Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Eleven – Anti-Aging and a nutrient dense diet by Sally Cronin

Sixteen years ago I had a series on radio called Turning Back the Clock, which I presented in response to listeners in their 50’s and 60’s looking for rejuvenation and tips on staying young. Like me they were exasperated by the claims of the cosmetic industry that the various ingredients in their products could knock ten years off their age. I was asked to design a diet that would help reverse the signs of aging and this developed into a weekly challenge that was undertaken by nearly 100 listeners. The series became a book in 2010.

I try to practice what I preach!  And certainly so far I have managed to maintain healthy key indicators such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol without medication, much to the surprise of my doctor!

In my opinion the answer to turning back the clock by several years is to consider and address a number of factors which include physical, emotional and mental age markers.

Link to part to Part Ten – Taking care of the brain to keep it young: Here

Over the last eleven weeks I have posted about various factors that influence the way we age. For me, fresh food and the nutrients provided by this amazing resource, is the key to being healthy, and also remaining young in body and mind.

I have looked at some of the essential vitamins and minerals needed for specific organs such as our skin, but today I am sharing a list that is broken down into all the essential nutrients we need to be healthy, along with the foods that supply them.

Variety is the spice of life and that includes when it comes to our eating habits. To get the biggest nutritional hit you need to ensure that you are eating a wide range of different foods as they offer different benefits. Some foods contain more of a vitamin or mineral than others and by eating different types you will be consuming healthy doses of what you need.

You will find the shopping list by food at the bottom of the post that you can copy and paste to print out.

First here are the links to more detailed information about the properties and benefits of the individual nutrients.

Vitamins A and B

Vitamin C to K2

Calcium to Manganese

Phosphorus to Zinc

Amino Acids and liver health

Part Six Essential Fatty Acids.

Secondly a reminder of the basic nutrients we need for energy and healthy functioning systems and organs and the main food sources.

  • Vitamins and anti-oxidants – A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (Folate) B12, C, D, E, K,
  • Minerals – Calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc.
  • Amino Acids  
  • Essential Fatty Acids
  • Bioflavonoids
  • Very strong anti-oxidants.

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. In the first list you will find the nutrients with a small selection of foods that contain them.

For example, spinach has Vitamins A, B1, B2, B9, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium – I have included in the first group only. (Popeye knew what he was doing)

  • Vitamin A – carrots, red peppers, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe melon, nectarines, peaches and spinach. Cashew nuts.
  • Vitamin B1 – Pineapple, watermelon, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oats, brown rice, lentils, beans, eggs, lean ham and pork.
  • B2 – All green leafy vegetables, fish, milk, wheat germ, liver and kidney
  • B3 Asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, wholegrain bread and cereals. Turkey, Salmon, tuna, and cheese.
  • B5 Corn (check non GMO), Cauliflower, Brewer’s yeast, avocado, duck, soybeans, lobster and strawberries.
  • B6 – Walnuts, bananas, lamb
  • B9 (folate) – nuts, beans and dark green vegetables.
  • B12 offal, dairy, marmite,
  • Vitamin C – virtually all fruit and vegetables already mentioned but also blackcurrants, blueberries, kiwi, cherries, grapefruits, oranges and watercress.
  • Vitamin D – Eggs, tinned salmon – fresh and tinned herrings.
  • Vitamin E almonds, eggs, maize, apples, onions, shell fish, sunflower oil.
  • Vitamin K– dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, eggs.
  • Minerals
  • Calcium – dairy, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables.
  • Chromium – Whole grains, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – liver, seafood, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and pork
  • Copper – olives, nuts, beans, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits, meat, fish and poultry.
  • Iodine – cod, mackerel, haddock, eggs, live yoghurt, milk and strawberries.
  • Iron– shellfish, prunes, spinach, meats, cocoa.
  • Magnesiumdairy, seafood, apples, apricots, avocado, brown rice, spinach.
  • Manganese – beans, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh fruit.
  • Phosphorus – poultry, whole grains.
  • Potassium – most fresh fruit and vegetables but in particular bananas, apricots, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, nectarines, potatoes.
  • Selenium – halibut, cod, salmon and tuna, mushrooms and Brazil Nuts.
  • Sodium – usually enough in our food but no more than 1 level teaspoon a day.
  • Zinc seafood, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks and tofu.
  • Essential fatty acids –
  • Omega 3 flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkinseeds, avocados, dark green vegetables, poultry and salmon.
  • Omega 6 olive oil and some of the above.
  • Omega 9– avocado, olives, almonds.
  • Amino Acids – dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, soybeans, nuts and seeds.

Some guidelines.

It is best to eat vegetables and fruit in season and from local sources where possible. They are likely to be fresher than those that have been transported some of which can be days or even weeks old. Avoid buying cut vegetables as they have lost 50% of their nutritional value as soon as they have been chopped.  Frozen food is fine as many of the vegetables have been harvested and frozen immediately.

You won’t find sugar, biscuits and cakes on the shopping list. Having them once a week is not harmful, but currently in the United States adults are consuming over 25 teaspoons of sugar a day, mainly in industrialised foods.  Ireland and the UK are not that far behind. There are some quite interesting statistics: Sugar Consumption and the effect on our health

Variety is the key and it is easy to get into the habit with both shopping and cooking, of preparing a very narrow range of foods. If here are certain foods that you don’t particularly like, then put in a slow cooker with herbs and some light seasoning, simmer and then blitz to make a nutrient supercharged soup.

I know that it can be a struggle to eat the recommended 5 portions of vegetables and fruit a day, but if you can manage that for your vegetables across breakfast, lunch and dinner then add in two pieces of fruit. I have an apple and mandarin orange every day.  That will take you to 7 portions.

The foods that I am listing are common to the UK and Ireland and you can substitute with your similar or alternatively named produce. I have only listed the most common items and you can add in your favourite within that food group. I have added in herbs which have nutritional benefits.

Shopping List to cut and paste to print


  • Artichoke – Asparagus – Avocado – Aubergines
  • Basil – Beetroot – Broccoli – Brussel Sprouts – Butternut Squash
  • Cabbage – Carrots – Cauliflower – Celery – Chives – Cilentro – Courgette (Zucchini)
  • Dill
  • Fennel – French Beans
  • Garlic – Ginger- Green Beans
  • Haricot Beans
  • Kale
  • Leeks – Lemongrass
  • Marjoram – Marrow – Mint- Mung Beans- Mushrooms
  • Olives – Onions – Oregano
  • Pak Choi- Parsley -Parsnips – Potatoes – Pumpkin
  • Radish – Red Cabbage – Red Peppers – Rocket – Rosemary – Runner Beans.
  • Samphire – Spinach – Spring Greens – Spring Onions (Scallions) – Sweet Potatoes – Swede
  • Tarragon – Thyme – Tomatoes – Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Yam

Fruit and nuts

  • Almonds – Apples – Apricots
  • Banana – Blackberry – Blueberry – Brazil Nuts
  • Cherries – Clementines
  • Dates – High Sugar – occasional
  • Figs – High sugar – occasional – Flaxseeds
  • Grapefruit –  Grapes
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons – Limes
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Mango – Melon
  • Oranges
  • Papaya – Pears – Plums – Pumpkin Seeds
  • Raspberry
  • Strawberry
  • Walnuts
  • Watermelon


  • Beef – all cuts.
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Ham (to home cook par boil to remove excess salt)
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Cod
  • Hake
  • Mackerel
  • Offal such as lamb’s liver.
  • Salmon – Tinned and North Atlantic wild – Sardines – Shellfish
  • Soy beans (make sure organic as most is GMO)
  • Tofu – Tuna – Turkey

Dairy (Always try to buy grass fed rather than corn fed Vitamin K2)

  • Milk – full fat or half fat
  • Butter (avoid any processed spreads)
  • Cheese – once or twice a week in moderate amounts.
  • Cream – occasional
  • Unsweetened Yogurt


  • Brown Basmati Rice
  • Porridge Oats
  • Wholegrain Pasta
  • Bread (baked in store)
  • Homemade whole grain bread.

Cooking Oils (the least refined the better)

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter
  • Lard (in moderate amounts)
  • Organic sunflower oil


  • Black Tea
  • Green Tea
  • Herbal infusions (make sure not just added flavouring)
  • Coffee
  • Mineral water ( check for low sodium)
  • Coconut water – high in potassium which may help maintain a healthy blood pressure.


  • Alcohol – in moderation
  • Dark chocolate 70% +
  • Dessert twice a week
  • Cocoa drink

I hope that you will find this helpful when you are putting your next shopping list together. Look for loose vegetables and fruit, local if you can verify their origins. Mix things up every week so that you are getting a different food within each of the groups.

©Just Food for Health 1998 – 2021

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-three 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, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2021

Thanks for joining me for this series and as always delighted to receive your feedback… keep young at heart… thanks Sally.

24 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Eleven – Anti-Aging and a nutrient dense diet by Sally Cronin

  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Eleven – Anti-Aging and a nutrient dense diet by Sally Cronin — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine | Retired? No one told me!

  2. Always believe you are what you eat. Always thinking fresh and in season in our house-hold. Cooking from fresh and we never touch fast food when out and about or indoors. I guess I grew up in the 50s when my mother was still versed in the arts of making do and mending – making something from nothing. I can do this too. So much waster and over-spending on food because people do not know how to buy for health and how to cook without destroying nutrients. Thanks for reminding us, Sally. Wise words.


  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 21st -27th March 2021 | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

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