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You are here: Home | Autism Resource Links | SALICYLATE CONTENT OF FOODS


Salicylates are organic compounds that can affect the human body, and occur naturally in many fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Plant salicylates are stored in the bark, leaves, roots, and seeds of plants and act as a preservative, preventing rotting and protecting against harmful insects, bacteria and fungi. Salicylates can also be created synthetically and are contained in many medicines, such as aspirin, as well as in perfumes and preservatives. In high enough doses, salicylates are harmful to everyone, but most people can handle them without any adverse affects on their health. However there is a small percent of the population - adults and children - for which even a small dose of salicylate can trigger health problems such as:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Rhinitis
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Stomach Ache

The amount and type that can be tolerated vary slightly from person to person, and there can be a cumulative effect in the body over time. The inability of the body to handle more than a certain amount of salicylates at any one time is called Salicylate Sensitivity, where a person may have difficulty tolerating certain fruits, vegetables, or any products that contain aspirin. The reaction to a natural salicylates found in healthy foods can be as severe as that to a synthetic additive, if the person is highly sensitive.

Avoiding Salicylates

The salicylate level in food can vary, with raw foods, dried foods and juices containing higher levels than the same cooked foods. They can also be found in flavoured products such as sweets, toothpaste, and chewing gum. Salicylates are highest in unripened fruit and decrease as fruit ripens. They are often concentrated just under the skin of fruit and vegetables and in the outer leaves of vegetables. All fruit and vegetables should be ripe and thickly peeled. Do not eat the outer leaves of leafy vegetables. All fresh meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, cereals, bread are low in salicylates
The table below lists foods high in salicylates, with naturally occurring glutamates or added MSG marked *. Those marked # are also high in amines .

The following amounts are equivalent:

  • 1 serve from the MODERATE group
  • 1/10 serve from the HIGH group
  • 1/100 serve from the VERY HIGH group

1 Serve = 1 Cup = 250 ml



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