Kidney Diet Tips

Spicing up Fall Foods with Healthy Spices

Fall has arrived, which means enjoying cooler weather, holidays, and comfort foods. If you’re looking for a unique way to experience these fall favorites, consider adding new spices to some of your favorite dishes, or experiment with new dishes.

What’s so Special about Spices?

Spices are made from seeds, fruits, roots, flowers, bark, or other plant components. They are good seasoning choices for dialysis patients because in their pure form they contain no sodium or potassium. When purchasing spice blends, avoid those with the words salt, sodium or potassium in the name or ingredients list.

Health Benefits of Spices

Spices offer a wide range of health benefits and can be included in a variety of ways in the diet.

Here are some of the best spices to add flavor to your meals. An added benefit is these spices may also help manage or prevent disease.

    • Turmeric has been shown to have important anti-inflammatory properties and is also a powerful antioxidant. Consider adding turmeric to curry dishes, soups and stir-fry’s. Or try making a turmeric latte by adding about 1/2 teaspoon to a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk for a healthier alternative to coffee latte’s made with cow’s milk and added sugar.
    • Cinnamon is another “super” spice shown to possibly have beneficial effects on blood sugar management, blood pressure control and cholesterol levels. Add cinnamon to hot cereal or coffee, sliced apples, smoothies, baked goods and toast.
    • Garlic exhibits both antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and may help prevent or treat illnesses related to bacterial, fungus, viruses and other “germs”. Garlic adds strong flavor to roasted vegetables, soups, pastas, meat, fish and poultry.
    • Ginger is most commonly known for its stomach-calming effects and can be taken to prevent or treat nausea as well as symptoms associated with heartburn. It also contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties. Ginger pairs well with many Asian foods. It can also be added to smoothies, stews, vegetables, and marinades for meat, fish, and poultry.

Spices are naturally low in sodium, an added benefit. Check out this video on some lower-sodium food choices.

Spice Supplements

Some spices known to have health benefits are sold in supplement form to take similarly to a multivitamin. However, consuming spices in combination with food is preferable to get the maximum nutritional benefits. For example, consuming turmeric along with black pepper enhances the absorption of the spice in the body versus taking turmeric supplement alone. It is important to consult a pharmacist or physician before adding spice supplements in this form. Be sure there are no interactions with prescription medications when using any type of supplement.

For more delicious seasoning ideas that include these and other spices, check out the DaVita kidney-friendly recipe or cookbook collections.

Joanna Foley, RD

Joanna Foley, RD

Joanna is a registered dietitian practicing over 3 years, with experience in both the acute care and outpatient environments. She is passionate about promoting behavior change to help individuals achieve higher quality of life by adopting healthier habits. Joanna believes that food truly is the best medicine. In her free time Joanna enjoys experimenting with new recipes, traveling the world with her husband, and running half marathons.