Several studies suggest that natural salicylates in plant-based foods may benefit health. However, large variation in published values of the salicylate content of foods means that relating dietary intakes to disease risk is problematical. Consequently, we have systematically reviewed the available literature using prescribed selection criteria. By combining these literature values with in-house analysis, we have constructed a food composition database describing median salicylate values for 27 different types of fruits, 21 vegetables, 28 herbs, spices and condiments, 2 soups and 11 beverages. Application of a validated food frequency questionnaire estimated median dietary intakes of 4.42 (range 2.90-6.27) and 3.16 (2.35-4.89) mg/day for Scottish males and females, respectively. Major dietary sources of salicylates were alcoholic beverages (22%), herbs and spices (17%), fruits (16%), non-alcoholic beverages including fruit juices (13%), tomato-based sauces (12%) and vegetables (9%). Application of the database to populations with differing dietary habits and disease risk profiles may provide further evidence for the role of dietary salicylates in the prevention of chronic diseases.
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