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NATURAL FOOD CHEMICALS


The three most naturally occurring chemicals found in food are salicylates, amines and glutamate. These natural substances can upset sensitive people and result in a range of reactions and depending on how much of the chemical is consumed with the reaction ranging from a mild itch to debilitating pain. People who are sensitive to natural food chemicals are usually also sensitive to one or more of the common food preservatives. These chemicals are often concentrated near the surface, so if you're highly sensitive peel your pears and potatoes thickly, and discard the outer leaves of your lettuce. I will warn you now - it is always the foods that you love that cause the most problem!

COMMON REACTION SYMPTOMS

The general rule is the tastier a food is, the more likely it is to have high levels of natural chemicals. If you experience any of the following symptoms then it is time to discuss doing a food challenge with your practitioner to determine whether chemical sensitivities may be the answer you are seeking:

Headaches or migraine

Itchy skin rashes including hives and eczema

Swelling of hands, feet, eyelids, face and/or lips

Irritable bowel symptoms including reflux, bloating, wind and alternating bowel habits

Cystitis, urgency to urinate and bedwetting in children

Asthma, stuffy or runny nose, post-nasal drip (5 � 10% of asthmatics have asprin hyper-sensitivity)

ADHD, hyperactivity, poor concentration and behavioural problems

Sleep disturbances including apnoea, trouble getting to sleep and night terrors

Anxiety, panic attacks

Tinnitus or ringing of the ears

Heart arrhythmias and rapid heart beat

I feel the biggest one I see by far is joint pain and arthritis.

BEST FOOD CHOICES

As with all food, the best choices to make in order to avoid high natural chemicals, are fresh foods and this applies to fresh meats, poultry, seafoods and eggs which are all low in natural food chemicals.  These foods are all proteins and as such the protein will break down with aging, overcooking and processing and this can lead to the formation of Amines.  Other fresh food proteins such as cow or goat's milk, cream and butter are all very low in natural chemicals.  Due to the fermentation process involved yoghurt may have some amines, and if you add fruit or flavouring to the yoghurt it may also contain salicylates depending on the fruit choice.  Fresh soy products whether milk or tofu based all have a low natural chemical content whereas fermented soy products such as soy sauce, tempeh and miso are high in natural amines and MSG.  Pure water is the best choice to quench your thirst as any flavoured drink will be very high in natural chemicals.

SALICYLATES

Salicylates are naturally occurring chemicals found naturally in many vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs and spices, honey, jams, yeast extracts including vegemite, tea and coffee, juices, beer and wines. The salicylates occur naturally in plants protecting them against insects, disease, harmful bacteria and fungi. Asprin is a member of the salicylate family and as such some medications will contain salicylates as do eucalyptus oils, perfumes, scented toiletries and some flavourings like peppermint.  The naturally occurring salicylate levels in the following foods will decrease as the fruit ripens which is a good point to note particularly with your fruits. 

VERY HIGH SALICYLATE FOODS

VEGETABLES: Broadbean, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Gherkin, Olive, Broccoli, Champignon, Mushroom, Spinach, Tomato

FRUIT: Avocado, Date, Grapefruit, Kiwi fruit, Mandarin, Orange, Passion-fruit, Pineapple, Raspberry, Tangelo, Grape, Plum, Prune, Raisin, Sultana, Tomato

MEATS, CHICKEN, FISH & EGGS:  Devon, Meat pies, Salami & Sausages, Seasoned meats & chicken

DRINKS:  Cordials & Soft drinks, Fruit flavoured drinks, Cola drinks, Orange Juice, Tomato juice, Tomato juice, Vegetable juice, Tea, Peppermint Tea, Beer, Cider, Brandy, Liqueur, Port, Rum, Sherry, Wine

HERBS, SPICES & CONDIMENTS:  Tandoori, Vinegar (cider, red & white wine), Gravies, Pastes (fish, meat, tomato), Sauces (all), Stock cubes, Tomato sauce, Yeast extracts

JAMS, SPREADS, SUGARS & SWEETS

Chewing gum, Fruit flavoured sweets & ices, Honey, Jams (all), Liquorice, Mint-flavoured sweets, Peppermints, Lemon butter

NUTS, SNACKS & CRISPS

Fruit flavours, Honey flavours, Muesli bars, Spicy flavours, Almonds

AMINES

Many fruits and vegetables contain natural salicylates, and some also have high amine levels. A lot of the amines we find in food are as a result of protein breakdown or fermentation, so as expected, they are high in cheese. They are also found in large amounts in chocolate, wines, beer, yeast extracts and fish products. As I said earlier it is always the foods you love, they are also found in bananas, avocados & tomatoes.  Another point to remember with amines is that as a food ripens the natural amine content will increase, so if you are sensitive to amines it is better to eat the following foods more on the green side, for example your bananas. 

VERY HIGH AMINE FOODS

VEGETABLES: Broadbeans, Cauliflower, Eggplant, Gherkin, Olive, Broccoli, Champignon, Mushroom, Spinach, Tomato

FRUITS:  Avocado, date, Grapefruit, Kiwi fruit, Mandarin, Orange, Passion-fruit, Pineapple, Raspberry, Tangelo, Grape, Plum, Prune, Raisin, Sultana, Tomato

MEATS, CHICKEN, FISH & EGGS:  Anchovies, Fish Roe, Fish (dried, pickled, salted, smoked), Offal, Smoked meat & Chicken, Tuna (canned), Devon, Meat pies, Salami & Sausages, Seasoned meats & chicken

DAIRY FOODS & SOY PRODUCTS:  Tasty cheeses (all), Miso, Soy sauce, Tempeh

DRINKS:  Cordials & soft drinks, Cocoa powder, Chocolate flavoured drinks, Cola drinks, Orange Juice, Tomato juice, Vegetable juice, Beer, Cider, Brandy, Liqueur, Port, Rum, Sherry, Wine

FATS & OILS:  Coconut Oil, Copha, Olive Oil, Sesame Oil, Walnut Oil

HERBS, SPICES & CONDIMENTS:  Hydrolysed vegetable protein, Meat extracts, Soy paste, Soy sauce, Tandoori, Vinegar (Cider, red & white wine), Gravies, Pastes (fish, meat, tomato), Sauces (all), Stock cubes, Tomato sauce, Yeast extracts

JAMS, SPREADS, SUGARS & SWEETS:  Fruit-flavoured sweets & ices, Chocolate (all), Cocoa, Lemon Butter

NUTS, SNACKS & CRISPS:  Fruit flavours, Muesli bars, Cheese flavours, Almonds

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GLUTAMATE

Glutamate is found naturally in most foods due to the fact that it is the building block of all proteins.  Glutamate is a natural flavour enhancer and when not linked to protein, but in it's natural free-form it is often found added to foods such stock cubes, cheeses, gravies and sauces for it's ability to give otherwise tasteless food some flavour.  It is not uncommon to find drums of pure monosodium glutamate (MSG) in  Asian restaurants to give flavour to simple dishes.  If you have a simple dish in front of you that is very tasty, then it is very possible that it is high in natural food chemicals. 

VERY HIGH GLUTAMATE FOODS 

VEGETABLES:  Broccoli, Champignon, Mushroom, Spinach, Tomato

FRUITS:  Grape, Plum, Prune, Raisin, Sultana, Tomato

MEAT, CHICKEN, FISH & EGGS:  Devon, Meat pies, Salami & Sausages, Seasoned meats & chicken

DAIRY FOODS & SOY PRODUCTS:  Tasty cheeses (all), Miso, Soy sauce, Tempeh

DRINKS:  Tomato juice, Vegetable juice, Brandy, Liqueur, Port, Rum, Sherry, Wine

HERBS, SPICES & CONDIMENTS:  Hydrolysed vegetable protein, Meat extracts, Soy paste, Soy sauce, Gravies, Pastes (fish, meat, tomato), Sauces (all), Stock cubes, Tomato sauce, Yeast extracts

NUTS, SNACKS & CRISPS:  Spicy flavours, Cheese flavours

 NIGHTSHADES

Elimination of foods belonging to the nightshade family bring relief to some arthritis sufferers and this is thought to be due to the fact that their high alkaloid content may inhibit normal collagen repair in the joints and actually promote the degenerative inflammation within the joint itself. The foods you would avoid which are high in nightshades are potatoes, tomatoes, egg-plant, peppers, capsicum – go on, tell me it is all the foods you love!

 

CONCLUSION

I haven't included cereals, grains and flours in my lists as none of them are very high in salicylates, however a few are on the higher side.  Refined rice products and wheaten/maize cornflour are the lowest in natural chemicals.  There is no laboratory or skin test that will detect any of the chemical food sensitivities. The best way of determining whether you are sensitive is to do a "challenge" where you eliminate the suspected foods for a period of time while noting whether or not your symptoms improve. If your symptoms do improve and then return after re-introduction of the offending foods then you know you have a problem. I find the best way of then improving these sensitivities is with the use of low-potency homeopathic remedies, so best to make an appointment.

Date posted: 2014-02-01 | posted by: debras




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