Individuals living with Type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of developing kidney disease at some stage in their lives…
- high blood pressure,
- obesity, and
are all co-factors in diabetes and kidney function. Fortunately, many of the methods for supporting healthy kidneys are the same for supporting Type 2 diabetes maintenance – exercise, proper medication, not smoking, and eating right.
Eating right is a main focus for your Type 2 diabetes and kidneys maintenance, because it’s the one thing you can control every day of the week. There are two key nutritional factors that will have a major impact on your kidneys – sodium intake and protein intake.
1. Sodium intake. High blood pressure is highly correlated with kidney failure, so it’s recommended diabetics limit their sodium intake to help keep blood pressure at healthy levels. When considering sodium intake, less is always better, but the sources of food you eat are also impacting sodium.
Processed foods like…
- deli meats,
- processed meats, and
- snack foods
are not only high in sodium, but they also typically contain monosodium glutamate and nitrates, which may cause long-term damage to kidneys.
Also, eat less fast food and take-out foods, which are often laden with sodium and preservatives like nitrates. Inside your home kitchen, invest in seasoning shakers that are labeled “salt-free”- these herb and spice-based shakers help to enhance the flavor of foods without any extra sodium.
2. Protein intake. Ample protein intake does several things for Type 2 diabetes… it keeps blood sugar levels stabilized, reduces hunger cravings, and makes you feel full longer. But eating extremely large amounts of protein in an imbalanced diet can end up putting more strain on your kidneys than they can handle.
Once you’ve consulted with your dietitian on your specific protein needs, decide on healthy protein sources to fulfill those needs. Lean animal proteins like roasted and baked poultry are good options, as are lean seafood choices such as wild salmon or Pollack. Don’t forget about non-animal proteins, which are often lower in saturated fats and higher in nutrients, such as beans, whole grains, and nuts. Even substituting one or two meals in a week with a meatless entrée can help to maintain optimal health while still achieving your protein needs.
It’s easy to support healthy kidneys on a balanced diabetes meal plan. Keep your intake of processed foods, cured meats, and take-out foods to a minimum to keep sodium levels stable. Increase your lean protein and meatless protein intake to stabilize your blood sugar and keep your kidneys working within capacity.