avocados, produce, PKD frienldy, Spring

Spring Highlight: Produce With Perks For PKD [plus recipes]

Apr 08, 2024

As we transition from Winter to Spring not only do we get warmer weather and longer days but also a whole new crop of fresh produce!  This blog will highlight three of our favorite, in-season, spring produce with nutritional perks for Polycystic Kidney Disease. Keep reading to learn more about how avocados, arugula, and strawberries can, and should, be included in your PKD diet.  




Contrary to popular belief, avocados are a fruit!  Even though you can find avocados year-round at the grocery store, their peak season differs by growing location. California's prime avocado growing season is from February to September, making Spring the perfect time to eat them if you want maximum flavor. 

Avocados have no trouble living up to their “superfood” title and are rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and heart-healthy fats.  They are especially rich in monounsaturated fats (MUFAS) which can help lower LDL cholesterol and reduce inflammation. 

Naturally low in sodium and phosphorus, avocados are a wonderful addition to your PKD nutrition plan.  They are also a fantastic source of potassium. Just 1/3 of an avocado contains over 300 mg of potassium, an essential mineral for heart health and blood pressure management.



Nutrition Profile of Avocados

Serving Size: 1/3 avocado

  • Calories: 107
  • Sodium: 5 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Fiber: 4 g 
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Potassium: 325 mg
  • Oxalate: 6 mg

*Source: USDA FoodData Central


 Avocado Recipes To Try


▸▸ Chickpea & Avocado Salad - lower sodium option - reduce the salt in the dressing to 1/4 teaspoon

▸▸ Caprese Stuffed Avocados - keto-friendly and flavor-packed dish

▸▸ Pineapple & Avocado Salad - refreshing, and unexpected flavor combination





Arugula, also known as "rocket" or "colewort," is not only a flavorful addition to salads and dishes but is packed with Perks for PKD. Rich in antioxidants, calcium, vitamin C, and Vitamin A, arugula's nutrients help to reduce inflammation, promote good bone health, and protect your body's cells against damage. 

Arugula, with its distinctive peppery flavor, is a good source of quercetin, a powerful antioxidant. Alongside other antioxidants in this lovable green, like vitamin C and beta-carotene, quercetin helps combat oxidative stress in the body, helping protect your body's cells from damage.

Additionally, arugula is a rich source of calcium, vital for bone health and strength. It also contains a significant amount of Vitamin K which plays an important role in bone metabolism.  Vitamin K helps promote improved bone density and may reduce future fracture risk.


Nutrition Profile of Arugula

Serving Size: 1 cup 

  • Calories: 5
  • Sodium: 5 mg
  • Carbohydrates: < 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: < 1 g 
  • Potassium: 74 mg
  • Vitamin K:  22 mcg
  • Oxalate: 2 mg

*Source: USDA FoodData Central


 Arugula Recipes To Try


▸▸ Mango Rocket Smoothie - printable PDF below

▸▸ Egg Salad Wrap - printable PDF below; for more on eggs check out Are Eggs Good For PKD?

▸▸ Grilled Tofu Pineapple Skewers with Arugula - printable PDF below

>>> Download the printable Arugula Recipes <<<





Strawberries, though often considered a summer fruit, are one of the first to ripen in Spring! Each strawberry contains over 200 seeds that are packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C, which helps support your immune system, promote healthy skin, and helps reduce inflammation.

Additionally, they're rich in potassium, manganese, and folate, helping to support heart health, bone strength, and prevent anemia.

Strawberries are naturally low in sodium, oxalates, and high in fiber.  They are a great berry to include in a lower-carb or ketogenic therapy diet. 


Nutrition Profile of Strawberries

Serving Size: 1 cup whole strawberries, 8 medium strawberries

  • Calories: 46
  • Sodium: < 2 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 11 g
  • Fiber: g
  • Protein: 1 g 
  • Potassium: 220 mg
  • Vitamin C: 85 mg
  • Oxalate: 4 mg

*Source: USDA FoodData Central


 Strawberry Recipes To Try


▸▸ Strawberry Yogurt Bites - we like to swap chopped walnuts in for the granola 

▸▸ Strawberry Arugula Salad - tip for less added sugar: cut the honey in half in the dressing

▸▸ Strawberry Mango Smoothie - swap almond milk for a lower oxalate option like flax or oat milk


Bottom Line


There are so many fruits and vegetables to include on your plate and enjoy with PKD.  Sometimes it is better to think about the positives around what you are eating instead of focusing on Food Fears or confusion around recommendations.  I hope these spring produce highlights help with that.

Eating what is in season is usually more affordable but also helps to increase your variety of fruits and vegetables.  Make sure to put avocados, strawberries, and arugula on your "GOOD FOR PKD" list.  

What recipe you are excited to try, leave a comment below or tag @the.pkd.dietitian on Instagram with your delish dish.


Written By: Mary Looney, Dietetic Student 

Reviewed By: Diana Bruen, MS, RD