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Spices are from different parts of plants such as bark, roots, seeds, and berries. They can add exciting flavors to recipes. Some popular spices include allspice, cardamom, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, garlic powder, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, pepper, and turmeric. They are safe when used in cooking but be careful with using them as a supplement or in large amounts.

Why are spices a superfood?

  • They enhance the flavor of food without adding salt 
  • They provide color to any meal.
  • The smell of spices increases appetite and brings pleasure to meals.
  • They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Spices and kidney disease

Because spices are low in sodium, they are healthy for all the following kidney conditions and treatments:

  • Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and Transplant
  • Hemodialysis (3 times/week)
  • Daily Home and Nocturnal Hemodialysis/Peritoneal Dialysis
  • Kidney Stones


  • Store spices away from sunlight, heat, and moisture.
  • Store them in air-tight containers.
  • Try not to sprinkle spices directly from the container into the cooking pan. (If heat or moisture gets into the spice container it can cause spices to lose flavor.)  
  • Whole spices stay fresh for up to 2 years while ground spices should be used within 6 months.

How to toast and grind whole spices

Toasting spices brings out the oils and deeper flavors. Follow these simple steps to toast and grind whole spices. 

  1. Toast whole spices in a dry pan over low heat. 
  2. Stir spices until lightly browned.
  3. Remove from pan and cool spices.
  4. Grind spices using a mortar and pestle, spice grinder, or coffee grinder.
  5. Enjoy freshly ground spices in your favorite recipes.

Types of spices and uses

Spice Use
Allspice Lamb, chicken, stew, breads
Cardamom Lentils, chicken, curry, rice 
Chili powder Soup, salad dressing, dry rubs, sauces
Cinnamon Desserts, cakes, hot beverages pork, lamb, apples, pears
Cloves Curries, soup, marinades, hot beverages, baked goods
Coriander Soup, sauces, marinades, curry, dry rubs, beans 
Cumin Chili, curry, pork, lamb, beef
Garlic powder Vegetables, dry rubs, salads, seafood marinades, breads
Ginger Chicken, squash, sesame noodles, marinades
Nutmeg Baked goods, pumpkin, butternut squash, rice, sauces
Paprika Fish, rice, salad dressings, marinades, stews
Pepper Eggs, meats, seafood, lentils, beans, vegetables
Turmeric Curry, rice dishes, seafood, chicken


Taco seasoning

Low on salt, but not on flavor. Perfect for your delicious tacos!


  • 1 tbsp chili powder 
  • 1½ tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp pepper 
  • ½ tsp paprika 
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano 
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes 
  • ¼ tsp onion powder 
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder


Blend, place in an airtight container and store for up to 6 months. 

Get additional information and recipes.

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For more information, contact the National Kidney Foundation

Toll-free helpline: 855.NKF.CARES or email:

*This content is provided for informational use only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for the medical advice of a healthcare professional.

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