What are Salicylates?

Salicylates are food compounds whose purpose is to protect plants from disease and predators. Chemists have created a synthetic form of salicylate which is used in medications at higher levels than that found in plants.

Many individuals are sensitive to salicylates and as with any food intolerance, sensitive people should avoid them.  You are more likely to be sensitive to medications with chemical salicylates than food, but some people cannot properly metabolize and excrete them even when consumed as food.

If salicylate sensitivity or overload causes an overproduction of inflammatory substances, the list of possible associated conditions will be very long, but it is difficult to diagnose the sensitivity.  Commonly, symptoms involve the respiratory tract but may also affect other parts of the body.

The following are some, but not all, foods high in salicylates:

  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Allspice
  • Almonds
  • Aloe vera
  • Aniseed
  • Apricots
  • Artichokes
  • Beer
  • Beetroot
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Cayenne
  • Cherries
  • Chewing gum
  • Chicory
  • Chilli
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Clove
  • Coffee
  • Coriander
  • Cranberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Cumin
  • Currants
  • Curry
  • Dates
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Endive
  • Food colorings
  • Fruit flavorings
  • Ginger
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapes
  • Gravies
  • Guava
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Licorice
  • Liqueurs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Melons
  • Mints
  • Mustard
  • Nectarines
  • Nutmeg
  • Okra
  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  • Oranges
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Peaches
  • Peanuts
  • Peppers
  • Pickles
  • Pimiento
  • Pineapple
  • Pistachio
  • Plums
  • Pomegranates
  • Port
  • Prunes
  • Radish
  • Raisins
  • Root beer
  • Rosemary
  • Rum
  • Salad dressings
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potato
  • Tangerines
  • Tarragon
  • Tea
  • Thyme
  • Tomatoes
  • Turmeric
  • Vanilla
  • Vinegar
  • Water chestnuts
  • Watercress
  • Wine
  • Wintergreen
  • Zucchini

That is a lot of good food to avoid but it would be wise to look at medications first.  The levels of salicylates in medicines is far higher than that in food.  You can find complete lists online of medicines that contain salicylates but in general, the meds will include aspirin and salicylates as generic terms, as well as sodium bicarbonate and citric acid.

The medical conditions associated with salicylates can be many, from angina to stroke. You might suffer only from headaches. The prevalence of salicylate sensitivity is unknown but is often found in adults with asthma.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2696737/

 

 

 

 

 

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