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30 Vegan Foods High In Histidine: The Most Efficient Sources

In this article on vegan histidine foods, we will explore the best sources of this essential amino acid for those following a vegan lifestyle and its health benefits.
Jyothi Shenoy, MD, MBA

Written by Jyothi Shenoy, MD, MBA. Updated on January 17, 2023.

Histidine is one of the amino acids that serve as the building blocks of proteins and enzymes in the body.

It is considered an essential amino acid as it can not be produced in the body and must be obtained through the diet.

Histidine performs several functions in the body, including the production of proteins, carnosine, and histamine.

It also helps to promote chelation, a process of bonding with metals, which can help reduce metals’ toxic effects on the body tissues.

Here is a brief discussion of the most prominent health benefits of Histidine.

Vegan Histidine Food Sources

Obtaining enough histidine on a vegan diet may present a challenge as this essential amino acid is found in greater quantities in animal-based proteins such as meat, fish, and dairy.

However, there are plant-based options available. Soybeans, sesame seeds, peanuts, some legumes, and herbs and spices are all rich sources of histidine.

To ensure an adequate intake of this amino acid, it is important to consume a balanced and diverse plant-based diet that includes these foods.

Additionally, consuming various plant-based protein sources can increase the chances of obtaining all the essential amino acids.

Vegan foods that provide a significant amount of histidine include:

  • Seaweeds: Particularly dried spirulina
  • Nuts: Defatted and low-fat peanut flour
  • Seeds: Low-fat and high-fat sesame flour, dried butternut seeds, dried watermelon seed kernels
  • Grains: Toasted wheat germ
  • Soy and soy products: Soy protein isolate, dried-frozen tofu, defatted soy flour and soy meal, soybeans, full-fat soy flour
  • Legumes: Lupins, winged beans, pigeon peas (red gram),
  • Herbs and spices: Mustard seeds, dried parsley, dried basil, dried spearmint, curry and garlic powder

Plant-Based Histidine Food Sources per 100 g

The following table shows the 30 foods with the highest amount of histidine per 100 grams.

FoodHistidine per 100 grams
Soy protein isolate2,303mg
Sesame flour, low-fat1,476mg
Tofu, dried-frozen (koyadofu)1,394mg
Peanut flour, defatted1,319mg
Soy flour, defatted1,268mg
Soy meal, defatted1,212mg
Seaweed, spirulina, dried1,085mg
Soy flour, full-fat931mg
Sesame flour, high-fat906mg
Peanut flour, low fat854mg
Toasted Wheat Germ810mg
Butternut seeds, dried808mg
Winged beans790mg
Watermelon seed kernels, dried775mg
Pigeon peas (red gram)774mg
Mothbeans seeds771mg
Mustard seed762mg
Yardlong beans755mg
Cowpeas, catjang740mg
Dried Parsley718mg
Fenugreek Seed668mg
Poppy Seeds471mg
Dried Basil450mg
Dried Spearmint399mg
Fennel Seed331mg
Curry Powder290mg
Garlic Powder263mg

Health Benefits of Histidine?

Protects the Heart

The intake of histidine has been linked to the improvement in cardiac functions.

It has been found that the genetic mutations that lead to an increase in histidine levels are associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease.

This means that people with genetic mutations that increase the production of histidine in the body are naturally protected against heart disease.

A compound derived from histidine called carnosine can also improve exercise performance and, thus, improve the quality of life of patients with congestive heart failure.

Reduces Blood Pressure

An adequate level of histidine in the body is associated with better blood pressure control. This property of histidine is specifically beneficial for patients with hypertension.

Oral supplementation with histidine could also significantly reduce blood pressure while improving the blood supply to the vital organs, thus reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Antioxidant Effects

Histidine is regarded for its ability to produce a natural antioxidant effect. It can attack and destroy the free radicals released in the body and, thus, reduce the potential damage to the healthy tissues caused due to them.

Moreover, it has been found that the deficiency of histidine could elevate the risk of developing conditions linked to the poor antioxidant mechanisms of the body and subsequent higher oxidative stress.

One study has found that women with low histidine levels are more likely to suffer from diseases linked to oxidative stress, such as cancer.

Additionally, it was also found that obese women usually have worse antioxidant status, possibly due to histidine deficiency in their bodies and the abnormal metabolism of arginine.

Reduces Inflammation

Histidine could help manage a range of disorders caused due to inflammation in healthy tissues and organs.

It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and relieves inflammatory bowel diseases and skin and joint diseases such as psoriasis and arthritis, respectively.

Skin conditions

Histidine can be used to treat inflammatory and autoimmune skin conditions such as psoriasis, fistulas, rosacea, and abscesses. It may also be used to treat infections in the skin.

Histidine reduces inflammation of the skin.

It can prevent skin rashes, redness, swelling, and pain caused due to inflammatory conditions and infections.

Histidine is also needed to produce urocanic acid, which tends to build up in the skin cells and absorb UV radiation.

This action of urocanic acid makes it a “natural sunscreen” that could protect the cellular DNA from the adverse effects of UV rays in the sunlight.

These benefits of histidine and urocanic acid could be beneficial for reducing the risk of skin cancers such as melanoma that are linked to increased sun exposure.

Additionally, histidine can reduce swelling of the subcutaneous tissues under the skin, thus preventing the development of cellulitis.

The anti-inflammatory property of histidine is also beneficial for treating periostitis, a condition caused due to inflammation and swelling of the membranes surrounding the bones.

Controls Diabetes

Histidine is one of the essential amino acids that can help manage diabetes.

It is believed to help by reducing insulin resistance. It would help patient controls their blood glucose levels by regulating the uptake of carbohydrates by the cells.

Hence, patients with diabetes are advised to increase their intake of histidine-rich foods to maintain their blood glucose level within the normal range.

Prevents Obesity

Histidine can act as an anti-obesity agent. It has been found to stimulate the fat-burning processes and ensure faster weight loss.

Histidine may also inhibit weight gain and prevent obesity by regulating the metabolism of fats and improving the body’s balance of the hunger hormone.

It would also increase energy utilization by the body and, thus, reduce the accumulation of fats while promoting their breakdown.

Histidine can reduce the effects of the pro-inflammatory compounds such as cytokine and interleukins released by the immune cells, which can otherwise slow down the fat-burning rate.

This action of histidine could allow obese patients to burn fat more easily.

Prevents Abnormal Blood Clotting

Abnormal clotting of the blood clots due to the spontaneous aggregation of platelets in the vessels is one of the common risk factors for heart attacks and stroke.

Increasing the intake of foods rich in histidine could regulate the blood clotting processes and, thus, provide protection against these conditions.

This effect of histidine is believed to be mediated by the metabolites of arachidonic acid.

Role in Surgical Procedures

Histidine is one of the compounds used to prepare Bretschneider’s HTK solution (histidine-tryptophan-ketoglutarate solution).

It is a buffering solution that is routinely used for inducing heart arrest while performing surgical procedures.

Histidine can protect the cardiac muscles during surgical interventions, allowing the doctor to perform the procedure smoothly.

The effectiveness of histidine during surgeries is linked to its ability to reduce tissue damage due to the lower oxygen supply to the heart and kidneys.

Bretschneider’s HTK solution is also used for preserving donor organs.


Histidine is regarded as one of the most important amino acids thanks to its wide range of medicinal properties.

It can protect the heart and skin, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and lower the risk of many acute and chronic conditions.

It is advisable to ensure your body is not deprived of this essential amino acid to maintain optimum health and fitness.

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