the premise that histamine intolerance and food intolerance as a whole has to do with leaky gut. It’s imperative to heal the gut lining and I can tell from your response you understand that. But how can we heal the gut with gut healing foods when we can’t tolerate them, right? The key for us was to not just look at foods but what other factors could be causing inflammation in the body to make it react so severely. For my most sensitive child, it turn out there were things in our house, such as the off-gasing of his mattress that was causing problems, for example. I was able to address that with NAET. I am not sure if you had heard of that or not, but it was really helpful for us. The doctor we used was also able to pinpoint through muscle testing, what were the best supplements to add to help heal my kids gut. NAET practitioners are very skilled at that. Once we addressed foods, external factors specifically and were able to pinpoint the right supplements his body needed at that time, we were slowly able to add some healing foods to help strengthen the body and the gut. Fermented foods, when we were able to tolerate them, were better than any probiotic we could have given him. Colostrum was also another wonderful helper. Another thing I would recommend is for you to check out the work of Dr. Zach Bush. He knows everything about the gut and has some really great products that target tightening the gut junctions. This helps calm down the immune response by sealing the gut temporarily before meals. This products also help “fertilize” the gut lining so that the microbiome is able to repopulate, giving a chance for the leaky gut can heal. I hope this is helpful. Much luck and love to you and your family.
Has the bone broth + gaps diet brought healing to your sons histamine sensitivities?
Hi, Jen – Yes, this nutrient dense food brought a lot of healing to my sons. They opened the possibility for the introduction of new foods without tummy upsets and allergy reactions.
I have had a histamine intolerance for over 30 years. I want to tel you apple cider vinegar is a nightmare for me. I can have homemade bone broth but not with apple cider vinegar . For over 20years I have successfully tolerated distilled white vinegar as a replacement for any vinegar. It is distilled and unlike all other fermented vinegars. Hope this is helpful for other histamine intolerant folks out there.
You mentioned if you do not have a pressure cooker the next best way to make bone broth is on the stove top. If using the stove top, would you bring to a boil, then simmer for 2 hours still or shorter amount of time? And I assume the rest is the same, freeze immediately. And how do you brown a whole chicken? Thanks.
Hi, Judy! Yes, if not using a pressure cooker you can bring it to a boil and then simmer for 2 hours or until cooked. And, yes, it’s very important to freeze it right away. Browning the chicken is not needed. What we do is once the broth is ready, we remove the whole chicken as best as possible and baked it in our toaster oven for until golden.