Smorgasbord Health Column – Weekly Grocery Shopping List by Nutrient – Part Four – Phosphorus to Zinc

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

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

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

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

Minerals the body needs and the foods you should add to your shopping list.

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.

Clinical studies have shown that calcium supplementation without enough phosphorus may actually lead to bone mass reduction. Although most calcium supplements are combined with Vitamin D to assist absorption, trials have shown that with the addition of phosphorus bone fractures in high-risk patients was reduced by 43% within 18 months. Not usually deficient but not usually in supplements to needs to be included the diet regularly.

Best food sources turkey and other poultry and meats, dairy products, beans Vegetarians need to include plenty of whole grains and nuts in their diet to ensure that they obtain sufficient phosphorus.

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 necessary for normal kidney function and it also plays a part in heart and bone health with a particular role in smooth muscle contraction. The heart muscle must maintain a smooth and regular heartbeat and correct levels of potassium in the body will help regulate this.

Deficiency is linked to high blood pressure and combined in a healthy diet with calcium and magnesium rich foods can go a long way to preventing this condition from developing.

A balance of potassium, calcium and magnesium is essential to maintain bone mass and a deficiency is linked to osteoporosis.

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.

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. Selenium has a number of crucial functions within the body including playing a part in healthy growth and reproduction. It is also needed to keep some of your major organs healthy including the liver and the heart.

The best dietary sources are Brazil nuts, cashews, mushrooms soybeans, tuna, seafood, meat and whole grains. It is also found in yeast.

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 industrially manufactured 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. If you are eating a diet rich in vegetables you will have sufficient for your body’s needs.

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.

 ©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

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

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

Next week Amino Acids, produced by the liver with some obtained from food… 

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have found useful.. Sally


Smorgasbord Health Column – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Phosphorus

In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

This is the final post in the series as we have covered most of the essential nutrients over the last 18 months and from next week Carol Taylor  will be starting her new column and sharing her A – Z of food for the rest of the year.

In this post on phosphorous I give you the information on why this nutrient is so essential for our health and then Carol will provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Phosphorous is a mineral that you will not find in your multi-vitamin and mineral supplement because it is considered that we obtain sufficient through our diet.

Phosphorus and bone health

However there are some interesting facts about phosphorus that makes it worth taking a closer look at. Many women as they approach the menopause will begin to supplement with additional calcium to prevent bone loss and take up weight bearing exercise such as walking and yoga. However, very few women realise that phosphorus is also very important for bone health and without it calcium is less effective.

Clinical studies have shown that calcium supplementation without enough phosphorus may actually lead to bone mass reduction. Although most calcium supplements are combined with Vitamin D to assist absorption, trials have shown that with the addition of phosphorus bone fractures in high-risk patients was reduced by 43% within 18 months.

What is phosphorus?

Phosphorus is an essential mineral usually combined with oxygen as a phosphate. Most phosphate in the body is found in our bones. But, phosphate containing molecules, (phospholipids) are also important components of cell membranes and lipoprotein particles such as HDL (healthy cholesterol) and LDL (lousy cholesterol). A small amount of phosphate plays a role in many of our biochemical reactions including the production of our essential fuel ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and the formation of red blood cells.

What are the causes of a phosphorus deficiency?

Deficiency is rare in a person with a normal diet. Alcoholics however are at risk as are people who are constantly taking antacids because of the aluminium content in some brands.

Osteoporosis sufferers who are heavily supplementing with calcium are also at risk of deficiency and it is usually recommended that they take phosphorus at the same time.

The far bigger risk with phosphorus is the amount we are consuming in processed foods such as soft drinks. A diet high in phosphorus may decrease the absorption of other minerals such as iron, copper and zinc.

Phosphoric acid for example in soft drinks has been linked to kidney stones in some trials and certainly people with kidney disease should avoid taking in any food or drink that contains large amounts of phosphorous.

Some symptoms of a phosphorus deficiency

  1. General weakness and loss of appetite.
  2. Spikes in energy levels particularly associated with cravings for caffeine and sugar.
  3. Tingling or numbness in fingers and toes.
  4. Bone and joint pain.

What are the best food sources of phosphorus?

  • Sufficient phosphorus is found in a diet that includes plenty of protein rich foods such as turkey and other poultry and meats.
  • Dairy products are rich in the mineral and eating beans regularly will also provide good amounts.
  • Vegetarians need to include plenty of whole grains and nuts in their diet to ensure that they obtain sufficient phosphorus.

Time to hand you over to Carol Taylor who has been creating dishes that include ingredients that are healthy sources of phosphorous.

Today I will be giving you some recipes which contain Phosphorus…Sally has explained the importance of phosphorus in our bodies and I have tested some recipes which if you have a deficiency then these will help you ensure you are getting enough phosphorus in your diet.

Roasting or cooking with a dry heat preserves most of the phosphorus in foods.

I have chosen to use the two meats which have the highest amounts Pork tenderloin and chicken livers…

Pork Tenderloin with peppercorns.


• 1lb Pork Tenderloin.
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• 3tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 2 tsp dijon mustard
• 2 tsp vegetable oil divided
• Salt and pepper to season meat
• 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
• 2/3 stems fresh peppercorns

Let’s Cook!

  1. Combine the maple syrup, balsamic in a small pan cook over a medium heat until the liquid reduces about 2/3 minutes remove from the heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard.
  2. Slice your pork into about 8 pieces then put between two layer of greaseproof paper and pound to flatten to about ¼ inch.
  3. Heat tsp of the oil in a non stick pan, add the garlic and stir then add your seasoned pork.
  4. Cook for a minute and a half and turn and cook the other side. Repeat with your remaining fillets.
  5. Return the cooked pork to the pan and add your sauce stir and heat for one minute.

Your pork is now ready to serve either with rice or potatoes and some steamed vegetables. I served mine with roasted fennel.

It is a dish which was quick to make and the sauce was nice although I didn’t think there was much sauce it actually was enough…

Spicy Chicken Livers.

This lovely spicy chicken liver dish is very easy and quick to make…..In Thai it translates to Pad Ped Kuang Nai Gai Tua Fuk Yaao … try saying that after a few vino’s.

This dish is a family favorite.even hubby eats it and he doesn’t really do spicy but I think his love of liver takes over …Although we prefer chicken liver to lambs or pigs liver is is softer and has a milder flavour.


• 350 gm Chicken Livers
• 4 or 5 long green beans.
• Tsp Red curry paste….. depending on red curry paste you use you may need to add more…I use a locally made one which blows your head off …so only use a tsp and it is still hot!
• 1-2 tbsp Fish Sauce.
• 6/8 Lime leaves very finely shredded.
• 4 tbsp Coconut Milk.
• Small amount of coconut oil.

N.B You can use oil of your choice I just always cook with Coconut oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Clean and cut up chicken livers..I do bite size pieces.
  2. Cut up long beans into half-inch long pieces.
  3. Finely shred lime leaves…..I roll them and shred.
  4. Heat Pan over fairly high heat, add a small amount of oil, add chilli paste and 1 tbsp Fish sauce stir until paste is liquid, add finely sliced lime leaves and chicken livers , stir until just cooked.
  5. Add green beans and coconut milk and cook gently for 2/3 mins.
  6. Taste and add more fish sauce if required…I generally add about another half tbsp.

It is now ready to serve…Serve with rice and additional vegetables if desired.

This is quite a dry dish so can be served with a small bowl of miso soup with chopped spring onions if liked.

If you are vegetarian and have a phosphorus deficiency Whole grains and nuts are high in phosphorus therefore I would advise making a lovely wholegrain loaf with nuts or making a crumble topping. This crumble topping could be used to top fruit or yoghurt either as a dessert or breakfast. You can use any choice of nuts…

Crumble Topping.


• 1 cup Pine Nuts
• ½ cup cashews
• ½ cup of pecans
• 1.5 cups of coconut either fresh shredded or desicatted…I used fresh toasted coconut
• 3 tbsp coconut oil
• 3 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• Pinch salt.


  1. Blitz your nuts in short bursts I left mine smallish pieces a little smaller than I wanted so short sharp bursts or it may be too fine.
  2. Then add the cinnamon, salt , coconut oil and maple syrup and mix tocombine then spread on a greased tray and cook for about 20 mins on 180…
  3. Check a few times just to ensure they don’t burn and give a little stir halfway through cooking.
  4. Allow to cool or if you want a hot pudding then layer with fruit of your choice.

I had a few mangoes so cooked them down with a little raw sugar and a few cumin seeds.

I then layered the mango with the nut crumble… You could use any fruit apples, blackberries, raspberries even bananas if you sliced them and added some spices or maple syrup. Play with your flavours…

My thanks to Carol for preparing these delicious dishes to ensure you and your family are obtaining adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals in your diet. 

You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE

Connect to Carol via her blog: Carol Cooks 2

Thank you for dropping in today and if you have any questions for either of us then please do not hesitate to ask in the comments. Your feedback is always welcome.