Food and Beverage Triggers of Carcinoid Syndrome


By Leigh Anne Burns

Vasoactive amines are a type of molecule that naturally occurs in our bodies and in the foods we eat. Foods high in vasoactive amines, such as tyramine and histamine, may promote symptoms specific to carcinoid tumors including flushing, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. For patients experiencing such symptoms, avoidance of aged foods which can be high in vasoactive amines, particularly tyramine, may help relieve symptoms.

The following foods contain vasoactive amines and it might be helpful to avoid them. Other factors such as fatty foods or large meals may also increase symptoms.

  • Chocolate

  • Smoked, pickled, and spicy foods with pepper, cayenne pepper, mustard

  • Some nuts like peanuts, Brazil nuts, and coconut

  • Aged cheeses like Stilton, Camembert and cheddar

  • Milk

  • Bananas

  • Alcoholic and caffeinated beverages

Learn how to make Fresh Fruit Salad and an Egg Salad Sandwich:

Fresh Fruit Salad

Serves four, 4 oz servings (approximate)


  • 1/2 cup apple - peeled and diced

  • 1/2 cup fresh peach - peeled and diced

  • 1/2 cup strawberries - cleaned, top removed and sliced

  • 1/2 cup - mini marshmallows

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint

  • 6 ounces vanilla Greek yogurt (non-fat)

  • 1/2 cup whipped cream (fat-free)


  1. Add all ingredients except whipped cream to large bowl and combine gently.

  2. Place in refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.

  3. Serve with a dab of whipped cream on top.

Egg Salad Sandwich


  • 1 slice of bread (3g of fiber or less) cut in half

  • 2 eggs boiled and chopped

  • 1 ounce low-fat American cheese

  • 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon pickle juice (optional)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • A dash of pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients and spread on one bread half and cover with other half.