Avoid these High Salicylate Foods Bad for Eczema

high salicylate foods bad for eczema broccoli

Some of the healthiest foods on earth can be poison to you if you have eczema. Ever heard of salicylates? These are natural chemicals made by some plants. Foods bad for eczema include fruits and vegetables that contain high amounts of these salicylates.

In this article, we will walk through:

  • What are salicylates
  • How I stumbled upon it when trying to heal my son of his eczema
  • List of high salicylate foods to avoid if you have eczema
  • List of eczema-safe foods
  • The Eczema Diet

What are salicylates

Salicylates are naturally occurring chemicals found in many plants. They use salicylic acid in their growth and development, as well as in their defense system against diseases, bacteria, insects, and other environmental stress.

Salicylate intolerance

Salicylate sensitivity varies for different people, but eczema warriors are very prone to it. Some people can take a small amount without any symptoms, but as we pile on foods containing salicylates throughout the day in our diet, it accumulates and can trigger an uncomfortable response immediately, or a few hours later.

Research suggests that ingestion of salicylates in individuals who are intolerant to it can cause rhinitis, asthma, and gut inflammation. Of particular interest to eczema sufferers would be its effects on the gut, as whatever happens in the gut can so directly affect our skin health. Read more about how intricately the gut and skin are related.

So if we are unaware of a salicylate sensitivity that we may have, our body could be in a constant state of fight-or-flight mode, resulting in a chronic low level of inflammation, which is very detrimental to health and taxing on many organs.

Foods that contain Salicylates

The list of fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of salicylate will be expanded upon, two headings down. I give them special attention as they are whole foods, plucked right out of the soil or off their trees. Whole foods have been the bulk of my eczema warriors’ diet for a long time, and I thought I was doing them good. It was hard for me to accept that such good stuff can be harmful to them.

Well, enough ranting. So these are where you will find high salicylates, avoid these foods for eczema:

  • coffee
  • tea
  • beer
  • wine
  • jam
  • yeast extract
  • honey
  • flavourings

Moreover, they are also found in many perfumes, scented toiletries, and creams and lotions for skin. They are in some medications as well, like aspirin.

How we stumbled upon it

For my son, J’s severe eczema, we had been working on cleaning up his diet for many months. Six months on a gluten free diet (which was also free from sugar, processed foods, egg, dairy, soy and corn) improved his eczema rashes and itch drastically, but maybe around 40% of it was still there.

I then convinced him to go grain free in addition to the already restrictive gluten free diet. That brought his itch and inflammation down by a further 20 to 30 per cent. His energy level went further up. His life was great, the best it had been in these past few years. But there was still some low level itch and inflammation that bothered him, especially in the evenings and at night.

There was nothing else for me to remove from his diet! It couldn’t be any cleaner than what it already was!

But I knew there was something that had been bugging me, for the years that I embarked on the search for whatever that could heal my two eczema warriors. Salicylates entered my radar very early on, but I resisted it and just chucked the idea aside as I wanted to give them nature’s best foods.

Finally, at that point in time, I decided it was the only thing left to try. So we removed the high salicylates foods, and like magic, his itch went right down, the heat in his skin cooled off, and his sleep improved so much more. There is still about 5% of it remaining, which I know is from topical steroid withdrawal, which his body is still healing from. But on the whole, he is such a different person now, less irritable, all smiles instead.

high salicylate foods bad for eczema watermelon

List of High Salicylate Foods Bad for Eczema

Remove these foods bad for eczema from your diet, and see if your symptoms improve.


  • artichoke
  • barley grass
  • bell pepper
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
  • corn
  • dark leafy greens
  • eggplant
  • kale
  • mushroom
  • olive
  • onion
  • radish
  • spinach
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • tomato
  • watercress
  • wheatgrass juice


  • apples (some brands are better than others)
  • apricot
  • avocado
  • berries (all kinds: black, blue, rasp, straw)
  • cherries
  • date
  • figs
  • grapes
  • grapefruit
  • lemon
  • lime
  • nectarine
  • orange (all kinds)
  • pineapple
  • plum
  • pomegranate
  • kiwi
  • watermelon

Nuts and Seeds

  • almond
  • brazil nuts
  • cashews (roasted) (raw cashews are fine)
  • coconut
  • hazel nut
  • peanut
  • pine nut
  • pistachio nut
  • pumpkin seed
  • sesame seed
  • sunflower seed
  • walnut


  • apple cider vinegar
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • herbs
  • honey
  • olive oil
  • spices

So you see why I was so hesitant to remove high salicylate foods for J? There is practically nothing left for him to eat!

Well, not 100% true, actually. We have learnt, adapted, and he is now perfectly happy with the limited variety of foods served to him, because it is all worth it, to get smooth and soft skin, no itch, no inflammation, a happy mood, and restful sleep.

Just months ago, he was a terrible mess, all consumed by this monster called eczema. He knows to appreciate his blemish-free skin like no other healthy kid would.

List of Eczema-Safe Foods

There are a lot more choices than what is listed here, but this list provides the foods that are least irritating on the gut and skin, and are the most nourishing and healing for eczema. We will be on this Eczema Diet for two months to allow the body to heal, before moving on to the reintroduction stage.


  • banana
  • papaya
  • pear


  • bean sprouts
  • beetroot
  • brussel sprouts
  • cabbage
  • celery
  • leek
  • lettuce
  • parsley
  • spring onion
  • sweet potato

Vegetables have become his mains for each meal, along with his regular protein intake from fish or chicken. Bone broth to go with every dinner. Fruits or smoothie as between-meals snacks, and of course his daily homemade banana ice cream.

Look into The Eczema Diet

Much of the information presented here in this post, I learnt from Karen Fischer’s book: The Eczema Diet. She is a nutritionist who healed her own daughter’s eczema by researching and following this diet which she now shares with everyone, in the hope of helping people with eczema.

If you are looking into but have not started cleaning up your diet for eczema, do give The Eczema Diet a go, it may save you months of pain and confusion trying different diets and getting no conclusive results. Or if you have already tried various diets, and still not seeing the result you would like, then give The Eczema Diet a go.

Salicylate sensitivity affects many people with eczema, so it is worth it to try avoiding these foods bad for eczema from your diet, it is very likely that you would see results. If you do not see results after trying it, then there may be other root cause to your eczema that you are missing: it could be anything from vaccination to some allergies that you have not identified.


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16 thoughts on “Avoid these High Salicylate Foods Bad for Eczema”

  1. Thank you for such helpful and thorough article. I did not know that food that I like the most can provoke eczema that badly. I drink coffee every morning, do you think that I should eliminate it completely? I will forward this post to my friend who suffer from eczema and now he can see what should be eaten and what not.

    • Hi Daniel,

      I can’t do without my tea and coffee too! If you don’t have eczema or other skin issues, I don’t see why you can’t continue with the love of your life – coffee! But if eczema is troubling you, then you have to decide whether it’s worth cutting out these foods to see if it improves. Personally, I’d suggest removing salicylates as a last resort, after you have tried everything else, cos those are much more common triggers, like dairy, egg, corn, peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, and even grains. 

  2. What an informative article!  My sister had eczema the whole time we were growing up together, and she just ate the same foods we did and used topical creams.  I never had any idea that there were so many foods you needed to watch to treat your eczema.  The information you are providing is something every parent should know.

    Thank you for such a comprehensive and thorough article.  It is very well written and its just what many people today need to read!  Clay  

    • Hi Clay,

      I’m glad you find this useful. I’d never have known all these information had I not been researching all these years to try and heal my kids’ severe eczema. So I hope that by presenting all the knowledge I have gained, I can help eczema warriors alleviate their suffering and help them find answers quicker. 

  3. Thank you a wonderful post on food which are bad for eczema. I find this post informative because many people can take food without knowing they are harmful to their health but when they have information they might avoid such food .

    It seems that many of the vegetables and fruits contains salicylates which are harmful to people with eczema. That’s why i said this post is instructive.

  4. An informative article, Joo.

    I was quite disappointed to read that a large portion of the common foods we eat exacerbate eczema.  Is there really nothing else that can be done to mitigate severe reactions?  

    There’s so much pleasure from sampling vast variety of food and drink.  I hope you find more safe options to add to your son’s diet.  In fact, it may be worth your coming out with a book of salicylate-free recipes for severe eczema sufferers!

  5. Oh dear, so I was looking over the list of foods to avoid that contain high salicylates, and I see wine and beer on the list.  My daughter’s friend suffers from eczema, but she is very young, 22 years old, so going to bars and partying is high on her list of fun things to do, so now I’m thinking this could be a big part of her problem.  She is definitely not going to be happy about the limitations on alcohol.  Ugh. 

    She is really going to need to sit down and go through your site and make herself a diet plan.  There is just so much information on what she shouldn’t be consuming. 

    Thanks for your help with this.  Every article, I learn something new!

    • Hello again, Babsie,

      Yes, alcoholic drinks are high on the list for foods to avoid if you have eczema. I hope your daughter’s friend finds the motivation to cut alcoholic drinks, I believe it would help with her eczema tremendously. 

  6. You have done a really good job at getting your children’s eczema down, thats great. There are quite a few foods and other products to not have, when someone has eczema. Its worth it in the end though, when it reduces down and actually they have got more energy and feel healthier. It’s just a case of research and going through each cause that is affecting the eczema. It’s been interesting learning and reading about this topic. 

    • Hi Eden,

      Yes you’re right, it’s all so worth it at the end. Looking back at all the sleepless nights and incessant scratching, I’m just glad it’s all behind us now. 

  7. Hi how are you? I just want to congratulate you and your son, who is a warrior. It breaks my heart every time I know stories of children with health problems, I also have a 14-month-old son, who fortunately is very healthy. 

    When I read your list of foods that had to be removed, I told myself that there was nothing left to eat. I do not know how you do it with your son but you are excellent and I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. A lot of strength for you and your son 🙂 Thanks to your blog I learn to eat better, like your gluten-free diet, which helped me a lot.

    • Hi Paola, 

      Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, you have a big heart. It hasn’t been easy for my son with severe eczema, but he’s actually happy with the diet because the reward is itch-free skin, something he’d do anything to have. He used to touch me and comment that his skin is so different from mine. Now he finally gets to enjoy stronger and healthier skin, and he truly knows to appreciate it. 

  8. I am a living testament to the truth and effectiveness of Fischer’s eczema diet. I had lifelong eczema, flare-ups, allergies, hives, weeping, horribly itchy wounds that hadn’t healed for 8 years, unsightly eczema on my feet and hands, full body rashes, little blisters, and the physical and psychological suffering it causes. I did the diet, and I also went through a year plus detox process from corticosteroid creams. It was agonizing. I couldn’t even work or wear clothes; the eczema was disabling. I have been eczema-free ever since, and that was several years ago since I did the diet. Not drinking alcohol really helps, taking the suggested supplements, and omitting foods with salicylates, histamines and those that spike blood sugar levels. The diet has been a cure for me. Gratitude.

    • Hi,
      Yes, diet really is the key to healing eczema naturally. So happy for you that you’re completely healed now, thank you for dropping this note and letting everyone know that it is possible to heal yourself of eczema.


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