Eating For Good Kidney Function

March 18, 2023

In honor of March being National Kidney Month and the repeated requests we’ve received for this topic, today we will discuss foods to eat for good kidney function. One in seven American adults have chronic kidney disease, but many don’t even realize it until it is in an advanced stage because the signs aren’t obvious. Early detection is the best for treating kidney issues and for preventing toxins that can lead to other health conditions such as gout, bone disease, and heart disease. Today we want to discuss the major sources for kidney disease and help you understand that what you are eating can play a part in how well your kidneys function.

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MELANIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Today we will discuss what are good foods to eat for good kidney function. In the past several months, we have had repeated requests for this topic: kidney function. It's a thing, Teresa. Why so much interest in kidney health? Well, today there are more than one in seven American adults that have chronic kidney disease, but many don't even realize it until it's in the end stage of kidney disease. If you experience late stage kidney disease, toxins can be built up in your body leading to other health conditions such as gout, bone disease, and heart disease.

Today we want to discuss the major sources for kidney disease and help you understand that what you are eating is playing a part in how well your kidneys will function. I'm Melanie Beasley. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with several years of experience working with and helping a variety of clients, which is my joy. I see people in studio. I see people in my office, and I see them through Zoom. But in studio with me today is Teresa Wagner. Hi, Teresa.

TERESA: Hello.

MELANIE: She is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And again, with many years of experience working with a variety of clients.

TERESA: Yes, and it's my joy too. I love it.

MELANIE: I love it.

The kidneys’ function in the body

TERESA: It's, it's a great job. Well, as we're getting started today, I feel like this topic of kidney disease and what to do for prevention and how to support our kidneys, let's get started by talking about the kidneys and their main job in the body. Your kidneys, they're located near the middle of your back, below the ribcage on both sides of your back. They are shaped like kidney beans and are about the size of your fist. Within the kidneys, there are these tiny filtering units. They're called nephrons, which filter the blood and form urine to allow waste products to pass out of the body.

MELANIE: So they're a filter system.

TERESA: Right. Yep.


TERESA: Yeah. The kidneys, they are crucial organs because they maintain proper hydration. For example, if your body is sensing that you're dehydrated, it will start to conserve, conserve water in your body. It filters the kidneys. They filter and regulate the minerals in your bloodstream, minerals such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, your electrolytes, right?


TERESA: And this is, this regulation is important because without it, your nerves, muscles and other tissues of the body may not function properly. The kidneys are also crucial organs because they remove or they eliminate toxins and medication residue. So when we take medications, there are byproducts that happen from those medications, and the kidneys help to filter that out.

MELANIE: They're protecting us.

TERESA: Exactly. Yep. And I would say that that would be a great way to describe the kidneys. They're a part of that protection system that our body has.


TERESA: They're crucial organs because they remove waste products the body makes from just metabolizing the food and beverages that we eat and drink. And they also create hormones which promote bone health. They regulate blood pressure and stimulate the production of red blood cells.

MELANIE: You know, I'm really glad you mentioned that because a lot of women are concerned about their bone health. So your kidney function plays a major role in preventing osteopenia or osteoporosis. Well, when we eat protein, a natural waste product is produced called urea, and removing urea from the body is one of the most important functions of the kidneys. And in addition to removing the urea, the kidneys also remove food additives, excess hormones, medication, harmful minerals, and other byproducts from digestion.

TERESA: Right. And we do have a measure on when you go in for your labs, it's called the BUN. And really, if you're looking at your lab report, you can see how well your kidneys are functioning, and that's one of the reports that you can use. So that BUN measures how much urea is in the blood.

MELANIE: Yeah. Great.

TERESA: In the, in adults; I thought this is really interesting. In adults, the kidneys manufacture about six cups of urine a day. And of course that depends on a lot of variables, how much water you're drinking, what medications you're taking.

MELANIE: Is that all? I feel like it's a lot more. Is it only six cups?

TERESA: Perhaps you drink a lot of water.

MELANIE: I really do.

Possible symptoms of kidney dysfunction

TERESA: Well, you might wonder why or what kind of symptoms you may have, symptoms or signs you may have if your kidneys are not functioning problem properly. You might have nausea on and off, or you might feel as though you have to throw up. Some people lose their appetite because the toxins are too high in their body. This is a common symptom when your urea levels are up too high.

MELANIE: Yep. And I've I had a client in leg cramps. You know, that's, that's not our first go-to, but we couldn't get rid of leg cramps. And it turns out that she was having, she was early onset kidney failure. And so something to thinking about.

TERESA: Interesting.

MELANIE: Recently, I also had a client who experienced fatigue and felt weak, and she needed to urinate all the time and was up several times a night going to the bathroom. And those muscle cramps I mentioned, that was problematic in her legs. And she was having fluid retention. And of course her blood pressure kept going up several ticks. It was really frustrating for her. Well, when your kidneys are not functioning well, you really just feel toxic and you just don't feel yourself.

TERESA: Advanced chronic kidney disease can cause high levels of fluid to buildup. The kidneys just can't regulate the, the fluid levels in the body. This can cause shortness of breath and even chest pain if the fluid builds up around your lungs and your heart. And this is a really serious health condition.

MELANIE: It is. It sounds scary. We do have some good news coming.

TERESA: Yes, we do.

2 main causes of kidney disease: Type 2 Diabetes & high blood pressure

MELANIE: And earlier in the show, we mentioned that one in seven adults have kidney disease. So what is causing the high incidence of kidney disease? I mean, this is on the rise. Well, kidney specialist, Dr. Cassandra Kovach from the Cleveland Clinic said that “Two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure”, both of which she said are preventable conditions. Diabetes and high blood pressure are preventable; preventable. So think of that. There is hope.

TERESA: Right. Exactly. And that's what I was thinking too, is that there's lots we can do about this. We don't have to be victims of the circumstance. We do have some control. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, high blood pressure and diabetes are the causes of three out of four cases of chronic kidney failure in the U.S. We want to help you control your diabetes and high blood pressure before it damages your kidneys. It's not usually common knowledge, but actually diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure.

MELANIE: Diabetes.

TERESA: Mm-Hmm. About a third of all adults with diabetes also have kidney disease. And what is the cause of diabetes? Well, it's high blood sugar levels. And for those with type two diabetes, this happens from years of eating high sugar foods or processed carbohydrates. And it is possible to get give up these foods.


TERESA: It's difficult, right? But it's possible.

MELANIE: Especially if it's been a habit for a while. And that's why someone who can walk alongside you and help you swap this for that, but your kidneys are worth it, I think. And as dietitians, we're not surprised by this information. When you have too much glucose or sugar in your blood for an extended time, the glucose or the sugar damages the blood vessels and filters in the kidneys.

Think of, think of it this way. Every time you drink that high sugar coffee drink or sweet tea, the sugar damages your blood vessels creating inflammation and hammers on your kidney filters until they're not working well. You may not realize that potato chips and French fries also turn into sugar and can lead to diabetes. Add the beer, and you get the perfect formulation for diabetes. So think about what you ate last night, listeners, or where you went, because this is where we want to start paying attention to protect our kidneys.

TERESA: If you have prediabetes or diabetes, it's important to meet with a dietitian or a nutritionist. And we would suggest maybe in the beginning, maybe once a month, to really establish the consistent habit of avoiding high sugar, high carb, processed foods, not just for one day, but every day. It's not common for people with prediabetes to know and to understand how these higher blood sugar levels can often lead to kidney dysfunction and eventually even dialysis. So maybe later in the show, we can talk about other foods that we can avoid and other foods that we can incorporate into our diet in order to prevent diabetes.

MELANIE: And I think that that'll be great. Well, it's time for our first break, and you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Have you decided it is time to get your nutrition in order? A good place to start is to take our one hour virtual class called Breaking the Sugar Habit, and also sign up for Reduce the Risk of Prediabetes and Diabetes. Both are good foundation classes to support your kidney health, and the cost for each class is only $25. And you can get, you can watch it when it fits into your schedule, which we love. Go to and click on classes. If you need help, call us at (651) 699-3438. We will gladly help you. We'll be right back.

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TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today we are discussing what to eat for good kidney function and what foods to avoid. I'm Teresa Wagner. I'm a registered and licensed dietitian, and I'm in studio with Melanie Beasley, who is also a registered and licensed dietitian. We both have worked for many years helping people eat better for better health. If you are concerned about your kidneys, I invite you to make an appointment with one of us. We love to work with people. We're not judgmental. We're just here to help you figure out how we can help you best. Call us at (651) 699-3438 and see if we're a good fit for you.

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High blood pressure and kidney failure connection

MELANIE: Well, when we went to break, we were talking about causes of kidney failure and that, I want to bring up the second cause of kidney failure is high blood pressure. So listeners, know what your blood pressure is doing. If it starts creeping up, that's something you want to be aware of because if you have high blood pressure, damage can occur to the blood vessels in your kidneys. And if your blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged, your kidneys don't remove the waste and the extra fluid.

And this extra fluid often drives your blood pressure up even higher, and then more damage occurs. And the best way to slow or prevent kidney disease is to manage high blood pressure, and also to have normal blood glucose numbers. Both of these conditions are related to what you are eating and your activity level. So just get you one of those blood pressure cuffs. You can even get them on Amazon. Of course, you can get anything on Amazon. And see what your blood pressure is doing if you have concerns.

TERESA: Right. And a visual I like to use when I'm working with clients on, on high blood pressure and the damage it can cause to the blood vessels, I will have them picture a garden hose. Have you used this example? I know it's maybe a common example.

MELANIE: I want you to tell it.

TERESA: Okay. So, with normal blood pressure, water flows through the hose easily and evenly, and the water gets to where it needs to go. So with normal blood pressure, the blood flows through the body and gets to where it needs to go quite easily. With low blood pressure, if you think about the hose, the water just kind of dribbles out. And if you're trying to water your flowers, the water might not get to the pot. So the, the flower, the flower pots could go dry.

MELANIE: Mm-hmm.

TERESA: And your flowers may not survive. But if we're thinking about low blood pressure and thinking about the blood pressure not being strong enough, you can get things like lightheadedness. So especially going from maybe laying down to standing or sitting to standing, you might get lightheaded because the pressure of the blood to get to the brain isn't strong enough.


TERESA: With high blood pressure, you think about turning your, that hose on full blast, right? And so there's a lot of pressure of that water against the sides of the hose. If we're thinking about our blood vessels, it's the same thing. There's a lot of pressure of the bloods against the, the blood vessel walls. And perhaps this has happened to you, but maybe you've had a garden hose where it's actually split because the pressure got, maybe it got kinked and then the pressure got too high and it, it caused a split in the hose.

Well, if we're thinking about high blood pressure and the damage that the blood can do to the blood vessel walls with all that pressure against them, that's where, that's where we start getting concerned. And those tiny little blood vessels in the, in the kidneys are very or more susceptible to the, this kind of damage.

MELANIE: Absolutely.

Foods to eat and avoid for optimal kidney function

So, so that's why high blood pressure can be so, so hard on, on the kidneys. Of course, there can be other causes of kidney failure in addition to diabetes and high blood pressure. But they're just, they're not quite as common. So when we're talking with clients, they ask us, well, what foods should I eat to avoid kidney failure? And what should I stay away from to protect my kidneys? Most experts, including all the dietitians and nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, recommend giving up processed foods and eating just real foods. It's simple to say. It's harder to do. Most people to get started need some sort of ongoing support, whether that be classes or counseling to help achieve that goal.

MELANIE: If you've had those habits for a long time, it's really daunting to start changing because suddenly you are like, well, what do I eat?

TERESA: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

MELANIE: So you reach into your habits and you just start eating what you used to eat because you're frustrated and you're busy.

TERESA: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. An example of that could be, you know, you go out to meet your friends for breakfast, and typically we like to get things like pancakes or French toast, but both of these can be kidney damaging choices. However, if you choose to have eggs cooked and butter with a side of vegetables and fruit, you have a kidney healing breakfast, and you still get to have a good time with your friends. So you don't have to hide away and just eat foods at home. You can still go out and, and do the things that you typically do. We, in counseling, what we do is we just try to work with you in order to try to figure out how to make this work in your life.

MELANIE: Absolutely. And when you, when you start focusing on the time that you're having and the social interaction, the food becomes secondary. So don't go starving, because that big platter of pancakes and syrup sounds delicious. But if every Friday night is pizza night with the family, we would tell you that pizza is a kidney damaging meal.

In general, pizza contains sugar in the sauce, flour in the crust, and that flour breaks down to sugar and usually contains some sort of damaged vegetable oil in the crust. Family meals are really important and so are traditions, but so are your kidneys. So here's my solution to Friday night pizza. I do make the pizza recipe from the Weight and Wellness cookbook. The crust is patted down ground beef. I actually use Italian sausage and it has a great tasting sauce with organic tomatoes and vegetables. And you can find that recipe on our website, Just search for meat and veggie sheet pan pizza, and your family can enjoy this pizza. It freezes great. So you can bring it for lunch. And it is a kidney healthy recipe so that you can get that pizza experience.

TERESA: I love that idea with the Italian sausage. I haven't made it like that before.

MELANIE: It’s so good.

TERESA: Next time. For another fast and easy dinner we will cook at my house; we will cook turkey or beef patties. I like to make potato wedges in the air fryer. They're so fast and easy, which I love the air fryer.

MELANIE: I'll have to I ask you about that after, yeah, after the radio show, because I never used mine.

TERESA: Well, you are missing out.


TERESA: So it's, I feel like the trick with the air fryer though, is just finding those recipes that work really well. And sometimes it's just getting to know your, because not all air fryer recipes work for all air fryers. And so what I found is that it took a little bit of trial and error with, with the air fryer, but I feel like it's a very handy tool. In any case, make some potato wedges in the air fryer, throw together some raw veggies that my kids like: carrots, cucumbers, red bell pepper. Maybe I'll throw together a salad for my husband and I and it's, it's very easy and everybody likes it. My husband in the summer will grill, and so it makes it easier on me.

MELANIE: Yeah. Well, we're ready for our next break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Our topic today is how to avoid kidney damage and kidney failure. One in seven adults are now experiencing kidney failure and there are over 75,000 dialysis centers in the U.S. For the most part, both type two diabetes and high blood pressure are preventable. We'll talk more about that when we come back from break.


TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Coming up this Wednesday, March 22nd is our next live virtual cooking class, Cooking for Better Digestion. Have you ever wanted to learn how to make your own bone broth or ferment vegetables at home? Maybe you were too intimidated about where you were going to start. I know I've had that feeling with fermenting vegetables. I have not done that. Have you fermented your own vegetables?

MELANIE: I haven't.

TERESA: Yep. Nope. So I'm definitely taking this class. Chef Marianne makes it so easy and enjoyable to follow along and you learn so much along the way. Plus you get a recording of the class to rewatch so you don't miss anything. To sign up for this class, call us at (651) 699-3438 or visit

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MELANIE: It's really fun to get that video because well, you can do it, pause it, do what she says, rewind. Right?

TERESA: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

MELANIE: It's like a cooking class do over.

TERESA: Right, right. So you see, watch it that first time you get the, you get the, you get what's going on, and then you go buy all the ingredients and then you can do it along with her.

High blood pressure: foods to avoid and consume

MELANIE: Yeah. I, I love it. It's so fun. Well, we were talking about high blood pressure and to avoid high blood pressure, most doctors will recommend cutting back on salt or sodium. And when you cut out processed foods, you will reduce 70% of your sodium intake. So it's a win. Eating real food is low sodium, and you can reduce your sodium amount by 70% by just cutting out processed factory foods and eating the real food that you find in nature.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests looking at the label of food. If it has more than 500 milligrams of sodium for a serving, it's considered a high sodium food. So think about this: the front of a label, when you buy a product, is designed to sell you. Roll it over and read the backside. And that's designed to inform you because if you eat food with 120 milligrams of sodium, you are eating food lower in sodium and should be able to easily stay below 1500 milligrams of sodium daily.

TERESA: And it's, that's the recommendation, right? The 1500 milligrams of sodium.

MELANIE: 1500 to 2000. And you know, the thing is, is it's not just that you're avoiding sodium, but you're nourishing your body with real food to help heal your body.

TERESA: And there's the sodium/potassium balance too. When you're eating real food, you get more potassium in which naturally balances out that sodium so that you have that better ratio of sodium/potassium, because if you're eating all processed foods, it's they’re very low in potassium.

MELANIE: And you need that, you need that balance. And if you're eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, you're getting the potassium to balance out that sodium. So when you eat a cup of broccoli, you consume about 30 milligrams of sodium, or a medium sized baked potato has about 12 milligrams of sodium. But an average fast food serving of French fries has about 260 milligrams of sodium. If you eat three pieces of pizza, you're consuming 640 milligrams of sodium or more; depends on what you put on it. But if you eat fast food or processed food diet, you're easily getting over that 1500 milligrams of that allowed sodium that's recommended.

TERESA: Right. And I don't want to, when we're talking about sodium, I don't want to make it seem like sodium is terrible for you because we, sodium is crucial for our, for our body to work, like we were talking about earlier. You need it for your nerves to function and for your muscles and your organs, your, in order for your heart to beat, we need to have sodium.

MELANIE: We need it.

TERESA: And, and that's why, like I would say all these natural foods actually do have a sodium component. It's not very large, but like you said, broccoli has 30 milligrams of sodium in it. And so…

MELANIE: And, and we should clear up that sodium does not cause kidney disease. It's once you have kidney disease, your body just can't handle that pressure. So it's, it's not that sodium causes high blood pressure or kidney disease.

TERESA: Right, right. I like that you, yeah, you cleared that up too, because I think that there is just such this idea that it's kind of like cholesterol. You know, we think that cholesterol is, and most people have this idea that cholesterol is so bad, but it functions, you know, it has such good functions in the body and actually sodium the same. We need to have that balance so that our bodies work correctly.

And the type of sodium actually that is found in most processed foods is also like that cheap sort of manufactured sodium that is just not as healthy as, as the more naturally occurring sodium that…

MELANIE: Yeah, that’s a good point.

TERESA: It's a good kind comes in, comes in our natural foods. But like you were saying, when you're eating processed foods, it is so easy to go well above that 1500 milligrams or 2000 milligrams of sodium.

MELANIE: And you know it because you wake up a puff mama.

TERESA: Right; your rings don't fit.


TERESA: Your shoes feel a little tight.

MELANIE: You look in the mirror and think what happened?

Elevated blood sugar can cause water retention

TERESA: And, and along, you know, so we know that the sodium helps our body retain water and actually so does sugar. Sugar also causes fluid retention.

MELANIE: Good point.

TERESA: We know that sugar is a carbohydrate and all carbohydrates in excess can cause fluid retention. When you eat sugar, it causes your pancreas to release insulin. A consistently high blood level of insulin stimulates your kidneys to retain fluid and sodium. So it all goes back to sugar in your diet.

MELANIE: That darn sugar. So listeners, are you ready to get your blood sugar level or your prediabetes under control to protect your kidneys? Are you willing to give up processed foods to get your blood pressure under control? Only you can answer that. So is it worth avoiding the possibility of dialysis in your future by giving up maybe beer and pizza at least 95% of the time? So only you can make that decision for yourself and what you're ready for. In 2020, there were more than 7,500 dialysis centers in the U.S.

TERESA: Isn't that amazing? I feel like…

MELANIE: 7,500.

TERESA: It seems to me that that everywhere you look, there's a new dialysis center popping up where it's… what's going on? And I think what we were talking about is that diabetes is becoming so much more prevalent. So many people have prediabetes and diabetes and that consequence of, of high blood sugars can lead, it's the number one cause of kidney disease. So as we're having more diabetes, we're having more kidney disease. So there's these dialysis centers popping up all over the place and like you said, 7,500 in the U.S., well that means that there's 150 per state, right?


TERESA: That's a lot.

MELANIE: That’s a lot of math. I'm impressed. It's early.

TERESA: But if you think about that too, the population is not even amongst the states, though certainly some states are going to have more than others. And, but they're, they're popping up everywhere. You're seeing these dialysis centers and…

MELANIE: Because the need is there.

TERESA: The need is there. Yes.

Strategies for reducing blood sugar

MELANIE: So when listeners, what we want you to do is pay attention to your blood sugar. When you, you know, if the doctor says, yeah, you're good, look and see how your blood sugar is trending. What was it last year? What was your A1C? Check your blood sugar. And then, you know, you want to figure out how do you switch from eating a high sugar processed food diet. So let's talk about some strategies.

Step #1: make the decision to switch to real food

Well, the first step, I guess is the decision that you want to switch. And if you've always, you know, think about this. If you've always driven a regular sedan car, but decide to switch to a pickup truck, you have to first buy the pickup. I mean, you have to make that decision, right?

TERESA: Right? Absolutely. Good example. As we're going through this, yeah. You just make that decision. When you want that switch, whether it is in your diet or in other decisions in your life, you have to decide and then put some action behind that decision. So maybe for you it's time to switch from a processed fast food diet to a real food diet.

What is a real food diet?

MELANIE: What does that mean? Let's talk about that.

TERESA: What does that mean? Well, first I would say we just need to become educated on what that real food diet is. Perhaps this is a way that your grandma ate, you know, maybe she would eat meat from the farm, vegetables from her garden, butter, olive oil, bacon grease to cook with. So how do you become nutrition smart?

Well, let me suggest taking our Nutrition for Weight Loss Foundation's 12 week class. You can take this class in person and if you are not local, you could take a class via Zoom. We have some options there.

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You can make several appointments with a nutritionist or a dietitian to help improve your life, to help you figure out how to make this real food diet something that you can do.

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It's just getting started, getting started so that we can protect these kidneys. We only have two of them, right?


TERESA: And so we, they're very important organs to take care of.

MELANIE: And they're so, you know, they can be somewhat fragile, so we want to take care of them. But, you know, circling back to strategies. When we say real food diet, you know, I've said it before, I'm going to say it again. If you can't name the plant you pluck it from, or the mother it came from, it's not real food. So if it comes from a factory, you know, break it down. If, if it's in a package, it came from a factory. And so it's how much process has it gone through dictates how much nutrition is left in it and how much sodium has been packed into it. Or sugar.

So bag of potato chips: not nearly as real food as baby red potatoes. So I love your air frying. You're going to tell me how to do that after the break. But the other thing is think about if you are, you're walking through a grocery store and you see, oh, well this is veggie straw potato chips. Are they really vegetables? So roll over that package and read the ingredients and see how much do you see broccoli, carrots, potatoes on there? Or do you see, you know, modified potato starch and flavorings and sodium?

And I could go on and on and on, but that, that's a first start. The very first start might be how much real food am I actually consuming? And by real food we mean can you find it in nature or do you find it at a factory? So that's, that's my soapbox.

TERESA: I feel like the veggie straws is such a good example, though, of, you know, of, of a real food versus not real food. It's kind of, it's a, it's pretending.

MELANIE: It's, it's a pretending food. I like that. It's, it's fooling us. But we'll talk some more about that when we get back from our break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you have previously taken the Nutrition for Weight Loss Foundation series, but need a little refresher to get back on track, let me suggest taking the Ongoing Support and Education series, either in person or at one of our six office offices or go through a Zoom format. That might be the best for you. These classes are all start, they all start the week of March 20th and it's not too late to sign up.

And if you haven't taken our 12 week foundation classes yet, we have another round starting up this spring because we love teaching this class. It's fun. People love it. They've repeated it over and over. Our goal is to build a like-minded community of people to support eating real food for real health. Check out our offering at or give us a call at (651) 699-3438 to get started. We'll be right back.

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Key supplements for type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure

TERESA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. As most of our longtime listeners know, we promote eating real food first for type two diabetes and high blood pressure prevention. But there are three key supplements that have helped many people. The first supplement to consider is Magnesium Glycinate. Magnesium glycinate helps to relax the blood vessels and helps to reduce blood pressure. So if we go back to that hose example. It almost like helps to if the hose was constricted.

MELANIE: It relaxes.

TERESA: To relax it and make, make it wider so that that water can run through more freely. So the magnesium glycinate helps to relax the blood vessels to help reduce that blood pressure. It's recommended to take about 400 milligrams of magnesium glycinate daily. And since it's a relaxing supplement it's great to take it at bedtime because it also can be very helpful for sleep if you're suffering from a lot of leg cramps due to either diabetes or high blood pressure or…

MELANIE: Just a deficiency.

TERESA: Deficiency. We use magnesium glycinate to help with that as well. We also want to make sure that your vitamin D level is between 60 and 80, and vitamin D is just crucial for every aspect of the body. So we highly recommend getting those levels checked and making sure that you are within those optimal ranges. If you're not, we suggest supplementing with vitamin D3 with K2.

The third supplement I encourage clients to take is omega-3 fish oil. And we generally, we say with the fish oil, taking two to four of those gel caps a day will give you the best results. And for those, we recommend taking that with food because they are a fat. And so it's helpful for the absorption of that supplemental fat if you have a meal along with those fats.

MELANIE: And you know, we are such a food first company, but you would have to eat a five to six ounce piece of salmon every day or sardines in order to get enough omega threes. So if you've got dry skin bumps on the back of your arms or your legs you, you want to understand that that's could be an omega-3 deficiency and it's an easy fix.

TERESA: Yeah, it absolutely is. And I think that a lot of times when I'm talking with people, they, they'll say, oh, I like fish. Fish is great. How often are you eating it? Are you eating it every day? Are you eating the fatty fish too? Because it really makes a difference. Are you having, like you mentioned, salmon or sardines or mackerel or herring or something like that, those fatty fish? Or are we eating things more like cod or…

MELANIE: Mahi mahi.

TERESA: Mahi mahi or the white fish, which those are great fish. Don't get me wrong; great sources of protein, but not great sources of those omega-3 fatty acids. So if we're really trying to get those fatty acids up, or even too like adequate levels where we're not having those bump dry skin patches or bumps on the back of our arms, taking a fish oil supplement is really helpful.

MELANIE: Everybody loves smooth skin.

TERESA: Yes, absolutely.

MELANIE: The other thing is to keep in mind is that you want to make sure that you are getting something that is wild caught, mercury distilled fish oil that's four party tested so that you're not then dosing your body with contaminants. That's really important.

TERESA: It's really important. And I think sometimes when we're thinking about supplements, it's how do you pick a supplement, like you were saying with, with food packaging, the front is there to sell you. The back is to inform you. And you can, you can use that a little bit with supplements too and looking for yes: is it third party tested? Is it GMP certified? Has it been sort of cleaned, right, of all those contaminants that that are in it.

MELANIE: Is it sourced from a good source? Because when you stand in front of the supplement aisle, if it's from a, you know, a big box warehouse or a drug store, you're, you're, you're probably not getting a good one. You just aren't. So roll it over and you want to look at the number of ingredients, you know, does it have inflammatory oils that they've put in there? Things like that.

TERESA: Right. I've seen fish oil supplements that have soybean oil as a part of the, the supplement, which that's, that's just creating inflammation. You're trying to take those omega-3s as an anti-inflammatory to help bring down blood pressure and then you add an inflammatory oil. Just, yeah, it doesn't, it doesn't help. And then also like the package, right? Like you stand in front and you're like, well what's selling you is probably, well how does the package look? Or what's the price?

MELANIE: Of course.

TERESA: And if it, if we're getting it from bigger box stores, generally speaking, those are probably closer to their expiration date. And fish oil goes bad. It goes rancid. And so if we're taking rancid fish oil, that's not going to be beneficial for what we're trying to do either as far as reducing that inflammation.

MELANIE: Yeah; really important to get quality supplements. If you're going to spend money, at least make sure you're absorbing a hundred percent and you're not putting contaminants that are then causing an additional problem. Right?

TERESA: Right.

Meal examples to support the kidneys

MELANIE: So let's talk a little bit about what would a day of kidney sparing look like? Eating. So getting up in the morning, Teresa, what'd you have for breakfast?

TERESA: Well, breakfast today was very easy because I was on the fly. I had hard boiled eggs because it was portable. I had blueberries because they were portable. And I had two Brazil nuts for that fat aspect. So we always talk about…

MELANIE: Again, portable.

TERESA: Portable Yep. Eating real food, right? And trying to eat real food in balance, which we really didn't talk about the balance today, but if you have been listening to our shows over the years, you know that we always talk about that balance.

MELANIE: You want to anchor your blood sugar with a protein and a fat, an animal source of protein and a fat and that anchors that blood sugar from popping up and creating the high blood pressure, which in turn affects your kidneys.

TERESA: Right. And so with that breakfast, protein was the eggs, fat was those Brazil nuts, carbohydrate, something to give us a little energy and feel good: the blueberries, and the blueberries are great too because they're anti-inflammatory. So they help to reduce inflammation in the body, which can help to lower blood pressure. And like you were saying, anchoring those fats, anchoring the blood sugar with the fats and protein, well that keeps your blood sugar in balance so that we don't have high blood sugars either.

MELANIE: So really if you're thinking real food and you're having a protein, you're having a fat every time you eat to anchor your blood sugar, you've got it covered. It doesn't have to be difficult to think about. It just needs to be real food. Sometimes when I'm lazy I come home from night, at night and I'm tired and I don't think I want to make anything, cook anything. My idea has run out. I have nothing…

TERESA: Don't want to clean up. Right?

MELANIE: I don't want to clean up. So I pull out my handy dandy blender and I throw in a handful of frozen vegetables. I throw in water. I throw in my protein powder and I throw in a half cup of berries and I usually throw in a tablespoon of nut butter of some sort. Blend, eat, done. Like I didn't have, it's not, doesn't have to be a crazy science, but it got my protein. I've got my fat in there and I've got the antioxidants from the berries and the veggies.

TERESA: Do you have any ideas… I'm kind of putting you on the spot here, but so the biggest complaint I hear from clients when it comes to protein shakes is they're like, you know, I like protein shakes. They taste good. They don't l usually make me feel full as long as eating real food.


TERESA: …does or eating solid food does. And then the other thing that I hear them say is, but I just like to chew my food.


TERESA: Versus drink my food. Do you have any examples of quick dinners? Same scenario: you're coming home from work, you're like, ah, I just don't really want the hassle.

MELANIE: A hundred percent. My quick dinner is my go go-to might be eggs.

TERESA Oh sure.

MELANIE: So I'll scramble up about three eggs, couple sausage patties. I like to put them in, there's something called an Egg Life Wrap, which is just egg whites. And I'll put that in there and make a burrito.

TERESA: Oh nice.

MELANIE: So yeah. Keep it simple, but get real food in to heal your body. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thanks for joining us today.

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