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Top 10 Food Containing Salicylates

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Salicylate sensitivity can cause symptoms like migraine, stomach upsets, hives, etc.If you have been battling food intolerance or allergy like symptoms and suspect Salicylic acid to be the culprit, then you need to know the top 10 foods containing Salicylates. Have no idea what Salicylates are and how they might be linked to your food intolerance issue? Well, then that’s one more reason why you must read this post on Salicylic acid and food containing Salicylates.

Salicylatic acid or Salicylate is a naturally occurring plant enzyme, which is required for a variety of metabolic activities and disease prevention in the plant. However, once in our body, this plant enzyme has the potential to play havoc, causing several food intolerance or allergy symptoms including stomach upsets, headaches, bedwetting, nasal congestion, swelling, skin irritations, etc. 

So how does one find out if (s)he is sensitive of Salicylates; well like all other food allergy tests,  a food elimination diet is the only failsafe method. However, to conduct a Salicylate food elimination diet, knowledge of foods containing high amounts of Salicylates is necessary. For this purpose, I bring to you a list of top 10 foods containing Salicylates:

1. Artificially ripened fruits: Salicylic acid plays an important role in plant growth and hence, is most concentrated in growing fruits. As the fruit ripens naturally, the Salicylate content goes down. However, when fruits are picked raw and artificially ripened (using various chemical or physical treatments) the Salicylate levels remain high enough to cause sensitivity reactions in people. 

2. Dried Fruits: Drying leads to the concentrations of all naturally occurring constituents of a fruit. Hence, dried fruits like raisins, dry apricots, dry berries etc. contain high amounts of Salicylates.

3. Fruit/Vegetable Concentrates: Many processing techniques like juice extraction, de-aeration, concentration, freeing, drying, etc. inadvertently concentrate the Salicylate content of the foods. Hence, concentrated fruit products like jams, squashes, pastes, powders, puree, etc. are rich in Salicylates.

Genitically modified foods contain high levels of Salicylates


4. Genetically Engineered Vegetables: Salicylic acid plays an important role in immune system of plants and protects them from various diseases and pathogens. Hence, many GE vegetables are so modified that they produce high amounts of Salicylates and resist damage. 

5. Dried Herbs: As mentioned earlier, drying concentrates the natural Salicylate levels of a food. Hence, dried herbs like paprika, thyme, cumin, turmeric, and curry powder are rich sources of Salicylic acid.

6. Nuts: Certain nuts like pine nuts, almonds, peanuts, and pistachio have high levels of Slicylic acid.

7. Synthetic colors and flavorings: Synthetic Salicylic acid is used as an additive in the production of synthetic colors and flavorings, as a result all such products have very high levels of this chemical.

8. Synthetic Drinks and Beverages:  As mentioned above, many synthetic colors and flavors contain Salicylates, also different forms of salicylic acid are used as preservatives in many synthetic beverages. As a result, most of the synthetic drinks and beverages are high in Salicylates.

9. Beer: Hops, an important ingredient in beer production is a rich source of Salicylic acid, resulting in beer having high amounts of Slicylates.

10. Ice creams, Candies, and gums: All these sweets contain large amounts of food colors, flavors, and other food additives that contain different forms of Salicylates. Hence, ice creams, candies, and chewing gums are rich sources of Salicylic acid.

Apart from the aforementioned top 10 foods salicylates are also found in a number of OTC and prescription drugs, the most popular being Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). It is also found in mouthwash, toothpaste, anti acne creams, soaps, asthma drugs, aerosols, etc. Thus, following a zero Salicylate diet or lifestyle might be impractical, but by making right choices and reading food labels one can surely reduce the Salicylate consumption. 

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Top 10 Food Containing Salicylates