Smorgasbord Health Column – Weekly Grocery Shopping List by Nutrient – Part Two – Vitamin C to K2.

Last week I posted Part One of this alternative shopping list by nutrient, as well as types of vitamins, water or fat soluble, and a basic list of essential nutrients the body needs to be healthy. At the end of the posts, I will collate the foods into nutritional groups so that you can print off and refer to when doing your weekly shop.

I believe in eating, and eating all food groups, just moderating the amount that you eat based on your requirements. Your body knows how to process fresh food, raw and cooked from scratch. It is not designed to extract nutrients from manufactured foods which includes the majority that come in a packet, jar or can.

With that in mind here is part two of a shopping list that your body might write if it was capable. It does try to tell you that it is missing elements that it needs which is when you are sick.

Last year we ran a series on nutrients and the symptoms of deficiency.. and Carol Taylor provided very tasty recipes using ingredients to make sure you don’t lack certain vital vitamins and minerals. Cook from Scratch to avoid Nutritional Deficiency with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor

The alternative shopping list by nutrient that the body needs to be healthy – Part Two

We usually compile our shopping list based on our preferences, tastes and sometimes pocket. But I have a slightly different method that you might find useful.

The chemical interactions within our body that are essential for life – including the healthy functioning of our immune system – are only made possible by the raw ingredients in our diet. Even if you are having the occasional food fest, if your basic diet contains the right raw ingredients it won’t matter to your body.

It is the everyday ingestion of sugars, Trans fats and white starches that cripple the system – I follow the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the time your body is getting what it needs, 20% of the time you can have what your heart and taste buds would like too.

You can ring the changes within the nutritional ingredients, and whilst it is a good idea to eat seasonally,we now have access to a great many varieties of exotic fruits that give added benefit to our diets including the powerhouse, for example, that is the Avocado.

I hope you will find plenty of foods that you enjoy on this list and will incorporate others you are less familiar with so that you get plenty of variety.

Quite a few foods fall into several categories so I will give you the top sources within the groups- these are the foods that should make up your basic shopping with seasonal fruits and vegetables when available.

For example, spinach has Vitamin A, B1, B2, B9, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium – (Popeye knew what he was doing)

Here is the shopping list to select foods from for each of the nutrients picking up after the B – Vitamins – I have added the link to further information on the nutrients in posts I have written previously

Vitamin C – Ascorbic Acid – Involved in over 3000 processes in the body!

Vitamin C is probably one of the best known of our nutrients. It is rightly so as it has so many important functions within the body including keeping our immune system fighting fit. The best way to take in Vitamin C is through our diet, in a form that our body recognises and can process to extract what it needs. For example a large orange a day will provide you with a wonderfully sweet way to obtain a good amount of vitamin C, but to your body that orange represents an essential element of over 3000 biological processes in the body!
Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid is water-soluble and cannot be stored in the body. It therefore needs to be taken in through our food on a daily basis. It is in fact the body’s most powerful water-soluble antioxidant and plays a vital role in protecting the body against oxidative damage from free radicals. It works by neutralising potentially harmful reactions in the water- based parts of our body such as the blood and within the fluids surrounding every cell. Find out more about this nutrient: Vitamin C – Ascorbic Acid

The best food source of vitamin C is all fresh, raw fruit and vegetables. Avoid buying prepared peeled and cut vegetables and fruit, as they will have lost the majority of their vitamin C. If you prepare juices at home, always drink within a few hours preferably immediately. Do not boil fruit and vegetables, it is better to eat raw whenever possible preserving all their nutrient content, but at the very least only steam lightly.

The highest concentrations of Vitamin C are in Blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cherries, grapefruit, guavas, kiwi fruit, lemons, oranges parsley, peppers, rosehip, potatoes, tomatoes and watercress.

 Vitamin D3 thinks its a hormone – and our bodies have a different process to obtain and utilise it that is partly digestive but primarily through our exposure to the sun.

Vitamin D3 is necessary for our bone health (aches and pains), immune system (frequent infections), arthritis (joint pain) hormonal fluctuations (SAD is more prevalent in women).

Most people think if they are taking in Calcium that they will be keeping their bones healthy but in fact Vitamin D3 is vital in this process. There is a worrying increase in the numbers of children being diagnosed with this condition which is called rickets which is why recently the health service has suggested giving all children of 5 and upwards Vitamin D3 supplementation.

That is because most of our children are no longer exposed to sunlight which is the most efficient way for our bodies to produce the essential Vitamin D3 it needs.  Find out more about this nutrient: Vitamin D3.

There are also dietary sources of Vitamin D3 – We need at least 10ug per day and we can get this if we eat eggs (yolks) and oily fish such as mackerel, tuna and salmon, regularly during the week as part of a balanced diet. You can also buy fortified milk and orange juice with D3 but I do caution about buying many of the cereals that claim to have it added as they also contain harmful levels of sugar. Always check the labels.

Vitamin E (Tocopheral) is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radical damage to nerve and cell membranes. It works within the body to protect the more harmful cholesterol (LDL) from free radical damage and therefore helps prevent the build up of plaque leading to atherosclerosis. As you will have read from the recent series on heart disease, atherosclerosis is the leading cause of heart problems and including vitamin E rich foods in your diet is very important as part of the battle to keep your arteries healthy.

There is a great deal of research currently being conducted into the benefits of vitamin E and these include studies into cancer prevention, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, fibrocystic breast disease and cataracts.  Find out more about this nutrient: Vitamin E – Tocopheral

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin and is found in nuts such as almonds and walnuts, sunflower seeds and their oil, whole grains like maize, egg yolks and leafy green vegetables like spinach. Also found in apples, bananas, broccoli, brown rice, carrots, lamb’s liver, onions, Sunflower oil, oily fish and shellfish.

There are two forms of the vitamin that the body can utilise. One is K1 (phylloquinone), which is from plant sources and the other is K2 (menaquinone) which is produced by bacteria in our own intestines. It is needed for bone density, blood clotting, brain and kidney health.  Find out more about this nutrient: Vitamin K1 and K2

This is where many of us get into trouble because we are not eating sufficient raw and unprocessed foods for health, and additionally many of us suffer from bacterial imbalances in the gut so do not produce sufficient from that source either.

The vitamin is fat-soluble and is stored in the liver. Studies indicate that approximately 50% of the stores come from our diet and the balance from bacteria in the intestines. We need healthy bile production for efficient absorption of Vitamin K and our lymphatic system circulates it throughout the body.

It is very easy to obtain sufficient Vitamin K2 through diet and you will find good sources in dark green leafy vegetables such as asparagus, avocado, broccoli, brussel sprouts, green beans, kale, spring onions, spinach, fennel and leeks. Prunes are a good source as well as plant oils such as olive oil. Fermented foods are an excellent and great if you can get your hands on Natto – a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans.

In the western world, we can find good sources of Vitamin K2 in grass fed matured cheddar and other cheeses, also from yogurt and other dairy products. Also good sources from eggs and a raw egg yolk has the most concentration. Liver from grass fed animals including beef, pigs and lamb are a good source.

N.B. Corn fed dairy do not produce milk, cheese and other dairy products as rich in Vitamin K and you should try to find the traditionally made butters from summer grass animals. The same applies to Free Range Eggs. Hens that are corn fed instead of scratching around in the grass of a field do not produce eggs with as much Vitamin K.

Although the vitamin is fairly resilient it is better to eat plant sources either raw or lightly steamed to obtain the maximum benefits. Freezing reduces the amount of the vitamin so you need to eat a little extra of frozen vegetables than fresh.

Next time the minerals we need to be healthy and the foods you should include in your shopping list- and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Thanks Sally.

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty- two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here:










30 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Weekly Grocery Shopping List by Nutrient – Part Two – Vitamin C to K2.

  1. Very useful, Sally. I’m way behind today and not reading blog posts in order because after being out all morning I sat down at my computer and the cat immediately pranced across the keyboard – and all today’s emails vanished. I have no idea how she did it and it took me forever to figure out how to get them back – even checked the deleted file.

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  2. Thanks as always Sal for your good info and reminders. I figure if I read them enough I’ll eventually remember what foods reap the best benefits for each vitamin. 🙂 ❤

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  3. So much wonderful info in one post, Sally…I also follow the 80/20% and it works well for me we all need a little treat now and again…guilt-free…Pressed this for tomoz …Hugs xxx

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