Q. “I have a salicylate intolerance so I can’t use most spices. How can I add more flavour to my meals?”
– Shirley Kenafake, QLD
A. Karissa Woolfe, Healthy Food Guide Accredited Practising Dietitian, responds:
Salicylates are natural chemicals present in food and everyone’s threshold for detoxifying them is different. Foods high in salicylates include herbs and spices, vegetables, fruit, juices, nuts, honey, coffee and wine. Generally, the more flavoursome the food, the higher the natural salicylate content.
When you are salicylate sensitive, your tolerance threshold is low, leading to reactions like headaches, asthma, gut irritation and hives.
The best way to keep these symptoms at bay is to minimise how often you eat foods rich in natural salicylates and watch the quantity of your portions. Importantly, your body becomes more sensitive, which is why experimenting with herbs and spices can be a recipe for a reaction.
You can overcome flavour frustration by falling in love with new combinations using low-salicylate ingredients, such as eschallots, chives, citric acid, infused oils as well as cashews.
Three homemade heroes to bolster the flavour
Relish: Garnish your meals with caramelised eschallots, crispy garlic or pear chutney.
Sauce: Liven up your dish with a dollop of homemade horseradish and chive cream or nut paste from raw cashews.
Dressing: To substitute lemon juice or vinegar, add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid to 2 tablespoons water and shake. For more flavour, infuse with garlic or sliced shallots.