Salicylate Intolerance and fibre intake


I have been trying to avoid salicylates in my diet since I have breathing issues when eating them.  How can I get enough fiber in my diet, since I already had a constipation issue before this?


In response to any question about salicylate intolerance I always pose the question, “Has your salicylate intolerance been diagnosed accurately?”  It is important to determine that you actually are salicylate intolerant before embarking on a long-term avoidance of the ingredient, because the low salicylate diet does exclude many very nutritious foods.  The best way to determine whether you indeed are salicylate intolerant is to monitor your response to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)).  An extra-strength aspirin tablet usually contains 650 mg ASA, which is a much higher dose than a typical daily diet will supply.  If your symptoms do not occur up to 2 hours after taking the aspirin and not consuming anything else in the meantime, you can be fairly confident that salicylate intolerance is not your problem.  It has been my experience that many people have been told, or have suspected, that they are salicylate intolerant when in actual fact that has not been an accurate diagnosis.  Therefore, it is very wise to definitively determine your sensitivity before continuing a strict salicylate-free diet.

With that caveat, I will address your concern about consuming adequate dietary fibre.  I am unsure about which foods you are avoiding, and where you obtained details about the foods that are contraindicated on a salicylate-restricted diet.  Dietary fibre is found in many types of foods that are not restricted on a low salicylate diet, for example :

  • Grains: Consume complete grains and grain products in:
    • Crackers, cereals, and pasta dishes without ingredients on any of the “restricted” lists
    • Homemade or purchased baked cookies, pies, cakes, and muffins without ingredients on any of the “restricted” lists
    • Plain bread, buns, biscuits, and pizza dough
    • Plain crackers such as Grissol, MelbaToast, RyVita, Rye Krisp, Wasa Light
    • Plain flours
    • Plain grains and their flakes
    • Plain pasta
    • Plain rice (all kinds)
    • Prepared plain breakfast cereals, such as oats and oatmeal, Red River Cereal, plain oat bran, and cream of wheat
  • Vegetables:
    • Bean sprouts
    • Bamboo shoots
    • Brussels sprouts, fresh
    • Cabbage, green, fresh
    • Cabbage, red, fresh
    • Carrots, fresh
    • Cauliflower, fresh
    • Celery, fresh
    • Chayote squash
    • Corn on the cob
    • Corn niblets, canned
    • Green beans, fresh
    • Green peas, fresh
    • Leeks, fresh
    • Lettuce
    • Mushrooms, fresh
    • Onion, fresh
    • Potato, white, peeled, fresh
    • Pumpkin, fresh
    • Shallots, fresh
    • Spinach, frozen
    • Tomato, fresh
    • Turnip, fresh
    • Watercress, fresh
  • Fruit:
    • Apple, golden delicious
    • Figs, fresh
    • Figs, kadota, canned
    • Mango, fresh
    • Papaya (pawpaw), fresh
    • Passion fruit (granadilla)
    • Pear, Bartlett, canned
    • Pear, Packham, peeled, fresh*
    • Pomegranate, fresh
    • Rhubarb, fresh
  • Legumes
    • Black-eyed peas
    • Brown beans
    • Brown lentils
    • Chickpeas (garbanzos)
    • Green split peas
    • Lima beans
    • Mung beans
    • Peanuts
    • Plain, natural peanut butter
    • Red lentils
    • Soybeans
    • Yellow split peas
  • Nuts and Seeds:
    • Cashews
    • Hazelnuts, fresh
    • Pecans, fresh
    • Sesame seeds, dry
    • Sunflower seeds, dry


You can see from these lists that you should have no problem in obtaining adequate dietary fibre as long as you consume these foods frequently, especially those with higher levels of fibre such as whole grains and the fibre-rich vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

Taken from my consumer handout associated with my book, “The health professional’s Guide to Food Allergies and Intolerances” . You can buy all of Dr Joneja's books here in the UK or here in the US.

First published November 2015

For an in depth investigation into salicylate intolerance see Dr Joneja's article here and for a wide selection of other articles on salicylate intolerance, including some personal experiences see here. For articles on other uncommon allergies and intolerances see here.

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