My favorite trio of spices for some of my dishes is ginger, turmeric, and cumin. But a teaspoon of cumin alone has levels of salicylates equivalent to a baby aspirin. While salicylates do inhibit cancer cells and are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant in general, lowering risks for heart disease and diabetes as well, some people are allergic to salicylates, whether dietary or in medications, and so they need to be careful about them. But even if you don’t have a salicylate intolerance, you should keep in mind that these compounds are natural blood thinners, and you don’t want a whole bunch of them all at once. Today’s Tip is about raising awareness about these issues and providing a link to a list of foods high—to various levels—in salicylates.
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Some advice: when you make Indian food, for instance, bear in mind that curry powders usually contain the whole above trio of ginger, turmeric, and cumin, so consider well whether you want to add any of those spices extra. Also remember, if you’re making a cheesecake crust with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger, all three of them high in salicylates, that you may not want to add a lot of those spices (or all of them) if the cheesecake has lots of blueberries, for instance, in the filling, since this fruit has very high levels of these compounds. So do berries in general, as well as some other fruit that goes well in a creative cheesecake recipe, such as peaches (high) or plums (very high). But don’t despair: you can use pears, for instance, which have negligible quantities (the pears go at the bottom, on the crust).
If you’re wondering about how high in salicylates are various common fruit, vegetables, and spices, and other foods (and drinks), see this fact sheet (which I’ve also used for this article, among other sources), “Salicylate Content of Foods,” prepared by Dr. Richard J. Coleman in Auckland.
To a happier, healthier life,