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Salicylates are naturally occurring chemicals in plants 1. They are found in several types of food and in medicines containing aspirin. Salicylates may play a role in health conditions, although scientific evidence does not exist to support the link between salicylates and these disorders 1. You may try eliminating the substance from your diet in hopes of improving the symptoms.

Explanation of Salicylates

Salicylates are naturally occurring chemical compounds found in several varieties of plants 1. Aspirin is a type of salicylate called salicylic acid, but this is not exactly the same as salicylates in food 124. The salicylates in food do not have blood-thinning effects or cardiovascular benefits as aspirin does 14. According to Medscape, salicylates have anti-inflammatory, analgesic and fever-reducing properties 1.

Health Conditions

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The foods you eat can have a major impact on how you feel. Salicylates in food and body products may affect several health conditions 14. Among some of the disorders that may be affected by salicylates are attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD; autism; arthritis; chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, according to the Food Intolerance Network 14.

Sources of Salicylates reports that high amounts of salicylates occur naturally in several vegetables, including tomatoes, all types of peppers, radishes, olives, broccoli and cucumbers 1. Salicylates are also present in large amounts in dried fruits, all types of berries, oranges, grapes, plums, pineapple and tangerine 1. The compound is also present in food preservatives, honey, gum, mints, almonds, pickles, wine and beer, and in non-food sources including some varieties of soap, perfume and shampoo.

Elimination Diet

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Elimination diets help you test whether or not you react to a particular substance. The Food Intolerance Network explains that an elimination diet for salicylates requires you to remove all sources of salicylates from your diet and personal care products for at least three weeks 14. If you see symptom improvement, you can slowly and gradually try adding back one source of salicylates at a time to test for reactions 1. If your symptoms return, you know that you should not eat that food.


Check with your doctor before beginning any restrictive diet, including salicylate elimination. If you have avoided salicylates in your diet for an elimination challenge and decide to eat them again, reintroduce them to your diet slowly 1. According to the website, adding a heavy amount of salicylates to your diet quickly when your body is no longer used to them can cause serious allergic reactions 1.