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  • Writer's picturefranceswalker@thefoodinto

Cashews are the only nuts low in salicylates and amines.

Updated: Apr 8

So nuts are high in salicylates and amines. Almonds? High. Peanuts? High. Macadamia? Yes. High. Roasted nuts? VERY high! Flours made from nuts. Yes these are very high as well- think of almond or hazelnut meal.

JOIN THE COMMUNITY: BRAND NEW Dietitian led Facebook group: Amines, Salicylates and Glutamates: The Food Intolerance Dietitian for great information and community support.

There is a super performing nut that is low in salicylates and amines: I bring you the humble cashew.

Cashews are not for everybody- cashew nut allergies are on the rise so are a definite no go for some.

If you are fine with cashews, you can include them in the RPAH (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital) elimination diet or failsafe elimination diet.

There is a thing about cashews on this diet- having too much will push up the salicylates and amines. That is why limits are set. The general limit is for a handful (around 10) of whole cashews per day. This equates to 2 teaspoons of cashew paste. Halve this limit for children.

A word on commercial cashew paste- technically cashew paste is moderate in amines but often allowed as part of the strict level of elimination. The main point here is to be careful what cashew paste you buy as there can often be filler type of ingredients such as dairy. Aim to buy a clean 100% cashew paste. I did not like the taste of the one I bought. It was way too sweet so I just made my own. Easier. Cheaper!

Make your own cashew paste

Ridiculously easy. Just blend up some cashews and add low chemical oil (I used rice bran oil) to make it spreadable).

Start with 1 TBSP of oil to 1 cup of cashews and increase as required to get your preferred texture. I ended up using 4 tablespoons to get a lovely smooth and spreadable result. Add a small amount of salt (1/4 teaspoon) but personally I think I could do with less or have none at all. You could also add a small amount of pure maple syrup eg 1 teaspoon but I prefer without.

The limit is 2 teaspoons per day. Two teaspoons sounds very minimal but it can go a long way. One teaspoon was a generous enough spread over 2 rice cakes with a teaspoon left!

If you are having more than 10 raw or lightly roasted cashews or 2 teaspoons of cashew paste per day but are at a good baseline, then there is no need to pull back.


The Monash University low FODMAP app lists cashews as high FODMAPs at all serving sizes, with the FODMAP being GOS (oligosaccharides-galactan). Activated cashews are low FODMAP but the soaking process to activate the cashews increases the amines so not suitable for the low chemical elimination/failsafe diet.

The FODMAP Friendly app also lists cashews as being high in GOS for normal serves but very small serves (eg 4-5 nuts) comes under the limit. This is equal to about 1 teaspoon of peanut paste- you could always trial it and see how you go!

Elimination cashew recipes

There are many ways to use cashews on the elimination diet:

  • Sprinkle on salads

  • Add to stir fries

  • Add a crunch to breakfast cereals

  • Add into muffins for example pear & cashew muffins

  • Maple and cashew dairy free ice cream (Recipe on the Simply Failsafe website)

Cashews can be pretty much used everywhere! Just remember that when you use it, try and keep to the limits.

So if you are lucky enough to tolerate cashews- then your elimination diet just became a whole lot tastier!


  1. RPAH elimination diet handbook: with food and shopping guide. Anne Swain, Velencia Soutter, Robert Loblay, 2011 (revised edition).

  2. Monash University low FODMAP app. Version 2.0.9. Accessed 19/06/2018.

  3. FODMAP FRIENDLY app, version 3.7. Accessed 19/06/18


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