Low Kimchi = Low Immunity

In the post Hunting Headaches: Remaining Suspects in Early 2012, I listed a few ideas to test that might be causing my late night headaches. Idea #2 was histamines in food. It is unfortunate that histamines are in fermented foods. I love kimchi and sauerkraut. To test this out, I have drastically reduced the amount of fermented foods I’ve been eating. The very small amount I have is now restricted to the early morning hours. I’m still testing the histamine hypothesis, but it does appear to be at least a partial explanation as the cause of my headaches.

Back in the days when I used to eat grains and not eat fermented veggies, I would get sick on a frequent basis. In fact, it was one brutal head cold in June 2007 that forever changed my life. It forced me to reexamine my thoughts on nutrition. Not only did I stop getting sick, but my skin improved and I got flat abs for the first time in my adult life.

This past weekend I was at a table with someone who¬†said “I might be coming down with something”. Since I don’t get sick anymore, I didn’t care. I felt invincible. Well, I got nailed. Granted the symptoms are far less than they were back in 2007. In fact, the symptoms were so mild that I wasn’t even certain that I had a cold until I start sneezing last night. Had I been on my full regiment of kimchi, I don’t think I would have gotten sick. Besides eliminating wheat, eating kimchi daily has kept illness at bay.

Me too Keira!

The big mistake I made was not taking the illness threat seriously. Last year when I got exposed to some sickness, not only did I load up on the kimchi, but I immediately consumed beef bone broth and ate a small amount of raw beef liver. I never got sick. Lesson learned.


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  1. I got a nice cold a few weeks ago. Haven’t had one in years. Shit happens. I did recover much quicker and without medication unlike the many people around me. French pressed green tea with a hot pepper, touch of honey, juice of half a lemon, and a few slices of ginger helped me feel better temporarily. It warmed me up and soothed my throat.

  2. I also usually avoid all the colds and sinus issues that go around each year.
    Unfortunately the weather in the Northeast has been variable this year, with 30 deg F one day and 55 deg F another day.

    I’ve had two bouts with some respiratory issues. A bit of laryngytis after Christmas and a bit of a sinus infection about a week ago. The symptoms were not brutal but just there. My body was actively fighting it off.

    What I find very useful is taking extra Vit D3! I might take four and five doses of 5000 IU’s each for a couple of days? This revs up the Immune system and quickens recovery! I also take extra Vitamin C.

  3. I rarely get sick… if I feel “something coming on” I drink a ton of liquids and flush whatever it is out of my system. It’s worked for me so far.

  4. Hi Mike, it’s the other Michael Allen Smith here. We used to talk about the imposter Mike who owns mikesmith.com. Remember?

    Anyway, just checking in on ya. It must be at least 5 years since corresponded last.

    Take care, dude!

  5. Hi! Okey, I am trying to figure out if I can keep my Kimchee! I really love it and now I’m reading under various ‘Histamine diet’ sources to avoid all fermented food, ie. saurkraut.
    So, whats the verdict, abit okey, or so very good for you, keep it in your diet?
    I’m having huge health issues (44) since Aug. 2011, eustachian tube issues/vertigo/dizzy/full head etc. etc…..list goes on and I do NOT want to be on antibiotics/steriods, so am desperate to find people where diet has helped their issues.
    I hope your headaches have stopped…..cheers!

  6. SO, did you keep you Kimchee?? I love this stuff and don’t want to give it up.
    My previous sent the email was not correct…..now it is!!

  7. @Lisa – You will need to run your own experiments. I have cut WAY BACK on my fermented veggies. My tests are ongoing. I don’t have clear data at this time.

    Some things I will be testing is how histamine levels may be affected by the length of the ferment and the components of the ferment. I’ll also be experimenting with natural anti-histamines such as Vitamin C, Chamomile and Fennel.

  8. What about experimenting with alternatives to fermented cabbages? For example, what about lightly steaming cabbage and then marinating it in lemon juice, a little olive oil, chilli pepper and the other traditional spices?

  9. @Glenn – There is very little good info on the web that I have found on histamine levels in food. Some sources state that unfermented cabbage is high in histamines, some sources say it is low.

    Yesterday I had steamed cabbage and felt fine. But I need more data still.

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