What is Salicylate Sensitivity?

Food intolerance is still a sensitive subject because it’s not yet well-understood even by doctors. Consequently, those who suffer do not get the proper treatment they need and are even used as a propaganda to promote bogus wellness and diet fads. One uncommon type of food intolerance is salicylate insensitivity, which is difficult to diagnose because of a host of symptoms.

Salicylates and Its Sources

Salicylates is the name for chemicals that contain the salicylic acid base which are found in various plants and are also used to produce other products. In nature, salicylic acid is used by plants as protection from predators and diseases. Most people can tolerate some amount of salicylates, but a few suffer from a variety of symptoms even at small doses. In recent studies, it has been found that those with asthma are more likely to be salicylate intolerant and will have negative reactions to aspirin.

Symptoms of Intolerance

Most people with salicylate intolerance exhibit the following symptoms when they are exposed to salicylic acid: hives, fever, asthma, sinus inflammation, stuffy nose, tissue swelling, inflammation of the large intestine, diarrhea, gas, and polyps in the sinus and nasal passages.

The symptoms listed above are precisely the reasons why it can be difficult to diagnose. It might be mistaken for a food allergy or other condition, but it is quite distinct from an allergic reaction because the immune system does not react to the chemicals. The only way to diagnose it is to rule out allergies through a skin test, then exposure to a small amount of salicylic acid.

Foods to Avoid

Not only should people with salicylate intolerance avoid taking medication with salicylic acid, but they should watch out for food and beverages that contain them. Like most intolerances, the only way to stop the symptoms is to avoid the triggers. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to keep track of what you eat because salicylates are present in most vegetables, fruits, and spices. Some dairy, meat, fish, and cereals contain a small amount of salicylate, too.

The following is a list of food that contain a high amount of salicylates. Please note, however, that some people can still suffer from the symptoms even if the food contains only a moderate amount of salicylates.

  • Vegetables: red chili, chicory, green capsicum, endive, courgetti, mushrooms, green olives, pepper, radish, tomato, zucchini
  • Fruits: apricot, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberry, dates, grapes, guava, orange, pineapple, plum, prunes, raspberry, and strawberries
  • Beverages: all types of tea, liqueur, port, rum, champagne, peppermint tea, wines, and cordials
  • Spices: allspice, anise seed, cayenne, celery, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, dill, fenugreek, five-spice, garam masala, ginger, honey, mace, mint, mustard, oregano, paprika, pepper, rosemary, sage, tarragon, turmeric, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce
  • Others: peanuts, almonds, most savory chips and crackers, licorice, chewing gums, mints, and peppermints
  • Non-Food Products: lotions, mouthwash, shampoos, conditioner, perfumes, and toothpaste