Food really is the cornerstone to good health. Without good nutrition we can’t expect our body to function optimally or to heal ourselves from disease. As the father of medicine, Hippocrates, once said,
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’
However, for people with kidney disease, knowing what to eat and what not to eat can be confusing and it’s made even more difficult by the fact that there’s plenty of misinformation out there from non-qualified (and unfortunately, sometimes qualified!) sources.
So today I wanted to step you through a simple, alkalising recipe that your kidneys (and your taste buds!) are going to thank you for.
Let’s dig in.
Now, I don’t know about you, but there’s something really comforting about sitting down to a bowl of pasta BUT pasta is high in carbohydrates that can drive up blood sugar and it contains gluten which should be avoided in kidney disease. Not to worry, we’ve got a great recipe that gives you a low carb alternative to pasta.
Zoodles with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts
Zoodles = Zucchini noodles.
Zoodles are long, thin strips of zucchini that resemble pasta or noodles and are a great way to increase vegetables in your diet while also being gluten-free, low-carb and alkaline.
1 cup of zoodles contains 30-40 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates compared to 1 cup of pasta which contains 210 calories and 40 grams of carbohydrates. Have I converted you yet?
If not, how about this:
Zucchini is packed full of vitamin C, vitamin A and fibre making it beneficial for immune health and digestive health. Zucchini has also been reported to decrease homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine levels contribute to cardiovascular disease and increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Zucchini is also rich in antioxidants which are beneficial compounds that protect your body from damage by free radicals. Free radical damage or oxidative stress is implicated in the development and progression of most chronic health conditions including kidney disease and diabetes.
Step 1: With a sharp knife, peel the zucchini into thin ribbons or use a mandolin; drain.
Zoodles can be made using a mandolin or spiralizer, however if you don’t have either of these then you can cut the zucchini into thin ribbons using a sharp knife.
Step 2: Sauté zucchini noodles in a frying pan for about 3 minutes; set aside.
When choosing what oil to use while cooking, olive oil is a great choice because it’s high in monounsaturated fats and is loaded with powerful antioxidants. Oleic acid, the primary monounsaturated fat found in olive oil has numerous health benefits including reducing inflammation and oxidative damage within the body.
Studies have shown that the use of olive oil is linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, reduced blood glucose levels and a significant reduction in HbA1c. Not only that but olive oil may support reductions in blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Who knew cooking with oil had so many health benefits!
Step 3: Heat olive oil in a frying skillet and sauté garlic until soft. Add the mushrooms mixture and stir for two minutes.
Now for one of my all-time favourite ingredients……. Garlic!
Garlic adds delicious aroma and depth of flavour to whatever you’re cooking but that’s not all it does. For thousands of years garlic has been used for food and medicine.
The medicinal benefits of garlic are wide reaching. Garlic contains many important substances, it’s rich in vitamins B1, B6 and vitamin C as well as manganese, selenium, copper, sulphur and allicin. It’s also another alkaline forming food.
These substances all work in unison and contribute to garlic’s ability to lower high cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, lower blood sugar and reduce inflammation.
Garlic protects the kidneys directly because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, helping to prevent injury to the kidney and indirectly because of its effects on the cardiovascular system, cholesterol and blood sugar- all of which, if left uncontrolled, can lead to and worsen kidney damage. Garlic has the ability to lower blood pressure, which also helps reduce damage to the kidneys.
Mushrooms are great low calorie, low cholesterol, low sodium, alkaline forming foods. They’re rich in B vitamins and the powerful antioxidant selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues (including the kidneys). They are also one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D.
Mushrooms have been shown to have numerous therapeutic properties that can help to lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, boost immune function and may even reduce the incidence of cancer.
Step 4: Add your zoodles and pine nuts; season with the salt and pepper, and stir for two minutes.
Despite their name, pine nuts are actually edible seeds that come from the cones of pine trees. These tiny seeds pack a variety of nutrients essential to your health including health promoting phytochemicals, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. They are rich in monounsaturated fats that help lower LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ and increase HDL, the ‘protective cholesterol.’
Deciding whether to season this dish with salt is entirely optional, make sure you abide by your daily allowance and if you do choose to season with salt, coarse sea salt is a better option because it’s not chemically treated and is easier to control when sprinkled with your fingertips.
Step 5: Serve hot with chopped parsley
I’m a big fan of adding herbs to nearly every meal, and not only because they add an enticing aroma, fresh flavour and vivid green colour, but they also have remarkable health benefits.
Parsley benefits the body in many ways and is considered a naturally effective treatment for a wide range of symptoms and diseases. This herb has long been considered an all-natural free radical scavenger, heart protector, brain protector, antidiabetic and digestive aid.
Parsley also acts as a natural diuretic to help relieve water retention and ease bloating. According to studies, parsley benefits for the kidneys include lowering your risk of kidney stones and helping regulate the body’s pH by reducing acidity.
So there you have it, you now have a delicious, alkaline, low potassium, kidney supportive dish to add to your repertoire. I hope you enjoy cooking it as much as we enjoy eating it!
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Zoodles with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts
- 2 cups zucchini noodles (about 2 large zucchini)
- 8 oz mushrooms sliced (crimini, oyster, or shiitake)
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup of pine nuts
- Sea salt and ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
- With the sharp knife, peel the zucchini into thin ribbons or use a mandolin; drain.
- Sauté zucchini noodles in a frying pan for about 3 minutes; set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a frying skillet and sauté garlic until soft.
- Add the mushrooms mixture and stir for two minutes.
- Add your zoodles and pine nuts; season with the salt and pepper, and stir for two minutes.
- Serve hot with chopped parsley.
Preparation Time: 20
Serving size: 1/4 of a recipe (7.6 ounces)
Amount Per Serving
- Calories 269.81
- Calories From Fat (72%) 220.83
- % Daily Value
- Total Fat 25g 38%
- Saturated Fat 2.8g 14%
- Cholesterol 0mg 0%
- Sodium 14mg <1%
- Potassium 517.4mg 15%
- Total Carbohydrates 8.6g 3%
- Fiber 2.45g 10%
- Sugar 3.77g
- Protein 6g 12%