Are Olives High in Histamine? Exploring the Facts



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I’m a Naturopath, MTHFR & Methylation Specialist. I’m dedicated to helping you achieve your health goals so you can live a vibrant & fulfilling life

Are Olives High in Histamine? Exploring the Facts


Olives are a beloved ingredient in various cuisines, known for their rich flavor and versatility. However, if you have histamine intolerance or sensitivities, you may wonder whether olives could potentially trigger symptoms. In this article, we’ll delve into the question: Are olives high in histamine? Let’s explore the facts and shed light on the relationship between olives and histamine levels.

Understanding Histamine and its Effects:

Histamine is a naturally occurring compound in the body that plays a vital role in the immune response. However, for individuals with histamine intolerance, excess histamine can lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches, rashes, digestive issues, and more.

Olives and Histamine Levels:

Olive lovers can rejoice in the fact that olives themselves generally have low histamine levels. However, the processing methods involved can sometimes be a concern. Pickled olives, for example, are typically safe due to their low pH levels and the salt used as a preservative. The acidic environment inhibits the growth of bacteria that produce histamine, making pickled olives less likely to contain high histamine levels.

Vinegar and Histamine Release:

While pickled olives are generally safe, it’s worth noting that some brands may use vinegar as a preservation method. Vinegar, particularly certain types like red wine vinegar, can act as a histamine releaser in some individuals. Therefore, if you have a sensitivity to histamine, it’s advisable to be cautious when consuming olives preserved in vinegar.

Flavor Enhancers and Histamine Reactions:

Another aspect to consider is the presence of flavor enhancers in some olives. Some brands may include glutamate-based additives to enhance the taste. If you suspect sensitivity to glutamate, it’s advisable to check the ingredients list or choose brands that avoid using such additives, as glutamate is known to potentially trigger histamine reactions in sensitive individuals.

Oxalates and Histamine Connection:

Although olives themselves may be low in histamine, they contain high levels of oxalates. Certain foods, including olives, contain sharp crystals called oxalates that have the potential to cause tissue damage. When the immune system reacts to this tissue damage, histamine release from mast cells can occur. This histamine response can lead to symptoms such as flushing, itching, gastrointestinal discomfort, and headaches in susceptible individuals.

Salicylates in Olives:

Additionally, it’s important to mention that olives, particularly green olives, contain a naturally occurring compound called salicylates. Many plants contain salicylates, which can lead to adverse reactions in certain individuals. Symptoms of salicylate sensitivity may include rashes, itching, swelling, headaches, stomach cramps, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect salicylate sensitivity, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional for further guidance.


While olives themselves are generally low in histamine, it’s essential to consider the processing methods, presence of vinegar or flavor enhancers, and the potential impact of oxalates and salicylates. Individual sensitivities and intolerances vary, so it’s crucial to listen to your body and determine what works best for you. If you have concerns or experience adverse reactions, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or allergist who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs. Enjoy olives mindfully, and embrace a diet that supports your well-being.


This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

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