10. Sep, 2017

The role of organic food in food intolerance

Is organic food is a good thing? Well, that depends on why you're asking. You might be surprised to learn that growing fruit and veg without pesticides makes them increase their natural pesticides - salicylates. Not so great if you have a salicylate intolerance. 

Where do we find salicylates? In a great deal of our food - fruit, veg, herbs, spice, nuts, tea, coffee, honey and much more. They are also found as scents in fragrances,  perfumes, laundry powders, air fresheners, botanical oils and medications to  name but a few.  Aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid, and many herbal medication's active ingredients are natural salicylates due to their pain-killing & anti-inflammatory properties. 

Salicylates build up in the body over time. Children with their little bodies have a much lower threshhold than adults, and are hence more likely to exhibit symptoms. One of my three children was severely salicylate intolerant as a child. Discovering this was the beginning of my journey to becoming a nutritionist!  

But what are the symptoms of salicylate intolerance?  They vary, just as each person's response and tolerance level varies. They include migraines and headaches, an exacerbation of eczema & asthma, gastro-intestinal irritation, even hives. Salicylate sensitivity is also associated with behavioural problems in children, sleep disturbance, anxiety and depression.

Behavioural problems is what led us to an allergy specialist paediatrician, who suggested we try the Elimination Diet when I scoffed at the suggestion of anti-psychotic drugs for my 9 year old, who she believed had Oppositional Defiance Disorder. It's amazing what manipulating one's diet can achieve. Within a few weeks of drastically reducing his salicylate and amine intake, I had my well-mannered, calm child back. My daughters are both amine responders, but thankfully salicylates are not an issue. Having one intolerance is hard enough! 

If you suspect someone in your family may have a salicylate intolerance, see a university qualified nutritionist for help. 

References

Australian Allergy Centre 2014, Salicylate Sensitivity, <www.australianallergycentre.com.au/salicylate-sensitivity-2/>

Fat Girl Food Squad 2017, Citrus, <fatgirlfoodsquad.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/fruit-slices.jpg>

Swain, A, Soutter, V & Loblay, R 2011, Royal Prince Alfred Elimination Diet Handbook