Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock – Chapter Four – The Immune System

Over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing my book on anti-aging.. Turning Back the Clock. Some of the strategies have been included in other posts on the various areas of health that can accelerate the natural aging process, but in this book I bring them all together. Some of you may have already followed the series that I posts in February 2016, but I hope enough time has passed for you to find it worth another look.

This is a natural anti-aging programme. We all age but many of us are assisting the process with diet and lifestyle choices. This book takes a look at the physical, mental and emotional aspects of aging and how a little attitude adjustment goes a long way!

Chapter Four – The Key to Health and Anti-Aging is a powerful Immune System.

Over the last three chapters I have looked at the main contributory factors associated with aging. In this chapter I am going to explore the necessity of having a functioning and thriving Immune System and how we can eat food to achieve that.

Why is the Immune System so important in preventing premature aging?

In a nutshell, if your immune system is not functioning well your entire body, including the tissues, organs and systems suffer damage and cannot repair themselves. Additionally, you are wide open to bacterial, viral and toxic invaders who are looking for a nesting site. You have what they need to reproduce and thrive, but they need to make some adjustments when they arrive. They like a lovely acidic, toxic, waste filled environment without too much oxygen. They are particularly fond of a new home that does not have troublesome neighbours such as anti-oxidants and they prefer a quiet life without too much exercise so that they get on and breed. They are a “class act” and make sure that they give you something back in the form of rent. Frequent Colds and Flu, Thrush, skin complaints, fatigue and stomach problems. If you are a really up-market landlord and are offering premium accommodation they will pay you back with Arthritis, Rheumatism, Osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and Cancer.

Not the sort of tenants one is looking for then?

No they definitely are not. The trouble is, of course, that most of them are squatters and should not be there in the first place. Most of us are very careless about our property and leave the back door and sometimes the front door wide open.

So how does a properly functioning Immune System protect us?

The immune system is not just about our internal defences. It actually has a pretty formidable array of physical barriers that are designed to keep pathogens, which are all harmful substances out of our bodies.

The skin is our main external protector. If it is not damaged it will not allow harmful toxins to enter the bloodstream. The problem is that of course it is porous and is designed to allow fluids in and out through the pores. So, any substance that touches your skin, such as chemical preparations can pass right through. For example; if you use strong household cleaners these contain highly toxic substances that will pass through the dermal layer and store in the tissues causing anything from a mild rash to a violent allergic reaction. This is why you must wear gloves when using them. Many of us react to perfume, cosmetics or even simple hand-creams that our body obviously thinks of as toxic.

If you cut yourself-then germs can pass through directly to the bloodstream and from there they have complete access to the rest of your body.

We have special hairs and mucus tissues in our nose, mouth and throat that are designed to catch anything harmful.

If toxins get as far as our stomachs, then acid and enzymes will react and cause you to get rid of the problem. Our lungs too have a very sophisticated defence system that will make you cough it up.

Should any harmful bacteria, virus or toxin get past these barriers then we have a very complex system of cells and antibodies that will rush to our defence.

The liver is of course the place where most of these toxins are going to pass through, and it has specific enzymes designed to destroy them so that they can then be evicted from the body.

What are the effects of Free-Radicals on how quickly we age?

If you cut an apple and effectively damage it, within a few minutes it will begin to turn brown. If you leave it long enough the tissue of the apple will begin to break down and you will end up with a liquid, bacteria covered, and unidentifiable lump on your cutting board.

That just about sums up what free-radical damage does to your body. Just to get a little more technical for a few seconds. We bandy about the phrase “Free-Radicals” as if they are some dissident political group or schoolyard bullies. Like most bullies they are missing something and want yours.

In this case a free-radical is a molecule. A normal molecule has an even number of electrons and is considered stable. Free-radicals on the other hand have an uneven number of electrons and are unstable. They are desperate to be like the normal molecules so they have to steal from them to get another electron. This of course means that they have created another free-radical. More and more cells become damaged and leave the body open to most diseases from cardiovascular to cancer.

Like the apple, the damage is a kind of oxidation, which is the action of adding oxygen to a substance (essentially the same as rusting!)

Aren’t some Free-radicals important for the body?

Ironically, yes. The immune system uses some free-radicals to go and steal an electron from harmful molecules that have entered the system illegally. Problem is, like everything else in the body, we need balances and checks. The Free-Radical police are anti-oxidants and if you have not got enough of them then the free-radicals become vigilantes and go after everything that moves.

Also, we create free-radicals when we exercise energetically and take in additional oxygen. These then assist with the metabolism of foods that enter the body. Again if the balance between these and anti-oxidants is not correct more free-radicals are created than are needed.

What particular part do Free-radicals play in aging?

The free-radicals cause cells to oxidise and die. The major damage is done to our DNA, which results in mutations and death of the cells. Our body does produce anti-oxidants and enzymes that can repair this damage if we eat healthily. However, as we get older so do our cells and it becomes harder to repair them and they die. This is aging! These cells that are dying are in our skin, tissues and organs such as the heart, brain and liver and every system that keeps us alive.

What other area of the Immune System is important to help with anti-aging?

We have a number of safety regulators in the body that are designed to deal with intruders, and if their health is not maintained we become very much more susceptible to disease.

Apart from our bloodstream we have another network throughout our bodies, which is called the Lymphatic system. This system runs throughout the body, and is a little like a railway network with stations along the route, which are called glands. You will often hear people say that their glands are up!

The main ones are the Lymph Nodes in your neck, under your armpits and in your groin. The lymph fluid, which is called plasma, travels along the network, reaches one of the stations and drops off any harmful bacteria in the node. The lymph system contains a number of cells that sound like something out of James Bond movies: B-cells, Killer T-cells, Helper T–Cells, Macrophages and Lymphocytes and these and all other blood cells are produced in our bone marrow; which we hear a great deal about in relation to transplants.

All these cells have specific roles to play but for example the lovely macrophages swallow bacteria and kill them.

When it comes to aging, I think we all know how it feels to be drained of energy, getting continual infections, suffering the pain of degenerative diseases like arthritis. These in themselves make us feel old. But of course all these infections are adding enormous stress and strain to the body and are damaging the tissues in our body at the same time. Although our body is programmed to regenerate over our lifetime, each cell only has a number of times that it can regenerate. If you wear out that system of regeneration when you are too young you are going to age.

In addition, when our body is stressed on a continuous basis, our glands will secrete hormones to counteract the inflammation and adrenaline to enable us to cope. This wears out the organs and they suffer damage and disease.

Where do we start when building up our Immune System?

The first place that we need to start is by gently detoxing our bodies of the accumulated waste. For anyone that has been eating more fruit and vegetables, cutting down on the processed sugary and high fat foods and drinking more natural fluids such as water, that process has already begun. Hopefully problem foods like stimulants and alcohol have been reduced so there are fewer toxins entering the body. The anti-oxidants in the diet are boosting the immune system and you should be achieving a much healthier balance.

In addition to a daily diet of fresh unprocessed foods, particularly vegetables you need to take in foods that will absorb toxins and move them through the body efficiently.

For example I recommend that all my clients start the day by having some fresh lemon juice in hot water – this is excellent for your liver to help it detox. If you add a teaspoon of honey that will help your intestines too. Have a glass of carrot juice mixed with unsweetened apple juice a day will support the detox function of your liver and bile ducts. Also a medium glass of cranberry juice can help keep your urinary tract and therefore your kidneys free of infection.

You should be eating brown rice regularly and certainly a large tablespoon every day is excellent for keeping waste moving through your system as it should. There is a plan for a gentle detox at the end of the book which is easy on the body but effective in getting rid of unwanted visitors.

Is it ever too late to start this?

The really good news is that if you are not already dead you can do something about it. Sounds awful, but even if you are already in your 70’s and 80’s you still have trillions of cells left that can be nourished and repaired and still have reproductive life in them. The real key for managing the aging process is to stop the damage right now.

You can start by embracing the healthy eating plan you will find later on in the book, which is packed full of wonderful anti-oxidants. The main anti-oxidants are Vitamins A, C, E and Beta-carotene, which is the precursor of Vitamin A. There is also Selenium, Zinc and Bioflavonoids. The more brightly coloured fruits and vegetables you consume the more anti-oxidants will be available to your immune system to fight the damage caused by free-radicals.

You should also drink plenty of fluids including water to flush any toxins out of your system and other fluids such as green tea, which are full of anti-oxidants.

You will also be eating a high percentage of your foods unprocessed and from plant sources, which is creating an alkaline environment that germs cannot survive in.

Apart from food is there anything else we can do to protect our Immune System?

Exercise will move toxins out of your body provided you are drinking sufficient fluids. If not, you will know about in the form of lactic acid and muscle cramps. Exercise also pumps oxygen into the body and although this creates free-radical activity, other harmful bacteria and viruses do not like an oxygen rich environment and die. So provided you are taking in sufficient anti-oxidants taking exercise is fantastic.

We have to learn how to relax so that our bodies can rest. Being young at heart and full of vibrant energy is exactly what we are aiming to achieve. But at the same time we have to allow time for our bodies to recover from activity and rebuild its defences. You cannot run any living system without down-time otherwise you will damage all the components.

Take a nap. Make sure you get the right amount of sleep. Take a day off and do something completely different and go out and enjoy a quiet dinner for two etc.

Avoid toxins and germs. Do not put yourself in harm’s way. Use gloves when you are cleaning, wash your hands before preparing food. Wash food if you are not going to peel it.

Do not store household chemicals under your sink in the kitchen, try and put them into an outside storage area.

Although it is wonderful to kiss our friends and shake hands, that is how germs are spread by touch more so than inhaling. So wash your hands several times a day.

Get fresh air at least once a day for 45 minutes and in a the next chapter I am going to show you how breathing and doing some very simple exercises each day can help boost your immune system and minimise damage to your cells and organs of your body.

©sallycronin Turning Back the Clock 2014

You can find the previous chapters in this directory:

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. 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. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook from

And Amazon UK:

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4:

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back The Clock – Chapter Two – Anti-Aging and a healthy body requires the correct pH balance

Over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing my book on anti-aging.. Turning Back the Clock. Some of the strategies have been included in other posts on the various areas of health that can accelerate the natural aging process, but in this book I bring them all together. Some of you may have already followed the series that I posts in February 2016, but I hope enough time has passed for you to find it worth another look.

It is my 65th birthday today so I am looking to lose 10 years somewhere.. it may be my memory…however Paul Andruss has sent this that I thought I would share here… he does know how to brighten a girl’s day….

Anyway.. on with the next chapter in Turning Back the Clock.

This is a natural anti-aging programme. We all age but many of us are assisting the process with diet and lifestyle choices. This book takes a look at the physical, mental and emotional aspects of aging and how a little attitude adjustment goes a long way!



Health and energy and long life all begin with a correct pH balance. The pH balance refers to the acidity or alkalinity of every living organism. The scale for measuring this balance is called Potential for Hydrogen or pH balance and each system or organ has its optimum balance for health. The scale goes from 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral with anything above 7 as alkaline and anything below 7 being acidic. Each step up or down is ten times the previous which means that even a change of .1 will have an effect on your body.

For example human blood stays in a very narrow pH range between 7.35 and 7.45. If the balance goes either side of this there will be varying symptoms of disease. In fact if the pH level drops too much below 6.8 or above 7.8 the heart can stop.

This illustrates how critical this level of acidity and alkalinity is for our health.

If you already have a health problem

If you have a health problem you are very likely to be acidic. Some of the early symptoms are acid after eating, acne, panic attacks, cold hands and feet, food allergies, bloating, mild headaches and fatigue. Sound familiar?

More acute symptoms are cold sores, depression, migraines, asthma, hives, and urinary infections (urine pH should be between 7.0 and 7.2. Under 5.3 you cannot absorb vitamins and minerals), hair loss, fungal infections and numbness and tingling.

Advanced symptoms are the diseases such as Crohn’s disease, MS, Leukaemia, Peptic ulcers, Cancer (thrives in a balance of 4.5 to 5.0), Hodgkin’s Disease, Tuberculosis, Lupus and Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoporosis.

For example, an aging problem that both men and women are likely to experience is osteoporosis. One of the primary causes of osteoporosis is a lifetime of eating too much daily protein and refined sugars. This is very acid forming and necessitates the body continually pulling calcium from the bones to buffer this acidity. Animal protein is somewhat worse than vegetarian protein foods, but all exert an acidic effect. Eating a diet high in processed foods that contain a high sugar content also results in an increase in high acidity.

Too much acid will decrease the energy production in the cells and the ability to repair damaged cells. The body is unable to detox heavy metals and allows tumour cells to thrive. It will also cause a depressed immune system leaving the body wide open to infections.

As we age, we gradually dry up at the cellular level. As we get older cells get thicker. As a result the amounts of vital nutrients and oxygen brought into them declines while the amount of toxins and metabolic waste products increases. The end result is loss of youthful cell function and the start of degenerative diseases and a steady aging process.

What causes too much acid in the body?

An acidic balance occurs from eating an acid forming diet, stress, toxicity in our environment and lack of absorption of alkaline forming minerals. If the body cannot get enough alkaline forming minerals such as calcium from the diet it will borrow from our reserves, namely the calcium stored in the bones which leads to osteoporosis.

All food is burned to an ash in the body. Food ash is neutral, acid or alkaline depending on the mineral content of the food. To be considered alkaline forming the minerals sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium are predominant. If it is acidic forming the ash will contain sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine.

To be healthy the body needs to be in the ratio of 4 – 1. Four parts alkaline and one part acid.

Just because a food is acid to begin with does not mean that it is acidic forming once it has gone through the digestive process. For example, a lemon is citrus and acidic but the ash it produces is alkaline.

There are some physical causes for an acid build up in the stomach that can then lead to a disruption in the acid balances in other systems of the body. Eating too much at one time can result in inadequate processing in the stomach. We are all familiar with that overstuffed feeling that we get when we have eaten too much. If you eat too fast you can compound this problem and the stomach is simply not large enough nor can it produce sufficient processing power to deal with the amount of food in a short space of time.

We have also lost the art of relaxing after a meal, rushing around trying to cope with modern life does zero for the digestive process. I am sure that we can all remember when we were children that we were never allowed to swim or run around for at least two hours after a main meal. Digestion takes a great deal of energy and if you divert that energy towards vigorous exercise, food is not processed properly leading to stomach cramps and increased acidity.

Eating plan for acidity/alkaline balance if you are already experiencing high acidity related health problems that are making you feel older than you are!

It is important that you eat regularly and moderately to provide you with the nutrients that you require and to allow your body to process those nutrients to make them as accessible as possible for your body.

Your main meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner with three snacks in between depending on your energy requirements. The older we get the less we need to snack between meals especially if they are sugary in nature. Main meals should consist of some wholegrain or vegetable carbohydrate, animal or plant protein and a small amount of healthy fats. Always chew food slowly and if you put your knife and fork down between each mouthful you should be eating at the correct pace. If there is someone in your family who always finishes their meal after you then make it a point to slow down so that they finish first.

After a heavier than normal meal always try and relax for at least half an hour before moving around and certainly leave at least two hours before rigorous exercise.

Drinking a small cup of peppermint tea after a meal will aid digestion and it is better to eat fruit as a starter rather than a dessert as it digests much quicker than any other food. If you eat fruit within half an hour of a heavy meal it can cause a disruption to the digestive process.

Intermittent Fasting is also a way to allow your digestive system to process foods thoroughly over sixteen hours whilst you eat within the other 8 hours. If you are not hugely active then eating two main meals with a small amount of fruit as a snack is quite easy to get used to and has been shown to reduce the risk for diseases such as diabetes.

Most people who follow this diet will fast on two days a week with meals adding up to 500 to 600 calories of high density nutritional foods. However, it is tempting then on the other five days to roll the boat out. I find eating two meals a day with a piece of fruit in between, within an 8 hour window every day to be easier to stick to.

Foods that should be avoided.

Foods have different acid and alkaline properties. Some are acidic in the mouth but form alkaline ash; others are so heavily processed that they will turn to acidic ash in the stomach. If you suffer already from acid reflux or peptic ulcers you should follow the following recommendations as strictly as possible. This also applies if you have some of the more common degenerative diseases such as arthritis as an acid environment is perfect.

If you would simply like to ensure the correct pH balance in your body then you can adopt a 60/40 approach and ensure that acid forming foods are only included in your diet once a day. If you suffer from any chronic diseases then for the next six weeks I suggest you follow these guidelines. Make a note in any change in symptoms and if you find that they have improved then this ratio is something you might like to stay with longer term.

Very, very acidic ash forming foods that should be totally avoided are

All soft drinks, More than a cup of coffee per day especially with cream and sugar combined, alcohol in general but particularly cheap wine and beer, refined sugars in commercially produced white flour bread, cakes, sweets and biscuits and artificial sweeteners.

Salt should be used very sparingly, as it is acid forming as well as raising blood pressure.

Very acidic forming foods that can be included 20% of your daily diet are:

Chicken, turkey, fish, shellfish, lamb, beef, pork and other lean proteins.

Oranges (nectarines are okay)

Moderately acidic forming foods that can be included up to 30% of your daily diet.

Wholegrains, brown rice, corn, oats, lentils, walnuts, rye, wholegrain pastas, sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, good quality wines, organic fresh coffee, yoghurt, milk and cheese. Slightly Acidic cranberries and all the beans.

ALKALINE FOODS THAT CAN BE INCLUDED FREELY EVERY DAY. (note that although some of these fruits contain natural fruit sugar they are alkaline. If however you are pre-diabetic or diabetic then you sould limit your fruit intake to one piece per day. Also avoid high sugar juices and instead substitute vegetables.

Figs, olives, apricots (dried as snack three), avocados, carrots, Spinach, Cabbage, Dates (three on salads), kiwis, limes, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, bananas, celery, beetroot, melon, lettuce, parsley, pineapple, pomegranate (if available) nectarines, cherries, grapefruit, tomatoes, cucumber, cauliflower, lemons, string beans, peaches, mushrooms (shitake if not too expensive), watermelon, courgettes, apples and pears.

Are most fruit and vegetables alkaline forming?

Yes they are which is why I so often encourage people to move to a much higher level of vegetables and moderate fruit content in their diet. Ideally 80% of your diet should be unprocessed, fresh and preferably raw foods. However we are not going to go that far to begin with so I have set a 20% guideline for animal proteins, 30% for grains etc. and 50% for fruit and vegetables.

Some other neutral foods that you can use in moderation in the 20% field are the oils and butter and milk. These are classified, as neutral but should be used carefully if you are hoping to lose some weight.

What about sauces for foods?

It is much better to make your own sauces from natural ingredients. It is the sugars in processed sauces that cause much of the acid effect. You can use olive oil or a little butter on vegetables and make salad dressings with olive oil and herbs. I find now that sauces, unless they are very light have become very cloying and take away the natural taste of the food.


A really good alkaline start to the day is the juice of half a lemon in hot water. Despite being an acid fruit, lemons are alkaline forming and also get your intestines moving. It also gives you a jolt of vitamin C.. I use an enamel protecting toothpaste and that is one thing to consider when having lemon juice every day.

Rotating your foods is always a good idea as most of us can build up an intolerance to foods that we eat every day and this can have an acidic effect on the body. I have given you some guidelines for rotating certain foods such as carbohydrates to not only get the maximum benefit from them but to also minimise any intolerances you might have.


wholegrainsThe latest word from some of the experts in the field of nutrition is that you should drastically limit your grains in your diet. There is certainly evidence to suggest that a high intake of refined grains are not beneficial and might lead to health problems. However, there is one very good reason for that. They are industrially produced and contain little nutrition, too many additives and usually a lot of added sugar. If you eat a great deal of cookies, processed white bread, certain breakfast cereals and cakes you will be ingesting sugars which are highly acidic.

A proportion of your diet should include wholegrains that have been minimally processed so that you obtain all the nutrition including B-vitamins that are stripped when refined. You also need the fibre they contain and by eating wholegrains you can reduce your protein levels and help reduce their acid content.

Suggested Carbohydrates

Whole-wheat or wholegrain bread, whole-wheat Pitta breads, shredded wheat, whole-wheat pasta, Rye Crisp breads, Pumpernickel, mashed parsnip. Cornflakes, Corn Tortillas, Porridge oats, sugar free muesli, Brown Rice, oatcakes, potatoes.

As you will see I have grouped these together in approximate wheat, corn, rice and oat days with the occasional potato thrown in. If you have a wheat intolerance only eating it every 4 to 5 days may well help you with any related allergy symptoms.   Your body is designed to remove toxins from the body efficiently provided you are only eating them every four or five days.


We need protein and also some acid forming foods in our diet otherwise the balance goes too far the other way. We also need healthy fat and apart from extra virgin olive oil, lean protein with a little fat is not harmful. If you do not suffer from arthritis or acid digestive problems, eating a little more lean protein should not be a problem.

salmonLean meat beef, lamb, fish both healthy fat varieties such as salmon and white fish, chicken, turkey, Feta cheese, eggs etc.

Try to have red meat only once a week.

Try to get organic if you can but good quality anyway.

Use olive oil for cooking and on bread wherever possible.

Use butter as a spread rather than hydrogenated margarine.

For snacking eat walnuts (14 per day), almonds, Seeds such as pumpkin (all unsalted).

Use avocado a couple of times a week as a vegetarian alternative. You can also use tofu but watch any fat it is mixed with.

Avoid salted processed meats such as bacon and ham except for once a week.


Eat what you like from the list of alkaline forming foods above.

If you like to drink fresh fruit juice, unsweetened are best – they are available freshly squeezed in the supermarket or make at home, but need to be drunk on the day. I do suggest especially if you are trying to lose weight that you dilute with some sparkling mineral water, halving the sugar content. Most fruit juices are made with the higher sugar variety including oranges which burns to an acid ash. I suggest going with vegetable juices such as carrot.

Drink plenty of water, herbal teas etc. and what you like from the list of alkaline forming foods above.

N.B The above guidelines are suggested to reduce your acidity especially if you are already experiencing related chronic diseases such as arthritis. After six weeks you should experience more energy, better skin tone and less of the aches and pains we associate with getting older.

Make a note of your symptoms such as joint pain, headaches, lack of energy at this point and then make a note of how you are feeling each week. I would be interested to get your feedback at the end of the six weeks.

©Sally Cronin Turning Back the Clock 2013

Next Week


A little about me from a nutritional perspective. 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. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook from

And Amazon UK:

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4:

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Health Column – Turning Back the Clock Revisited – Anti-Aging without the Botox.

Over the next few weeks I am going to be sharing my book on anti-aging.. Turning Back the Clock. Some of the strategies have been included in other posts on the various areas of health that can accelerate the natural aging process, but in this book I bring them all together. Some of you may have already followed the series that I posted in February 2016, but I hope enough time has passed for you to find it worth another look.

This is a natural anti-aging programme. We all age but many of us are assisting the process with diet and lifestyle choices. This book takes a look at the physical, mental and emotional aspects of aging and how a little attitude adjustment goes a long way!


A few years ago I had a series on radio called Turning Back the Clock, which I wrote 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 ten week challenge that was undertaken by nearly 100 listeners.

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.

We have all met people in their 30’s who already seem staid and middle aged and it has nothing to do with the wrinkles on their faces. A positive attitude to life is key if you are to beat the clock and how you interact with the rest of the human race will determine your real age.

Certainly our diet plays a part in the health and fitness of our bodies but it is also about our emotional health and how we feel about ourselves that can make all the difference when looking in the mirror. A smile can knock years off as people are deflected from any lines you might have around your eyes.


It is not just about the way we look. Most of us will develop grey hair, expanding waistlines, wrinkles and a somewhat world weary appearance. Of course this is important but at the end of the day no-one is unique and everyone will face this process one day.

I don’t believe that we can stop the aging process, and unfortunately in this modern world, that aging process is accompanied in most cases with degenerative diseases of the body and the mind. Poor quality of life and a dependence on prescription drugs to get us through the last 10, 20 or even 30 years of our lives. However, I do believe that we can slow the process down and ensure that we are as pain free and as vital as possible to the very end.

I decided that I would like to grab back the last 10 years. They were great but there were many things that I could have done better. I cannot change the past but what I would like to do is have another go at it. We often say ‘If only I knew then, what I know now’. Well with a body that is 10 years younger I can go ahead with the knowledge that I have today and use that to do some things differently. I want more out of life not less and to do that I have to be fit and healthy. Now that I am 65, I realise even more, that our age is not just about wrinkles on our faces but the way we approach life and others mentally and emotionally.

I might not look like the new ’40’ but I can certainly act like it.


That is a much debated question and there are number of reasonable and not so reasonable explanations. The more scientific have a certain amount of merit. In the following chapters I will be covering some of these areas in more detail.


As energy is generated in one cell, waste is produced. Waste products consist of unstable molecules, which are called free radicals. Some of these free radicals are quite helpful in fighting certain infections but they can also get out of control and start damaging healthy cells around them, which leads to serious disease.

In a nutshell progressive damage by free radicals leads to aging and age related diseases. Our lifespan is dependent on the damage caused throughout our lifetime and our own efforts to repair that damage by living a healthy lifestyle, reducing stress, eating healthily etc.

Anti-oxidants are the vacuum cleaners of the human body and their job is to kill these harmful free radicals. The good news is that a diet rich in anti-oxidants (brightly coloured vegetables) is part of the solution.


Every day we are trying to cope with the toxins in our food, that we breathe in or we touch. It is very difficult to control our environment completely and to a degree our bodies are very efficient in dealing with low to moderate levels of toxicity. Organs and systems will either react very quickly as in Anaphylactic shock for example or slower such as with a daily ingestion of a food that we react intolerantly to.

Toxicity builds up when we eat high fat, sugar and stimulants to excess and the organs are in overload and are unable to cope. They become damaged and worn out, the cells die and so do we.


Our hormones govern many of the aspects of aging. There is some genetic connection with hormone profiles within families; particularly mother to daughters but research is showing that hormone stimulation and their effect on our bodies can be managed with diet and natural supplementation. I am not an advocate of artificial hormonal replacement although for some people it alleviates very distressing symptoms. In some cases it is necessary to ensure the wellbeing of a woman. I am very lucky in as much as I managed my own menopause with diet and nutrient supplementation and I found that to be perfect for me. Hair loss, menopause, lack of testosterone are all age related but although levels do drop this should not mean that we become old before our time.


This is one of the areas that we are going to be focusing on in the first chapter as the more I have researched this particular area, and the more I have applied the principles to my own diet, the more impressed I have become.

This theory has worldwide recognition. Doctors and scientists in the US, Japan, China and Europe are beginning to appreciate the damage that acid has on our bodies. It is also one of the few theories of aging that is definitely manageable with healthy eating and some everyday normal supplementation of vitamins and minerals. One of the most caustic acids that we consume daily is sugar.


This book is not a weight loss guide although if you follow the food guidelines at the back of the book and eat unprocessed fresh produce and prepare from scratch, the reduction in refined sugars will help you regain a healthy weight. This does not mean skinny. Research is indicating that if you are carrying a few pounds more than the weight charts recommend it is no bad thing! Thank goodness for that. However, carrying two stone or more of additional weight is going to put a strain on your skeleton, muscle strength and the accumulated fat will also be surrounding your major organs.

There is a lot of information now on anti-aging being weight related – is that true?

This is obviously an area very close to my heart. I had so many age related illnesses at 43 when I suffered from obesity. I had Rheumatoid Arthritis rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis. High blood pressure, High Cholesterol, menopausal symptoms, thin hair, fatigue etc.

It is now 20 years later and because I made some lifestyle and diet changes in my overall health is considerably better now than it was then.

There is bound to be general wear and tear but it will help enormously if you can get down to a reasonable weight that enables you to eat healthily, exercise comfortably, put less stress on the infrastructure and makes you feel more confident about yourself.

We do not need as many calories when we get older but we certainly need to take in far more nutrients which is why if you consume a diet that is high in a wide variety of vegetables, lean protein, fruits, nuts and seeds that will give you a really healthy boost of nutrients in a smaller package.

There is a great deal of information about ideal weights, but some of it is confusing – What is an easy way to calculate where you should be?

One of the easiest ways to calculate your optimum weight I have come across is this.

  • For medium framed women as a base use 100lbs up to 5 foot and then 5lbs for every inch over that height. Modify by 5% either way if you have a light frame or heavy frame.
  • For medium framed men as a base use 106lbs up to 5 foot and then 6lbs for every inch over that height. Modify either way if you have a light frame or heavy frame.
  • For example a woman who is a heavy frame and 5foot 6 inches would have an optimal weight of 100lbs + 30lbs = 130lbs x 5% = 6.5lbs giving an optimum weight of 136.5lbs or 60.2Kilos
  • A light framed man of 5foot 10 inches would be 106lbs + 60lbs = 166lbs less 5% = 8lbs = 158lbs or 72Kilos.
  • This is not exact but it gives you an approximate idea of where you should be. To be honest I have met people who are fantastically healthy, fit and full of energy who are a stone or even two stone heavier. But there is no doubt that if we are talking about anti-aging, being a healthy weight for your age and size is important.

Intermittent Fasting to lose weight and increase health.

For the last four years I have been following the Intermittent Fasting eating programme. I eat within an 8 hour window each day and have found that I have more energy. I also follow my own advice and eat at least 80% of my food from natural and unprocessed sources. I regular test for blood sugar levels and LDL cholesterol (the unhealthy kind of cholesterol) which are within in normal range. I am also not on any medication for elevated blood pressure.

Next week:


A little about me from a nutritional perspective. 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. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook from

And Amazon UK:

Comprehensive guide to the body, the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4:

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally



Smorgasbord Reblog – Aging and Wisdom – The New Perennial Age of Women by D. G. Kaye

My friend Debby Gies.. author D.G. Kaye explores the terms used to describe women of a certain age who despite pigeon holing by media and employers, continue to flourish and deny their years. Compared to the mindset of our parent’s era, we are very much younger in our approach to our middle years, and we also have changed some of the rules about how we should look physically.  I am sure that you will get a kick out of Debby’s post and embrace the new term of endearment for us women of a certain age… Perennial.

How many times have we said we don’t feel or look our age? When did middle-age sneak into our lives? Where did the years go?

I’m sure we’ve all begged the answers to those questions once or twice as we women approach our ‘Perennial’ years.

What comes to mind when women use the terms ‘the new 40 or 50′, even 60 or 70? Here’s a clue: it encompasses so much more than just looks.

In my opinion, looks have changed since the last generation, without discounting so many other changes that have occurred through the decades to empower women. Women in their 40s and 50s look much younger than those from decades past. I’m not referring to the advent of cosmetic surgery, but when I look back on decades past, I notice some interesting hairdos and fashion statements. Looking back at the women in my own family and even movie stars with the styles of yesteryear, it’s not hard for me to compare a woman of today in her 40s or 50s appearing younger looking than those before us at the same age. Was it the hairstyles, a more sedentary lifestyle which gave the impression a women in her 30s back when of 30 or 40 years ago looked similar in age to women now in their 40s or 50s?

Back in those days, women didn’t lead lifestyles like they do now, some with powerful jobs, being the bigger bread winner, many working what used to be considered, jobs for only men, or raising a family while carrying a job. “We’ve come a long way baby,” as the old cigarette ad used to say. (Am I giving away my age?)

I have to laugh at the many times my sister and me would bring up the subject of our dreaded childhood weekends we were forced to spend at our paternal grandparents’ house. We’d remark to one another about how even when we were small, our grandmother looked like . . . well, a grandmother. We only envision her old from as far back as we can remember. But lol, I digress.

What made me write this post on women then and now was prompted by a conversation I had on the weekend with one of my sister-in-laws. She shared a topic of discussion that came up between her and her yoga teacher. Her teacher had referred to women in the age group of 40s and 50s as ‘perennials’. Have any of you heard this term used before? I haven’t. But I love it.

I’ve heard of some more unflattering terms such as menopausal, even cougars, but not perennials.

Head over to Debby and check your Perennial Woman Status and if you are a guy with a woman of a certain age then head over to and make sure you are not missing out!:

About D.G. Kaye

I’m a nonfiction memoir writer who writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. My intent is to inspire others by sharing my stories about events I encountered, and the lessons that come along with them.

I love to laugh, and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor. When I’m not writing intimate memoirs, you’ll find me writing with humor in some of my other works and blog posts.

When I was a young child, I was very observant about my surroundings. Growing up in a tumultuous family life; otherwise known as a broken home, kept me on guard about the on-and-off-going status of my parents’ relationship. I often wrote notes, and journaled about the dysfunction that I grew up in. By age seven I was certain I was going to grow up to be a reporter.

Well life has a funny way of taking detours. Instead, I moved away from home at eighteen with a few meager belongings and a curiosity for life. I finished university and changed careers a few times always striving to work my way up to managerial positions. My drive to succeed at anything I put my mind to led me to having a very colorful and eventful life.

Ever the optimist, that is me. I’ve conquered quite a few battles in life; health and otherwise, and my refusal to accept the word ‘No’, or to use the words ‘I can’t’, keeps me on a positive path in life.

I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences.

Books by D.G. Kaye

The most recent review for P.S. I Fogive You – A Broken Legacy on Goodreads

Martha Perez rated it Five Stars.

When I started to read this astonishing true story I have to say I’m very proud of D.G. Kaye, this is a heart- wrenching story with so much emotions about a mother and daughter relationship having a narcissistic mother and being so selfish and damaging her daughter. A mother is supposed to love and treasure the gift God gave her instead she gave her pain and sorrow. I honestly relate to this story D. G. Kaye is an amazing woman she is strong to tell such heartrending an emotional story she has so much courage to heal herself and others.

You live with this all your life wondering why? What did I do wrong! You start to question and blame your own self it’s living with a dysfunctional family it’s never your fault it’s all we know until you’re in adult that you realized how messy life is, she has to make a decision to forgive her mother I think it’s up to the person that was hurt to make such a tough choice. I recommend this book you will learn so much!! Definitely a page-turner.

Read the many reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow D.G. Kaye on Goodreads:

Connect to Debby via her blog:

Smorgasbord Guest Writer – Part 5 – A Question of Immortality by Horatio Grin

Today my guest Horatio Grin explores the subject of immortality. Since the dawn of man the search for everlasting life has fascinated humans and is considered to be the Holy Grail by certain scientists. Today Horatio looks at the possibility that there are already certain humans who might carry the answer to this fascinating possibility.

Part 5: A Question of Immortality by Horatio Grin

There is a popular legend, told in many forms. It concerns a young man who meets and falls in love with a beautiful fairy maid. She is reluctant to return his affection because of the heartache it will bring. When he persists in his wooing, she weakens and marries him. Their life is blessed. They prosper. She bears him children, handsome strong sons and clever beautiful daughters. And they are happily… for a time.

As the years pass, the children grow up and the husband grows old. The fairy wife remains unchanged. Resentful and bitter at life’s unfairness, the husband treats her badly; even though he once promised, years ago, he never would. Early one morning, or late one evening, with great sadness in her heart she takes her leave of the man she once loved, and the children and grandchildren, she still does.

Often the story does not end there, for the fairy wife is seen again and again over the coming years. Grandchildren and even great grandchildren, now old men themselves, remember having seen her long ago when they were but infants. Seeing her once more these many decades later, they are struck by how time has left her untouched.

The tale is typical among the Celts with variations found in Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as among the Cornish, the Manx and the Breton. Further afield, it is also found in the stories of Chinese fairies or in the Middle East (where fairies are called Peri) and in the traditional tales of Africans and North American Indians.

Belief in the immortality, or at least the very long life, of fairies may have its roots in a simple explanation. In early societies, girls were often married with the onset of puberty. As shocking as it is today this could be as young as 11, with motherhood soon following.

It is not hard to do the sums and see women would be grandmothers at 24, great grandmothers at 36 and great, great grandmothers at 48. While, at the age of 60, they would be matriarch of a dynasty of 5 generations.

The average life expectancy for a male child born in medieval times, or earlier, was 30 years of age. Many died before the end of their teens, but if a young man reached the age of 20, he had a good chance of surviving into his mid-fifties. Less than 10% of the whole population reached 60.

Although women can expect to live longer than men today, in the past they fared less well. Studies of the medieval population of Europe show men often outnumbered women by as much as two to one. A significant contributing factor was death in childbirth. Due to the risks associated with being constantly pregnant from such a young age, reaching 60 would be a huge achievement for a woman.

With such a low life expectancy in the general population, and high mortality during childbirth, a woman over 60 would seem ancient to her contemporaries. If she looked young for her years – and everybody ages differently – or if she were able to cast the illusion of glamour so as to appear young, she would seem almost immortal.

Or perhaps the fairy race is indeed immortal. Immortality need not be forever and ever. With our short span a few more decades of life and youth is be a gift none would refuse.

The idea of immortality has been with humanity all through recorded history. It was first written of in the epic of Gilgamesh, at least 5,000 years ago. The gods and goddesses, and the fairy races of every culture in the world were all considered immortal.

One of the aims of alchemy was to discover the elixir of life. Both Nicholas Flamel and the Comte de Saint Germain were said to have gained immortality in this way. In the 20th century, Theosophists, and even the Nazis, claimed immortals called ascended masters were overseeing our world’s progress and development. So perhaps it is true and fairies do actually live a long, long time.

Genetics is revolutionising our understanding of why we age and die. It was once thought death was an evolutionary oversight. Now we understand ageing, and even death, is programmed into every individual. It is controlled by our genetic inheritance in exactly the same way as our hair or eye colour.

However it is not quite as simple as some other traits, which are controlled by one set of genes. According to new research there are about 1,800 genes that may alter our expected lifespan.

Life-expectancy is influenced by many factors, such as predispositions to cancer, heart disease or high blood pressure. These factors in turn may be determined by genes controlling the width of arteries or perhaps the ability to digest fats, or even eliminate waste. Such predispositions may well be influenced by how we live our lives: exercise, smoking, drinking alcohol and eating.

Laboratory rats kept on a reduced calorie intake live almost twice as long as others not having their food intake restricted. A study is currently underway looking at the effects on non-human primates. With the expected lifespan of the monkey subjects being around 50 years it will not deliver results for another 15.

Some researchers believe many cancers are linked to lifestyle and environment. The discovery of genetic markers indicating a predisposition to certain cancers, make others think lifestyle factors are irrelevant. Cancer, like obesity and heart disease they claim, is simply down to your genetic inheritance. Admittedly the science is in its infancy.

It is currently a highly complex process to analyse an individual’s genetic makeup. Yet doctors believe in the future, it will be possible to diagnose each and every human being at the genetic level during gestation and by introducing modified genes inside virus type organisms, fix any defects before the foetus has left the womb.

At one time it was thought old age happened through biological neglect. Animals breed when they are young and pass on their genes. Once they have bred and successively reared offspring there is no need for the organism to stay alive. To put it bluntly, once the selfish genes are passed to the next generation, and offspring are successfully reared, the parent is of no further biological use.

Recent studies show the truth of aging to be very different. Every cell in the human body is capable of replacing itself between 40 and 60 times, called the Hayflick limit. With each replication of the cell, part of the DNA, called the telomere, breaks off. When there is no telomere left, cell division stops. At this point the cell starts to wear out. When the accumulated damage to the cells of the body becomes too great, we die by default.

This is why cloning has proved a disappointment. When adult genes are introduced into an empty egg, the telomere is short – for it is the same length as all the other cells in the adult donor. Even though the new animal is an infant, it has the same remaining cellular lifespan as the donor; with the same number of cell divisions left before it reaches the hayflick limit and dies.

Experiments to artificially increase the telomere have proved equally disastrous. In some cells the end of the telomere never breaks off. These cells are truly immortal; able to divide eternally. They are called cancer.

Knowing how genes control aging gives a mechanism to understand why each and every person ages at different rates. Most human beings cluster in the middle of any characteristic: think of a traffic snarl up over a humped backed bridge. The majority of us are neither too tall nor too short: too dark nor too fair. But there are always minorities at the extremes.

At one extreme of ageing there is the disease, called progeria that gives young children all the symptoms of extreme old age. But what lies at the other extreme?


Eternal youth?

Recently the oldest person alive on the planet celebrated his 146th birthday. There are villages in Japan, where people in their 80s and 90s look as young and are robust as others decades their junior.

Thirty years ago, most reputable scientists put a maximum limit of 250 years on the human life span. Today scientists speak in terms of 2,000 years, baring accident. Some are already making the claim that within the next few decades, given expected advances in gene therapy, doctors will be able to prevent or at least delay aging, and perhaps even, eventually, cure death.

Now we are aware of the doctors’ current understanding and their expectation of a cure for ageing at the genetic level, all that remains is to ask, has this already happened naturally?

From the origin of life on this planet some 3.7 billion years ago, tiny random changes to the genetic code called mutations took life from undifferentiated single celled organisms to well… us. And we are by no means the pinnacle of creation.

The changes doctors will make to increase our lifespan are nothing more than directed mutations: the human equivalent of GM (genetically modified) crops. Knowing that, it is perfectly possible such random changes have already occurred in the gene pool.

While it is true they may not have all occurred in one individual or even in our own species, bear in mind our direct ancestors have been on this planet for some seven million years, interbreeding with each other. In the past, humans did not travel as freely as today. This produced small isolated populations that interbred over generations. When this happens in nature, it consolidates genes within the population and results in a new species. As the numbers in a species increase, it travels further afield. It is how we left Africa and colonised the world.

When the incomers meet another species living in a new part of the world, the tendency is for the two groups to interbreed, passing on both sets of genetic advantages to the resulting offspring. This is why Western Europeans have 4-6% of their genes from the Neanderthals.

If mutations favouring immortality exist, they will eventually succeed in coming together. When they do, they will confer a genetic advantage on their longer lived progeny. This means more surviving offspring who in turn pass on their advantageous genes to their children. If people had mutations favouring immunity from illness or granting longer life, natural selection meant they flourished over their weaker brethren.

It may surprise you to know that in the short time HIV has been devastating the world there is already a mutation in a small number of the human population that makes them immune to the virus. In the past a disease like HIV might have killed the majority of mankind, but the small immune group would have survived and repopulated the earth, leaving the virus no more deadly than its ancestor the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus is to monkeys.

We are all aware of our species’ exponential population growth. Despite 2 world wars, myriad other wars, plagues and genocides the world population grew from 1.65 billion to 3 billion between 1900 and 1970. Since then it has doubled to 6 billion. What we forget is that although the world population before the 20th century was low, the birth rate was much higher than today. What kept the numbers down was the high mortality rate. What has allowed today’s world population to boom is better medicine.

Therefore, given a higher birth-rate spreading favourable mutations and isolated populations consolidating any genetic advantage, it is not inconceivable that immortals, or at least those living significantly longer than we dare expect, walk among us today.

©HoratioGrin 2017

Previous posts

You can find out more about the author here:

Part one – Lost Beginnings of the Fairy Races

Part Two – Tales of the Old Gods

Part 3: Twilight of the Gods by Horatio Grin

Part 4: The Problem with Erlkings by Horatio Grin

Thank you for dropping and Horatio would love to receive your feedback. Thanks Sally

Turning Back the Clock – Anti-Aging – The Nutritional guide and Shopping List

Turning Back the Clock

Rather than split this I have kept as a longer post but you are more than welcome to cut and paste to print out for your own use.  I would ask however that if you want to share with friends and family that you do add the link to the book


If you are reading this book the chances are that you are over 21 years old, which is actually the perfect time to think about anti-aging! Taking care of your body through your childhood and teens is of course very important as how well you eat and exercise during those years will have an impact on your health as you get into your forties and fifties and certainly after that. Anyway, my point is that I am not aiming this at children but adults who are quite capable of putting together an eating plan for themselves. However, you might find the following useful. I have drawn up a list of the basic nutrients that the body requires to be healthy and to maintain as much of your youthful energy and body as possible. Following that is a basic shopping list and you will find foods that are particularly good for combating aging in bold. However, you need to include as many of the others as possible to ensure that your body is getting a broad spectrum of nutrients. Your body is a chemical soup that requires a precise formula for the efficient operation of your organs and systems. Give it what it needs and it will sustain you and keep you healthy to the best of its ability.



Our individual biochemical makeup will determine our health throughout our lifetime. Everyday life in this modern world puts stress on our bodies and with an inadequate diet, our bodies are unable to maintain health and well- being and we can develop diseases that harm and age us. Our bodies have used food as a fuel and to sustain our health throughout our evolution. There is an abundance of nutrient packed food right on our doorstep and if we follow a largely fresh, unprocessed diet we can obtain the majority of the nutrients we require for good health and long life. In certain circumstances then it may be advisable to take additional nutrients in the form of supplements, but always the first place to start is ensuring that you are taking in the maximum amount of nutrients through food sources.

Below I have listed the main nutrients that we require every day. The list is not exhaustive but is designed to show you just how much nutrition you can obtain from a healthy diet of readily available food.

VITAMIN A: RETINOL; Essential for healthy sight especially at night. It helps cells re-produce normally. It is needed for healthy skin, mucous membranes of the respiratory system, digestive and urinary tracts also bones and tissues. In reproduction it is required for the normal growth and development of the embryo and foetus. It has been shown to influence the function and development of sperm, ovaries and the placenta. As an Anti-oxidant it boosts the Immune System. It is a fat-soluble vitamin mainly found in Liver, Fish Liver oils, Butter, Cheese, Free Range Eggs, Oily Fish.

BETACAROTENE; Best sources are carrots, Green leafy vegetables, Orange and Red coloured Vegetables. Particularly apricots, asparagus, broccoli, butter, cantaloupe melon, carrots, cashews, cheese, nectarines, peaches, peppers and spinach.

VITAMIN B1: THIAMINE; This vitamin is essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates and for the strength of the nervous system. Every cell in the body requires this vitamin to form the fuel that the body runs on ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). It is a water soluble vitamin found in Whole grains, Seeds, Peas, enriched flour, Beans and Nuts.

VITAMIN B2: RIBOFLAVIN; Also essential for metabolising carbohydrates to produce ATP, and also fats, amino acids and proteins too. It is necessary to activate Vitamin B6 and Folic Acid. It works with enzymes in the liver to eliminate toxins. It is water-soluble and is found in Kidney, Liver, Fish, Milk, Wheat germ, Broccoli and all green leafy vegetables.

VITAMIN B3: NIACIN; Also needed for the metabolism of carbohydrates (ATP), fats and proteins. Needed to process Alcohol. Niacin form of B3 helps regulate Cholesterol. In addition it is essential for the formation or red blood cells and the hormones. It works with Tryptophan in protein to form Serotonin and Melatonin in the brain. It is water soluble and found in Liver, Brewer’s Yeast, Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Meat, Peanuts, Wholegrains, Eggs and Milk.

VITAMIN B5: PANTOTHENIC ACID; Essential for producing Glycogen (energy) and fatty acids in the body. Also activates the Adrenal Glands and assists in the management of Cholesterol. Needed in the manufacture of Neurotransmitter chemicals that transfer nerve impulses from one nerve to the next. Also essential for the production of steroid hormones (sex hormones) testosterone and oestrogen. It is water soluble and found in Liver, yeast, Salmon, dairy, eggs, grains, meat and vegetables.

VITAMIN B6: PYRIDOXINE; The Master Vitamin for processing Amino Acids – the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. It assists in the formation of several Neurotransmitters and can therefore help regulate mood. It has been shown to help lower Homocysteine levels in the blood linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. It produces Haemoglobin the Oxygen carrying pigment in the blood. It helps the release of carbohydrates stored in the liver and muscles for energy. It is involved in the production of antibodies and it helps balance female hormones. It is needed for the production of serotonin along with tryptophan and B12. It is water-soluble and found in Potatoes, Bananas, Cereals, Lentils, Liver, Turkey, Chicken, Lamb, Fish, Liver, Avocados, Soybeans, Walnuts and Oats.

VITAMIN B12: CYANOCOLBALAMIN; Essential for the efficient working of every cell in the body especially those with a rapid turnover rate and it prevents their degeneration. It works with B6 and Folic Acid to control Homocysteine levels in the blood. It is involved in the synthesis of DNA and the proper functioning of the Nervous system by maintaining myelin surrounding the nerves. It is involved in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for resetting our biological clock’s rhythm when we change to a new time zone and aiding sleep patterns.   It is used in the treatment of diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Anaemia, Low Blood Pressure, hearing disorders, asthma and allergies, infertility and cancer. It is water soluble and found in all animal source produce including dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and fish. For vegetarians it is found in Miso and Tempeh both fermented Soybean products.

FOLATE: FOLIC ACID; Folic acid is a B vitamin essential for cell replication and growth. It helps form the building blocks of DNA the body’s genetic information which is why it is recommended prior to conception and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to ensure the rapidly growing and replicating cells of the foetus are normal. This helps prevent low birth weight and abnormalities such as Heart defects or lip and palate malformations.

It is essential for transporting co-enzymes needed for amino acid metabolism in the body and is necessary for a functioning nervous system. It is water soluble and found in Beans, dark leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, wheat germ and whole wheat, lamb’s liver and salmon.

BIOTIN: Necessary for assisting enzymes to manufacture Glycogen and fatty acids and also in the production of prostaglandins (communicators involved in hormones and the immune system). It is essential for normal growth and health of skin, hair, nerves and bone marrow where blood cells are produced. It is water soluble and found in Liver, sardines, egg yolks, soy products, whole grains, nuts and beans.

VITAMIN C: ASCORBIC ACID; An antioxidant that protects LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) from oxidative damage, leading to hardening of the arteries. May also protect against heart disease reducing the hardening of arteries and the tendency of platelets to clump together blocking them. Vitamin C is necessary to form collagen, which acts like glue strengthening parts of the body such as muscles and blood vessels. It aids with healing and is a natural anti-histamine.

It is essential for the action of the Immune system and plays a part in the actions of the white blood cells and anti-bodies. It protects other antioxidants A and E from free radical damage and is involved in the production of some adrenal hormones. It is water soluble and found in all fruit and vegetables with best sources being Blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cherries, grapefruits, guavas, kiwi fruit, lemons, parsley, peppers, rosehips, potatoes, tomatoes and watercress.

VITAMIN D: CHOLECALCIFEROL; Essential for maintaining blood levels of calcium by increasing absorption from food and decreasing loss from urine. This maintains a balance preventing calcium from being removed from the stores in the bones. It also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system and blood cell formation. It may protect against prostate cancer. It is needed for adequate levels of insulin and may protect the body from Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes. It is a fat-soluble vitamin and is mainly synthesised by the body during exposure to sunlight although it is also found in Cod liver oil, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and free-range eggs.

VITAMIN E: TOCOPHEROL; As an antioxidant it protects cell membranes and other fat-soluble parts of the body such as LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage and blood vessels. It can be used topically for skin health and is involved in the reproductive system. It may help prevent circulatory problems that lead to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease by preventing clots from forming. It improves the pulmonary function of the lungs and enhances the white blood cells ability to resist infection. It is fat soluble and 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.

VITAMIN K: PHYLLOQUINONE; Necessary for proper bone formation and blood clotting. It is a fat-soluble vitamin mainly found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and dark lettuce, raw cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, and olive oil. It is also produced by the body from bacteria in the intestines.


CHOLINE: One of the few substances that can penetrate the brain membranes, raising levels of acetylcholine a neurotransmitter that may improve focus and memory. Acetylcholine is also necessary for stimulating the contraction of all muscles including the facial muscles. This may help maintain a youthful appearance. Choline also seems to help with controlling cholesterol, keeping arteries clear. It is found in egg yolks, liver, whole grains, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and fish.

INOSITOL: Required for proper formation of cell membranes. It affects nerve transmission and helps in transporting fats within the body. It is also necessary for the normal metabolism of insulin and calcium. It is found in nuts, beans, milk, whole grains, lecithin, wheat and wheat bran, cantaloupe melon, egg yolks, liver, fish and oranges.

BIOFLAVANOIDS: SOMETIMES KNOWN AS VITAMIN P; There are over 500 different types of Bioflavonoids with some of the more common ones being hesperidin, myrecetin, nobilitin, rutin, tangeritin and quercitin. They maintain the health of cell membranes and collagen and they increase the effectiveness of antioxidants, most notably Vitamin C, which is the vitamin that they are found alongside with in food. It is water-soluble and the best sources are apricots, cherries, cantaloupe melon, papaya and the skin and pith of citrus fruit.

CO-ENZYME Q10: UBIQUINONE; It has a widespread distribution throughout the body and is used by the body to metabolise food into the fuel ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that the body needs for energy. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals and also acts as a bodyguard for Vitamin E, which is vital for cell membranes and keeping blood cholesterol at a healthy balance. Some research has indicated it might help increase sperm count in men and it has been shown to help in the healing process, particularly in the mouth and gums. It is essential for the immune system and heart function. Best sources are fish and meat particularly the heart and organ meats, egg yolk, milk fat, wheat germ and wholegrains, but usually needed in supplementation form.


CALCIUM: The most abundant and essential mineral in the body. There are approximately two to three pounds mainly found in the teeth and bones. Apart from its role in the formation of teeth and bones it is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells and muscle contractions. There is some indication that higher calcium intake protects against cardiovascular disease particularly in women. If you are at risk of kidney stones consult your doctor before taking in additional calcium supplements. This also applies if you are suffering from prostate cancer where there may be a link between increased levels of dietary calcium in dairy products and this form of cancer. It is thought it is thought that excess calcium causes lower levels of Vitamin D, which helps protect against prostate cancer. The best dietary sources are dairy (moderate intake) sardines, canned salmon (the bones), and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and soy products such as tofu.

MAGNESIUM: It is essential mineral needed for bone, protein and fatty acid formation, forming new cells, activating the B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood and forming ATP the fuel the body runs on. The secretion and action of insulin also needs magnesium. It is needed to balance calcium in the body and too much can result in very low levels of calcium. The best food sources are whole grains, beans, seeds, wheat germ, dried apricots, dark green vegetables, soybeans and fish.

PHOSPHORUS: Essential for bone formation and production of red blood cells.   Also needed for the production of ATP fuel for energy. Small amounts are involved in most of the chemical reactions throughout the body. It is found in protein rich foods such as meat, fish and also whole grains. It can be taken to excess if the diet contains mainly processed foods.

SODIUM: This is an electrolyte (cation), which is a positively electrically charged atom that performs essential tasks within each cell. It is very easy to have too much sodium in your diet as it is added in too large quantities in cooking and in processed foods. It is naturally occurring in vegetables, more than sufficiently for normal needs. Excess sodium is related to elevated blood pressure levels when combined with chloride as common salt and should be reduced significantly in the diet. Sodium contents should be multiplied by 2.5 to identify the actual amount of salt being consumed and an area to look closely at if you have high blood pressure is the amount of sodium in any mineral water that you are consuming daily in quantity.

CHLORIDE: Another electrolyte (anion), which is a negatively charged atom in the extra-cellular fluid. Consumed as common salt with sodium in excess in most people’s diet. There is sufficient chloride in a balanced diet to supply the necessary amount needed by the body.

POTASSIUM: This is the main cation (positively charged electrolyte). It reacts with sodium and chloride to maintain a perfect working environment in and around each cell. It allows the transmission of nerve impulses and helps maintain the correct fluid balance in the body. It also regulates levels of acidity and alkalinity in the body. It is also required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It is connected to normal heart rhythms. The best food sources are dried apricots, figs, bananas, pumpkinseeds, almonds, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, fish, avocados, beans, milk and most fruit and other vegetables.


BORON: Found in trace amounts in food and the human body and there is some debate as to its usefulness as a nutrient. However, there may be a link to bone health and density but there does seem to be some merit in its ability to reduce the loss of calcium in urine. This might lead to a lower risk of osteoporosis. It is found in dried fruit such as raisins, prunes and nuts. Non citrus fruit, vegetables and legumes.

COPPER: Copper is an essential trace element needed to absorb and utilise Iron. It is needed to make ATP and is also to synthesise some hormones and blood cells. Collagen needs copper, as does the enzyme tyrosinase, which plays a role in the production of skin pigment. Too much copper in the diet can depress levels of zinc and effect wound healing. Best sources are seafood like oysters, cashews and other nuts, cherries, cereals, potatoes, cherries, vegetables and most organ meats.

CHROMIUM: Needed for maintaining normal blood sugar levels and glucose tolerance. It may help increase the healthy cholesterol in the blood (HDL) and is necessary for fatty acid and protein metabolism. The best food source is brewer’s yeast, whole grains, shellfish, liver and molasses.

IRON: The main function of iron is in haemoglobin, which is the oxygen-carrying component of blood. When someone is iron deficient they suffer extreme fatigue because they are being starved of oxygen. Iron is also part of myoglobin which helps muscle cells store oxygen and it is also essential for the formation of ATP. Best food sources are shellfish such as cockles and mussels, liver, meat, poultry and fish.

IODINE: Iodine is a trace mineral that is needed to make thyroid hormones that maintain metabolism in all the cells of the body. Best sources are in seafood, iodised salt and sea vegetables such as kelp. Also in fish such as cod, mackerel and haddock and also live yoghurt.

MANGANESE: Needed for healthy skin, bone and cartilage formation as well as glucose tolerance. Also forms part of the antioxidant superoxide dismutase, which helps prevent free radical damage. Best sources are nuts, seeds, wholegrains, leafy green vegetables, tea and pineapple.

SELENIUM: A very important trace mineral that activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. It is vital for immune system function and may help prevent prostate cancer. The best dietary sources are Brazil nuts, cashews, soybeans, tuna, seafood, meat and whole grains. It is also found in yeast.

ZINC: A trace mineral that is a component in the body’s ability to repair wounds, maintain fertility, synthesis protein, cell reproduction, maintain eyesight, act as an antioxidant and boost immunity. It can be used topically for skin conditions. It is essential for a functioning metabolism and hormone production such as testosterone. It is also needed for the production of stomach acid. Too much zinc will depress the copper levels in the body. The best food sources are seafood particularly oysters, pumpkinseeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks, black-eyed peas and tofu.


Amino acids are the building blocks that make up proteins, which of course is what we are made of. Vitamins and minerals can’t perform their specific functions effectively if the necessary amino acids are not present. Amino acids are either classified as essential or non-essential. The non-essential ones can be manufactured in our bodies but the essential amino acids have to be obtained from food.

All hormones require amino acids for their production. For example L-Arginine encourages growth hormones and constitutes 80% of semen, which is why a deficiency causes sterility and it also helps with prostate problems. L-Tryptophan (my favourite) helps in the production of Serotonin and Melatonin and helps to control emotional behaviour. L-Glutamine is helpful for Thyroid gland function. Taurine is used for hyperactivity and poor brain function. Some of the two types of Amino acid are detailed below.

ARGININE: Arginine is an essential amino acid that aids in liver detoxification and is helpful in liver disorders. It may help to reduce tumours and cancer. It may also assist in elevating the sperm count in males. The body uses Arginine during periods of growth and protein synthesis. It is helpful during trauma or with kidney conditions. It can stimulate growth hormones and detoxifies ammonia from the body. Arginine is required during the manufacturing of substances such as haemoglobin and insulin. This is an amino acid produced by the liver.

CYSTEINE: Cysteine is an amino acid made in the body. It is important because it maintains the proper configuration of both structural proteins and enzymes. It contains sulphur that is formed in the liver and is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from chemicals, heavy metals, and smoke pollution. It has been shown that it may stimulate the immune system, help burn fat, aid in tissue healing, and aid muscle growth. Another Liver amino acid.

GLUTAMINE: Glutamine is found in high concentrations in the human brain where it is converted to glutamic acid. Taken in modest amounts, Glutamine can substantially increase your production of growth hormone. It may help with mental alertness and clarity, decrease sugar cravings. Is being studied in connection with mental disorders such as senility and schizophrenia. It maintains a healthy digestive tract and may help with people suffering from alcoholism. Produced by the liver.

CARNITINE: Carnitine is made in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine and is needed to release energy from fat. It transports fatty acids into mitochondria, the powerhouses of cells.

It may promote normal growth and development and treat some forms of cardiovascular problems. Studies have been carried out with athletes and there are some indications that it protects against muscle problems and helps build muscle. It may also protect against liver disorders and diabetes. It is manufactured in the liver.

LYSINE: Lysine is an essential amino acid that helps maintain nitrogen levels and calcium absorption. It is often taken during a breakout of the herpes virus, either oral or genital. It helps produce enzymes, antibodies and hormones and helps repair tissue. This amino acid also is important when recovering from an operation. It also helps build strong muscles, collagen, bone and cartilage. This amino acid comes from dietary sources are high proteins such as beef, cheese, chicken, lamb, milk, and beans.

PHENYLALINE: Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid and is the precursor of tyrosine. This is an important amino acid. It produces neurotransmitters in the brain to produce norepinephrine and it assists in learning, memory, clarity and elevates the mood. Therefore, it may aid in the treatment of depression.

It should not be taken by anyone suffering from high blood pressure, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, cancer or anyone taking MAO inhibitors. Women who are pregnant or lactating should also avoid using Phenylalanine. Taken from dietary sources and found in most foods but it is highest in those that are high in protein such as dairy products and meats.

TAURINE: Taurine is an essential amino acid that is found in the body, but mainly in the skeletal muscle, heart muscle, brain and central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Taurine also aids in the digestive processes including bile. A liver produced Amino Acid.

TRYPTOPHAN: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is the lowest in terms of levels needed by the body. It is responsible for normal sleep patterns. Vitamin B6 is needed for the formation of tryptophan, which affects serotonin levels. These serotonin levels influence sleep and mood. Best food sources are Turkey, Chicken, fish, bananas, yoghurt, pineapple and cheese.·

TYROSINE: Tyrosine is used by the thyroid gland to produce thyroxin. Thyroxin is a hormone that helps regulate growth, healthy skin, our metabolic rate and our mental health. Low levels of tyrosine have been connected with hypothyroidism. Tyrosine is used in our body to make epinephrine and dopamine. It reduces body fat and is an appetite suppressant.

People with high blood pressure, skin cancer and those who are using MAO inhibitors should not take it in supplement form. Manufactured in the liver.


Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are necessary fats that humans cannot synthesise and must be obtained through diet. There are two families of EFAs Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-9 is necessary but non-essential as it can be made by the body if the other two fatty acids are present.

EFAs are essential because they support our cardiovascular, reproductive, immune and nervous systems. We need these fats to manufacture and repair cells, maintain hormone levels and expel waste from the body. They are part of the process that regulates blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility and conception – and they also help regulate inflammation and stimulate the body to fight infection.

Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid and is used in the formation of cell walls, improving circulation and oxygen. A deficiency can lead to decreased immune system function, elevated levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. It is found in flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, avocados, spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, sardines, tuna and salmon.

Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid) is the primary Omega-6 fatty acid. Omega-6 can improve rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis. Found in flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, evening primrose oil, chicken and poultry, salmon.

There is growing evidence that the non-essential Oleic acid, Omega 9, may help to lower cholesterol by decreasing the unhealthy cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein), while at the same time raising the level of healthy cholesterol, HDL (high density lipoprotein).

Oleic acid is also emerging as a regulator of blood-sugar levels and as a possible protection against breast and prostate cancer. So, including half an avocado in your diet every day may well protect you from the harmful long-term effects of a number of diseases. Found in olive oil, olives, avocados, almonds, and walnuts.

YOUR BASIC SHOPPING LIST FOR FOODS TO EAT REGULARLY THROUGH THE WEEK. Highlighted foods are regarded as excellent source of nutrients for anti-aging.

 The list is not exhaustive but will give you the basics for a healthy diet. It is important that you eat sufficient to fuel your body and never delete one particular food group without considering the impact on your health. I work on the 80/20 rule when considering processed versus cooking from scratch and if you are going to use processed foods do read the labels and consider quality over price and quantity. If you are not accustomed to cooking then do invest in an all-round basic cook book – these wonderful ingredients need to be treated with respect when prepared. Enjoy.


Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes. (Any other fresh seasonal produce you enjoy) At least five or six portions a day – use a cupped handful as an estimated portion size.


Lower Fructose Fruit – Bananas, kiwi, strawberries and any dark berries such as blueberries that are reasonably priced – try frozen. Enjoy all fruit in season at least three portions a day.

Hot lemon and water first thing in the morning will not only give you a Vitamin C hit, start your digestive process off but will also help with sugar cravings.


Wholegrainsbrown rice– wholegrain bread – whole wheat pasta – Weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats. Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals – more sugar than goodness. Carbohydrates are an important food group. However, as we get older and less active you really only need a large spoonful of rice or potatoes on a daily basis. If you suffer from a Candida overgrowth be aware that it may not be the yeast in bread that causes a problem but the sugar or its substitute.


FishSalmon fresh and tinned- cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, Tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals. (Any fish that is available fresh not from farmed sources)

turkey stuffed two

Meat and poultry –chicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork. Lean ham for sandwiches, (processed meats should be used sparingly) Venison if you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious. Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non-vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers. Bacon once a week is fine but do bear in mind that most processed meats contain a lot of salt. (Any unprocessed meat or poultry is good but be aware of the sauces you put on them and your cooking method – grill or roast and drain off excess fats)

pumpkin seeds

Nuts, beans and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts. All beans as an alternative source of protein including chick peas. Sprouted seeds are a wonderful food source and a handful on your salads will add that extra punch of nutrients.


Dairy and Eggs- Milk, butter and cheese (better to have the real stuff than whipped margarine) – yoghurt and kefir. Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four a week.


OilsExtra virgin Olive Oil (least processed) – great drizzled on vegetables with some seasoning and also eaten the Spanish way with balsamic vinegar on salads and also drizzled over toasted fresh bread. If you do not like the taste of Olive Oil then use Sunflower oil – do not use the light version of any oil as it has been processed heavily – use the good stuff. Recent research has identified that it is safe to use olive oil for frying but do not burn the oil.

Honey and extras You really do need to avoid sugars refined and in cakes, sweets and biscuits but honey is a sweetener that the body has been utilising since the first time we found a bee hive and a teaspoon in your porridge is okay. Try and find a local honey to you. Dark chocolate – over 70% a one or two squares per day particularly with a lovely cup of Americano coffee is a delicious way to get your antioxidants.

Sauces – If you buy your sauces in jars and packets they will have a great many more ingredients than you bargained for. One of the worst is sugar or its substitutes. The greatest cooking skill you can develop is to be able to make a wide variety of sauces from scratch. If you do this you will be not only using fresh produce with its nutritional punch but also taking hundreds of pounds of sugar out of your diet over a lifetime.

green tea

Fluids- Green Tea and other herbal teas, tap and mineral water, coffee (not instant but ground coffee) Good quality alcohol in moderation especially good quality red wine. Black tea also has antioxidants so drink a couple of cups a day. Try with sliced lemon and get some Vitamin C. (depending on the climate and altitude at which you live you will need to experiment to find out how much fluid you need. If you have very low humidity you will need considerably more. Average is around the 2 litres per day of combined fluids).

©Sally Cronin – Turning Back the Clock

 I hope that you have enjoyed the book and I will leave all the chapters available for the next few weeks so that you can catch up on previous chapters.

As I mentioned earlier please feel free to share but I would ask that you link to this post or the book.

Many thanks Sally




Turning Back the Clock serialisation – Chapter Nine – Hanging onto your marbles!

Turning Back the Clock


This is chapter nine of the challenge to knock ten years off your actual age and so far I have covered many of the contributory causes that accelerate rather than inhibit the aging process. Previous chapters of Turning Back the Clock

Many people’s greatest fear is not that they will get arthritis or wrinkles or put weight on. Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is a terrifying prospect for many of us who feel that being powerless mentally is far worse than any physical disability. This is probably the hardest aspect to aging that we might have to face but despite that, the emphasis is usually on the more obvious physical effects such as heart disease and conditions such as arthritis.

There are a great many theories about the causes of degenerative brain disease but certainly your lifestyle does have a direct impact on your risk factors.

In this chapter I am going to look at pathways into and inside the brain as they play a key part in our brain health and therefore our aging process.

What are the pathways into the Brain?

Vitally important to our brain health are the pathways that take oxygen and nutrient rich blood to this crucial organ. In this case the arteries that are vital to our brain health are the Carotid arteries, which are on either side of the neck.

These arteries supply the large, front part of the brain, which is responsible for our personality and our ability to think, speak and move. The back part of the brain is supplied by the vertebral arteries that run through the spine. I am going to concentrate on the Carotid as this is the one that, if diseased, can lead to degenerative problems.

What sort of problems can the Carotid Arteries develop?

Like all arteries that supply blood to the various parts of the body such as the heart and brain, the carotid arteries can also develop a build-up of fat and cholesterol deposits, called plaque, on the inside. Over time this layer of plaque increases, hardening and blocking the arteries. This means that the oxygen and nutrients that your brain needs to function are very restricted.

Unfortunately the knock-on effect of a narrowed artery is that plaque can break off and travel to the smaller arteries in the brain, blocking those pathways. Additionally, a blood clot can form and because the arteries have become so narrow it cannot pass and causes a blockage. This is what leads to a stroke.

What are the risk factors for Carotid Artery disease?

People who are at a higher risk of arterial disease are heavy smokers, men and women over 75 years old, High Blood pressure sufferers, Diabetics and if you have higher than normal levels of oxidised LDL cholesterol in your blood.

The good news is that the healthy eating programme that is in the final part of the book is designed to reduce all these risk factors.

How can you tell if your Carotid Artery is blocked?

There may not be symptoms of the disease and it is usually picked up by a doctor who will listen to your carotid with a stethoscope. If there is a problem the doctor will detect an abnormal rushing sound called a bruit which may indicate that your arteries are narrowing and have plaque floating in the blood.

There are diagnostic tests available such as a Carotid ultrasound or Angiogram. However, there are some symptoms that might occur, and if you experience any of these then go to your doctor immediately.

They are usually an indication of a mini-stroke, which is called a TIA (transient ischemic attack)

  • Blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • Weakness or numbness in your arm, leg or face on one side of your body.
  • Slurring of speech or difficulty in understanding what people are saying
  • Loss of co-ordination, dizziness or confusion.
  • Trouble swallowing.

This may last a few minutes or hours but it is a medical emergency and you should treat it as such. With medical help you increase your chances of a complete recovery.

Is it too late to make changes to your lifestyle and reverse the problem?

Depending on how severe the problem is you may need medication as well as a change of lifestyle to reverse the damage. In some cases as operation may be necessary to clear the arteries but the earlier you make changes the better.

  • Give up smoking immediately.
  • Incorporate a natural, primarily unprocessed eating programme. But be careful not to demonise cholesterol as it is a very important component of many healthy and necessary interactions within the body including the production of hormones.
  • Have regular check-ups with your doctor – I recommend a full medical once a year.
  • You can get most of the indicators checked in your local pharmacy – cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. If you are concerned then go to your doctor.
  • Try and stay at a reasonable weight and take exercise regularly.
  • Limit your drinking to within acceptable ranges. One to two glasses per day depending on you as a male or female and your health. Do not binge on a bottle one night a week your liver cannot cope with that.

What about the pathways within the brain?

Firstly, many eminent scientists for thousands of years have been trying to unravel the mysteries of the brain. I am not about to attempt it in one chapter. However, there are some basics that we can cover and also some ideas for you to develop on your own which in itself will be a way to put this programme into practice.

There are many pathways in the brain that we use on a regular basis to function. To see, to speak, to hear, to feel emotion, to learn something like language. They are like a giant road network linking all parts of the brain with individual functions and activities. Like any road network blockages can occur from time to time or we find ourselves using the same roads over and over again and the other parts of the network get overgrown with disuse. There are a number of individual pathways that we use every day that usually stay active through our lives such as sight, language and other senses we use constantly to survive.

For example, in a very basic sense – in order for us to see, a physiological signal starts in the retina and travels to the visual cortex in the brain. The optic nerve, which is really more like brain tissue than nerve tissue, carries the signals to the visual cortex at the back of the brain. The visual cortex then interprets the electrical signals from the optic nerves as visual images and we see what is in front of our eyes.

When we are babies and very young children our brain is developing at an incredible rate. Pathways are formed rapidly as the immature brain takes in everything that comes its way. This process slows down in adolescence but we never lose this capability.

Unfortunately, what does happen is that we sometimes prevent ourselves from learning and developing our brain. How many times have you heard someone say that they are too old to learn a language, play a musical instrument, and learn to drive? In fact we are never too old to do any of those things. How we learn is very interesting and again we can limit our knowledge intake by the method we choose to absorb it.

I read a very interesting and appropriate analogy of how we learn by Dr. William Glasser.

He says that we learn from:

  • 10% of what we read
  • 20% of what we hear
  • 30% of what we see
  • 50% of what we see and hear
  • 70% of what we discuss with others
  • 80% of what we experience personally
  • 95% of what we teach other people to do.

This means of course that you should be going out and discussing this book with others to ensure that you are getting at least some of what we have covered. Perhaps reading aloud might get you a higher percentage. It does make sense to make this an audio book which would also improve the odds of absorbing the information!

Don’t our brain cells die as we get older?

As in every part of our body, cells have a natural lifetime and it is generally believed that brain cells are not replaced when they die off. However, that still leaves billions behind who are more than capable of learning and processing physical and mental information.

Some interesting research has shown that although many parts of the brain have just one set of neurons to last a lifetime, the hippocampus, which controls learning and the processing of new memories DOES make new neurons at a steady, vigorous pace!

If you have led a life of substance abuse such as excessive alcohol intake, smoking or drugs then yes you may have lost more brain cells than someone who has not. But if you change your lifestyle you will find that other pathways will open up and you can still learn new skills and abilities.

Also by following a healthy and nutritious diet you will be improving the hydration of your brain and the amount of nutrients that are able to get through. Don’t forget the power behind the throne, the Hypothalamus and how it is important for our senses, our mobility, mental health and everyday functioning to keep that flow of nutrients getting through.

How do we get back into the learning processes again?

Your brain, like the rest of our body needs exercise to stay trim and stimulated. Here are some of my tips for getting the brain as fit as the rest of you.

Do a crossword every morning – a cryptic one will really get your brain working – I have a dictionary and a crossword dictionary and I also look things up on the Internet. This is not cheating, it is learning.

Play computer solitaire and try and beat your score each time (my personal favourite and I have a score of 17,332 in 42 seconds but it took me 16 years to reach that) great for hand/eye co-ordination but watch out for repetitive strain injury!

Learn to dance – the activities involved will stimulate your brain and your body. You have to listen to music, remember the steps and co-ordinate them. This gets more than one part of your brain working in partnership. Because you need to practice you will retain at least 80% of the information and if you then teach someone else you will retain 95% of it. It is also great exercise which helps maintain a healthy weight and it will get the oxygenated blood flowing to your brain.

Learn any activity that requires you to move and learn, as this will exercise body and brain – yoga is an excellent example.

Read newspapers, watch TV. Especially the Geography, Discovery channels etc. Go to movies, download when available or rent DVD’s and then find someone to watch and discuss them with.

Write down your story from as early as you can remember. Talk about your experiences with others as you remember them and when you have written them down, read them through and correct spelling and grammar. You may have just written a bestseller and left a legacy for your family.

Stop using a calculator and go back to mental arithmetic. For example always check your supermarket receipts, they can often be wrong!

Make lists of things that you need to do or want to do. It is not a sign of a declining mind if you forget things it is more that you are trying to do too many things at once.

Learn to relax and do not obsess about individual issues. It is very easy to be so involved with a worry that you then find that you become forgetful and confused.

Start a study group of like-minded people who either want to learn a language or painting etc. If you have a book and a cassette in Spanish or French you will learn approximately 30% with ease. If you are in a study group or a class and discuss the subject you will retain a lot more.

Learn to play chess or bridge. Both require agility of mind.


Like the body, the expression ‘Use it or lose it’ applies to the brain as well. You need to start using the side roads as well as the main roads. Get off the beaten track from time to time and explore areas that you have not been for a while. You can teach an old dog new tricks; the incentives however need to be a little more exciting that when he was a puppy.

Alzheimer’s and true dementia are actually rarer than you think. A poor diet, boredom and a lack of stimulation is actually the main cause of an aging brain.

It is never too late to learn. As most of you will discover your bodies will undergo some major and beneficial changes in the next few weeks if you follow a healthy eating programme and begin to incorporate regular exercise. Your brain can regain its youth to a surprising degree, with the proper nourishment and exercise


©SallyCronin – Turning Back the Clock 2013


Always grateful for your feedback and please feel free to share the post or reblog.


Thanks for dropping by.. Sally


Turning Back the Clock Serialisation – Chapter Eight – Taking Care of the Externals

Turning Back the Clock


We have concentrated, up to now, on the internal aspects of aging. But we also need to take a look at our external presentation. Not just healthy eating for skin, hair and nails but also the way that we show them off.

We would all love to possess radiant and glowing skin, thick and stunningly coloured hair, beautifully manicured nails and eyes with a twinkle in them.

There is no doubt that eating plenty of fresh vegetables and lean protein, combined with drinking sufficient fluids will assist your body to make positive changes in all those areas. Lack of fluids causes blotchy and dull skin and spots so drinking the 2 litres of fluid a day will give your skin improved tone and texture. Dehydrated skin is very flaccid and flat and a simple test to determine how hydrated you are, is to pinch some skin on the back of your hand and let it go. The longer it takes to return to its former shape, the more dehydrated you are. It should spring back immediately.

Apart from fluids, what else do we need to ensure this glowing skin and shiny hair?

We need a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, with the right amount of the essential nutrients to ensure that all the body systems, such as waste management, are working efficiently. If you are not eliminating waste then it will accumulate and cause tissues such as skin and even the hair to become lifeless and dull.

I have covered the importance of proteins earlier and how we are essentially made up of water and protein. Both the skin and hair need sufficient protein in the diet and this does not mean eating 5lbs of prime-rib every day. Protein is present in lots of plant foods as well and these would include all types of beans, sprouting seeds and beans, cheese, milk, whole grains. Live yoghurt is great as it also contains the friendly bacteria to keep your intestines healthy. If they are working efficiently then of course you will be eliminating toxins efficiently.

Some of the foods that you should remove or reduce in your diet can cause acne such as too much sugar. Alcohol in particular can cause bloating and refined, white carbohydrates get stored as fat and increase the lumpy and uneven texture to our skin.

We need a certain amount of fat, not only for the B vitamins that it supplies but also because it assists in circulation and improves the suppleness and softness of skin. Vitamin B – complex is very important for skin tone and the B vitamins are also great for the immune system – keeping us clear of infections.

Other vitamins that we should be taking in for our skin health are Vitamin A, which strengthens and repairs the tissues and prevents spots. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, which keeps your skin clear of toxins.

Vitamin C is vital for wound healing and repair and maintenance of the blood vessels close to the surface of the skin and can be used in creams on the surface to help stabilise the collagen and help prevent fine lines appearing.

Vitamin E is definitely a great anti-oxidant and has an anti-inflammatory effect when applied directly to the skin. It helps keep the skin soft and smooth and has a mild sunscreen effect.

Zinc works like the vitamin C and E and is great for wound healing and in a cream is great for mild rashes etc.

So, if you include foods providing these in your healthy eating programme, you should be getting all of the nutrients necessary to keep your skin youthful.

What about expensive skin creams?

Like most women on the fast track to wrinkles, I have tried most of the face creams that are advertised. I know deep down that I pursuing a photo-shopped pipe dream but you never know!!! However, in my explorations, I have found that there are some great products in the lower end of the price scale. I now use a combination of creams including Nivea soft cream, E45 as a body lotion and Aloe Vera cream after being in the sun. I rarely spend more than £5 a large pot that lasts at least a couple of months.

ponds cold cream

My mother washed her face at night with soap and water, with a cold water rinse followed by some Ponds Cold cream cleanser and moisturiser from the age of 15 until she died and had great skin at 95. In fact I wrote to Ponds just before her 90th birthday and they sent her six jars free which she thought was a little optomistic.

Mollie after birthday 2003

Men as well as women need to moisturise and care for their skin from the inside and the outside. There is nothing effeminate about a man putting cream on his face, neck and hands. Men need to glow as well as women and there is nothing more attractive than a clean-shaven, slightly bronzed older man with radiant skin. Fragrance free ranges are available and very inexpensive.

Is smoking a leading cause of skin aging?


When you smoke cigarettes, you inhale hundreds of dangerous chemicals into your body, which have a harmful effect every organ including the skin. These toxins help to breakdown the structure of the skin, destroying the collagen fibres, which keep the skin taut and smooth. The result is premature aging of the skin, with thinning and the early development of lines and wrinkles. Women also seem more prone to wrinkles developing around the mouth as fine lines radiating outwards. There is also a genetic reason that smoking and obesity can cause premature aging and a Professor Spector printed some recent research in the Lancet

Every time a cell divides, and as people age, their telomeres get shorter. The loss is associated with aging which is why telomeres are thought to hold the secrets of youth and the aging process.

The investigators measured concentrations of a body fat regulator, leptin, and telomere length in blood samples from 1,122 women between 18 and 76. Telomere length decreased steadily with age, and telomeres of obese women and smokers were much shorter than those of lean women and those who had never smoked.

There was a difference between being obese and lean, which corresponded to 8.8 years of aging. Being a current or ex-smoker equated to about 4.6 years and smoking a pack a day for 40 years corresponded to 7.4 years of aging.

Apparently if you stop smoking before 40 this process can be stopped and the effects minimised.

What are the areas of our skin that give away our age most of all?

Most of us as we get older tend to cover up certain bits of our body unless we are very brave and don’t give a fig leaf. If you take care of your face you must make sure that you also moisturise and take care of your neck and your hands. Both these areas are forgotten very often and the face will look great but the crinkly neck and dry and chapped hands will give you real age away.

What about hair and the effects of aging?

We need a nutrient rich diet and plenty of fluids for a healthy head of hair. My favourite foods, salmon and walnuts with their Omega fatty acids are perfect in the diet to prevent the hair looking dry and lifeless.

Some of the other nutrients are also necessary

Such as:

  • Copper (mushrooms, sunflower seeds, crab, lobster and oysters).
  • Zinc (barley, oysters, crab, chicken, whole wheat, lamb, beef and turkey).
  • Selenium (brown rice, chicken, shrimp, sunflower seeds, tuna, Brazil nuts, walnuts and eggs) can help promote hair growth and slow down the loss of hair over time.
  • There is another substance found in food called PABA (Para aminobenzoic acid) which may protect the hair follicles and prevent hair loss in men and women. The best food sources for this are barley, oysters (the real reason men eat them) crab, chicken, whole wheat, lamb, beef, turkey, brown rice, mushrooms, eggs and milk.

How about the way that we present our hair and the age it reflects?

This is purely a personal opinion but I find that older men with balding, grey hair look fantastic with a neat haircut and a shiny, slightly tanned, bald head. Long grey hair with baldness or combing long strands of hair over a bald spot are not really sexy. I have seen years taken off men who have gone to the groomed look.

For women it is easy to stick with a style that you have worn for years. You certainly do not need to dye your hair. In fact if not done properly it can look aging. Go and get some advice about your style. A stunning cut can frame your face in the right way and knock years off you. Also, if you are a mottled grey then think about going the whole way and have a silver rinse or go completely white – with the right cut this can look stunning. I am sorry to say that most perms and stiff hairdos can be aging and today it is about light, soft and flattering hairstyles. Word of warning – look at your hairdressers cut and colour – if it is bright green and looks like a poodle cut – go somewhere else.

Do be careful about what you put on your hair. It is a billion pound business and not all products are produced to the same height standard. Choose the simplest shampoo and conditioner possible. Do a final rinse with cold water and that will bring a shine to any colour hair. NB. One of the most used words on a label for hair products is ‘Repeat’ do remember the label is written by the marketing department!

How about our nail health and how should we present them?

This is not just for the girls as we all need to make sure that our nails are healthy as they can reflect our inner state of wellbeing too. Healthy nails should be strong, smooth and translucent in colour. Nail health can be compromised not only by poor diet but also exposure to toxins, too many prescription drugs, or by fungal infections. A trained practitioner can tell if a person has health problems such as heart disease or lung problems from the state of the nails.

Taking in the right nutrients for your nails will also benefit your hair. Calcium is important but do remember that if you are taking any supplements of calcium that they should be accompanied by Vitamin D or Magnesium so that it is absorbed.

If you are deficient in iron this can cause brittle nails, as can a lack of zinc. The essential fatty acids that I have covered in previous chapters are also necessary. Foods that can help give you healthy and strong nails are in the healthy eating programme in the last chapters of the book.

So as long as you are eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruit, moderate intake of dairy foods, sardines, canned salmon (with the bones) spinach and soy products you will be getting calcium.

  • Magnesium is in whole grains, beans, dried apricots, spinach and fish.
  • Iron is in shellfish, liver, salmon and turkey.

What about how our hands – does this affect the age we look?

Again this is only a personal preference. Men can often neglect their hands and they need to be moisturised and also have neatly trimmed and rounded nails. I am sorry but men with long nails turn me right off. Also fellows, do remember that you may be touching parts of our bodies that Heineken never reaches so having soft and manicured hands is much more sensual.

A tip for men – women look at a man’s eyes and his hands when they first meet them – short of shoving them in your trouser pockets – get the moisturiser out and the nail file.

For women – long curly nails are a turn off. The fashion for very long false nails may be fine for party night but if you have ever stood in a queue at a check out whilst the cashier pecks at the buttons on her machine you understand that they are not very practical.

I think that smooth soft hands with neat rounded and moderately long nails are lovely on a woman. I like nail varnish and it should always match fingers and toes. (That goes for men too).

Healthy feet are also very important and as much care should be taken with them as with your hands. Unfortunately as we get older our feet can begin to look a little gnarled and ragged around the edges and with all the walking that everyone is now doing, taking that bit of extra care is essential. Treat yourself to a pedicure every few weeks and it will be wonderful.

Make sure that shoes fit correctly and a good soak in some hot salty water with a dash of fairy liquid works wonders for relaxing the whole body.

©sallycronin Turning Back the Clock 2013

You can find the previous chapters of Turning Back the Clock in the directory

You can find links to all my books with more information on their individuals sites.

Would love your feedback and please feel free to share the post. Thanks Sally



Turning Back The Clock – Chapter Seven – Flexibility and Exercise are the key to a youthful body

Turning Back the Clock

In this chapter I am going to be looking at exercise in general as an anti-aging tool and then exercises to increase flexibility. I think that it is important to review exactly why it is so important for the body to move and exercise regularly. A great start to becoming fitter is to learn how to breathe correctly and I covered that in Chapter Five- Are you getting enough oxygen?

Our bodies were never designed to be static and the saying “Use it or Lose It” is very appropriate. If you were to leave your car parked up without moving it for months on end you would expect that certain parts would certainly rust and parts like the tyres would probably perish and be unusable. If you left your battery connected it is likely to be flat as a pancake. In short, the car would be kaput.

The same thing applies to us. Muscles wither and shrink – we accumulate fat – bones become soft and brittle and our internal systems are sluggish and unresponsive. We can suffer from depression and we certainly slide further and further down the slippery slope of ill health the longer it goes on.

Is it ever too late to take up exercise?

No, it certainly is not. Although I would recommend that if you have been sedentary for a long time that you talk to your doctor before embarking on a marathon training course, if you start out slowly and carefully, within weeks you will be feeling and looking a great deal better.

What sort of health benefits can someone expect from doing simple exercises such as walking?

As I mentioned in the previous chapter on breathing, you do not have to race around doing aerobics and playing squash to obtain the aerobic (oxygen) benefits you need.

If you are doing the breathing exercises and combine these with a walking programme that increases in intensity over a period of weeks you will be getting all the benefits you need. In fact recent research is showing that if you are not fit, it can be dangerous for some people to contemplate marathon running if their heart muscle is not as healthy as it needs to be for that sort of sustained activity.

Even moderate exercise, for example, can reduce the risk of Coronary Heart Disease, Strokes, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Bowel Cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Osteoporosis, Arthritis and Stress. All these conditions are ones that head the list of the leading causes of aging, so walking is definitely up there as an exercise of choice. If you are trying to lose weight and especially if you are very overweight, walking is the safest and most sensible way to exercise to begin with.

One of the most interesting studies that I read showed a very clear connection between exercise and recovery rates from breast cancer. Results showed that women who exercised between three and five hours a week doubled their chances of a full recovery and survival. Women who were sedentary were twice as likely to die from the disease. I find that very compelling and more than enough reason to exercise daily – this must also apply to recovery rates from other cancers too, logically.

Apart from increasing bone and muscular strength it will also increase your joints range and flexibility. Perversely, doing more exercise can ease the pain of rheumatic joints and if you know elderly. regular walkers you will see what a great posture they have.

What sort of exercise programme should someone be following?

Everyone should be out there every day in the fresh air for at least 20 minutes. Brisk walking is the best and being slightly breathless is the point at which you will be fat burning and helping your body to lose fat and form muscle.

If you are currently walking for 20 minutes per day then you need to measure the distance you are walking. Over the next 6 weeks raise the time you walk to 40 minutes per day and you can split that if you like. Walking uphill during part of your walk will increase the intensity but the right walking speed for you depends on your age and sex. Over a period of time, aim to walk at an average speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour.

Do not overdo it – this is not a challenge but a gradual way to increase your level of fitness, health and youthfulness over a period of weeks and not days.

How important is our flexibility as we get older?


We can maintain our flexibility and actually improve it as we get older. The main reason we get stiff as we age is because we stop moving our bodies into different positions. The body is designed to move, not stay sitting, or slouching, the majority of the time! The more flexibility and space we have in our bodies, the deeper the breaths can be which as you read in the previous chapter has so many vital health benefits.

3 simple exercises to increase flexibility


Stand with hands by your side and as you inhale your breath, raise your arms slowly until they are above your head in a straight line with the rest of your body. At the same time as you raise your arms, also lift your heels to stretch the whole body upwards, whilst on tip toe. When you exhale lower the arms slowly and the heels back to the floor it is also a balance exercise so it helps develops concentration and focus. Keep your eyes fixed on a point during the exercise. Repeat 7/8 times.

No 2.

It is important not to do this exercise if you have a chronic back problem. Also only do a gentle arch to start with and increase the height over a period of weeks.

Go onto all fours. Hands placed on the floor under the shoulders and your knees under the hips. Imagine what a cat looks like when it gets up to stretch after napping. It arches its back up into the air.

Now with the back flat, exhale and arch the spine up, dropping your head into a relaxed position. Your abdomen is drawn up to support the spine in the arched position. Pause to feel the stretch. Inhale slowly flattening the back again. Pause. Exhale; slowly arch the spine up again etc. Always work slowly. Repeat at least 8 times.

No 3.

This posture is universally recognised as one of the best to help lower back pain but again make sure that you do not attempt if you are very sore. Take it gently over a period of time.

Lie down on your back. Inhale taking your arms back above your head, exhale bringing the right knee to your chest with your hands around it, to draw it in closer. Inhale as you lower your arms back down to your side and your leg back on the ground. Exhale bringing the left knee up with hands on it…and continue 8 times to each knee. Then 8 more times with both knees coming to chest together.

Then relax and lie flat for several minutes to appreciate what you have done and enjoy the benefits of the movements and deep breathing.

Other forms of exercise. When you reach a level of fitness that you are comfortable with then take to another level. For some people Yoga, Tai chi are wonderful for keeping the body supple and for others tennis, squash, jogging. For me swimming is top of the list and it does not take long for me to get fit if I swim for 45 minutes three times a week. It is exercises virtually every muscle in the body including the facial muscles when you jump in and find the water is only 15 degrees! Dancing is also fantastic exercise provided you do not have knee problems but after several weeks of walking or swimming you may find that has improved enough to take to the floor.

To encourage you one of my favourite dance videos of a couple who are fabulous and boy does he have some moves!!


©sallycronin Turning Back the Clock 2015

You can find the other six chapters in the following directory. Turning Back the Clock serialisation

Thanks for dropping by and would love to hear what you favourite form of exercise is.


Turning Back the Clock Serialisation – Anti-Aging – Chapter Five – Are you getting enough oxygen?

Turning Back the Clock


Isn’t breathing something that we all do naturally without thinking about it?

One of the reasons that I have left the art of breathing to this fairly late stage is that I assumed that most people were actually doing it – at least sufficiently enough to sit reading this book. The sad fact is though that most of us only use a small proportion of our lung capacity. Which is also a bit of a waste when you think that a few minutes spent each day completing a deep breathing exercise and learning to use the lungs to full capacity is as free as the air you breath.

It is well worth remembering that only the fittest athletes can survive for more than 6 minutes without air – we all need water within 6 days and we can live without food for 6 weeks. I know what should be on our priority list.

As we get older we find we become more and more breathless as we undertake activity but this need not be inevitable and in this chapter I am going to provide you with the tools you need to improve this absolutely vital function. These very simple exercises are a definite weapon against aging and health problems.

What sort of benefits will people begin to see in the short term?

Breathing correctly and taking in the right amount of oxygen for the body can help you relax and reduce stress. It will improve your skin tone, which is part of any anti-aging programme. You will sleep better and in some cases lose weight.

More importantly many functions of the body, including the essential elimination of waste and toxins is dependent on our breathing. 70% of our elimination is through breathing, yet most people only use 20% of their lung capacity. This causes a build-up of toxins which lead to disease and chronic illnesses associated with old age. Most bacteria and viruses do not thrive in an oxygen rich environment so certainly health should benefit almost immediately.

How can it help to lose weight?

As far as losing weight is concerned, achieving an aerobic state means getting enough oxygen into the bloodstream to convert fuel to burn fat. This does not necessarily mean racing around breathing as hard as you can manage. What it does mean is achieving optimum breathing in gentle but effective exercises.

Breathing correctly can also release endorphins into the brain. Anything from panic attacks to migraine headaches can be improved by increasing oxygen into the system.

It may take some practice but after a few days you will be amazed at the sort of power you can achieve working with your body’s own capabilities.

What are some of the benefits to the whole body by breathing correctly?


  • Gives you more energy.
  • Reduces mental and physical fatigue.
  • Reduces chest pains caused by tight muscles, the tension causing anxiety of “heart attack potential” is reduced.
  • Aids in relief of many long-term respiratory difficulties such as asthma and bronchitis.
  • Reduces need for artificial stimulants and many harmful prescription drugs.
  • Helps eliminate waste from the body


  • Improves blood circulation and relieves congestion.
  • Increases supply of oxygen and nutrients to cells throughout the body. Major organs such as brain and eyes need plenty of oxygen.
  • Eases the strain on the heart by increasing oxygen to the heart.
  • Helps increase the supply of blood and nutrients to muscle blood and bones.


  • Better breathing can calm or stimulate the nervous system, balance or unbalance brain hemispheres, depending on the technique.


  • Diaphragmatic action acts as a pump to massage the internal organs, aiding their function.


  • Helps push the movement of lymph throughout the body, which helps eliminate toxic wastes and strengthen the immune system.


  • Shallow breathing puts stress on other organs of elimination.
  • Better breathing can reduce oedema, (swelling of the body) by eliminating fluids thorough the breath.


  • CO2 waste is eliminated more directly through breath.
  • Wrinkles can be lessened due to improved circulation and blood oxygen flow.
  • Radiant skin is a sign of good oxygenation


  • Relaxes muscle spasm and relieves tension.
  • Releases and reduces muscular tension that eventually may cause structural problems.
  • Helps increase flexibility and strength of joints; when you breathe easier you move easier.
  • Facilitates stretching of connective tissue, which prevents formation of adhesions and reduces the danger of fibrosis.
  • Can partially compensate for lack of exercise and inactivity due to habit, illness or injury.



Our breath is much more than just an intake of oxygen. It is our connection to life itself as without air we would die. There are 4 parts to every breath,

The inhale, a moment’s pause, the exhale and another natural moment’s pause before the next inhale. Exhale usually longer than the inhale.

Morning exercise

Stand with arms loose by your side, the whole body relaxed and still. The posture straight but not held taut. The shoulders rolling back and down to open the chest and release neck/shoulder tension.

As you inhale slowly lift the arms out and up above your head with palms parallel. As you exhale, release the arms back down gently to your sides.

So not only do you receive a gentle stretch to wake you up, but also there is more space in the body to take a deeper inhalation. It is very simple but very effective. The most important thing is to unite the length of the inhale with the rise of the arms so that when the arms reach the furthest point above the head you have completed the inhale; there is a tiny pause, then the exhale down, slowly lowering the arms. When they reach your side the exhale is finished.

Generally the exhale is longer than the inhale as you are ridding the body of impurities with it. Then a little pause. The movements follow the breath, like surfing a wave. Don’t rush the moves or you will get tense, better to do them slowly and relaxed with total concentration, better still outside (on a beach) or in front of an open window to receive all that free energy!

Practice for several minutes or at least 12 times. Better to do 12 focused breaths then 25 rushed ones. Quality versus quantity.

If you suffer with high blood pressure and or restrictive shoulder/ arm movements, better to take the arms up only as far as the shoulder height.

Evening exercise –

Lie down on your back on the floor. If you suffer with lower back pain, better to have your knees resting up over on sofa or chair. If your head doesn’t relax onto the ground easily, use a cushion.

Start with hands on lower belly, fingers pointing down to groin. Notice how you are breathing. The breath reflects our mental, physical and emotional state.

After several minutes consciously encourage the beginning of the breath into the belly to feel the hands rise with the inhale and relax down with the exhale. So you are using the abdomen to breath. This in good health should happen spontaneously, but all too often with stress many people breath only using the upper chest.

Do this for several minutes, then place the arms out in a cross, shoulder height with palms up. Now there is more room to take the breath up into the middle lungs, feel the movement of the ribcage outwards and upwards. But you still begin each breath down deep in the belly. Do this for several minutes, relaxing the body on the exhale.

Last of all, slide the arms higher up above your head relaxing on the floor, if you cannot do this due to tension or injury, leave them where they were in a cross. The purpose of this move is to now bring more space and awareness to the upper chest towards the base of the throat. There is little movement here compared to the ribs, but you can feel the rising of the chest and clavicular bones to the throat and chin at the peak of the inhale, just before you exhale.

So you now have 3 places to breathe into, the abdomen, the ribs and the upper chest to make one long, deep, satisfying breath. Feel each of the 3 places as the breath flows up the trunk as one long wave. As you exhale the wave retreats back down to the lower abdomen. Remember to feel the slight pause between inhales and exhales, but don’t hold your breath.

Try and practise this for at least 5 minutes, but 10 is better. It also helps improve your posture with the back flat and the arms out.

The previous chapters are in the directory.Turning Back the Clock

©sallycronin- Turning Back the Clock 2013

Thank you for dropping by and please feel free to share the chapter or print off to use as a guide when you are completing the exercises.

Keep breathing… Sally