Health Things That Help

Sarah Jane

What are we like?

We are like Sarah Jane Moss who does 6 classes a week for Healthy Generations.

“I became a fitness instructor to help people living with daily pain due to conditions I once lived with. I had lower back pain due to osteoarthritis in the lumbar spine and knee pain. With the right exercises I was able to manage my pain and conditions. I believe strongly in exercise to help manage medical conditions and  improve the quality of life, health and wellness.

I love teaching group exercise classes in the community. It’s a wonderful thing how health charities like Healthy Generations bring people together in a friendly and positive atmosphere. It helps to reduce loneliness in some people and is a good way to keep fit, socialise and meet new people.

Exercise helps with day to day activities improving the quality of life.

I find it so uplifting to see the joy in everyone’s faces as they begin to move their bodies through a series of exercises. I choose to teach face to face classes as I love the atmosphere and togetherness. In a class people connect to with each other which in turn helps with motivation and build relationships; and it’s so much fun! 

When coming to my classes expect to feel uplifted and energised. I will challenge you in a good way and you will leave feeling worked out! My mission is to help Islington’s older generation feel fit, functional and happy.”

This week the highlight is her “Exercise to Music” Class every Tuesday 10.00am at the West Library just off Caledonian Road.

To join click here

And she also does:

Monday Dance Fitness Sundial Centre 2.00pm – JOIN
Monday Older People Strength, Kings Square 12.00pm – JOIN
Tuesday Dance Fitness at Jean Stokes 3.00pm – JOIN
Thursday Seated Keep fit at Light Project 1.00pm – JOIN
Friday Highbury Fields Outdoors Keep Fit 9.45am – JOIN

Health Things That Help


Lactose – The Full Story

65 percent of all adult humans in the world are lactose intolerant. For the other 35 percent the ability to tolerate lactose (called lactose persistence because the ability persists into adulthood) is between 15 to 54 percent in Eastern and Southern Europe, 62 and 86 percent in in central and western Europe and more than 90 percent in the British Isles and Scandinavia. The two other areas with lactose persistence are the Maasai people in Eastern Africa and the Fulani in central and west Africa. All of us have a long history of farming cattle. So us adult Brits have an over 9 in 10 chance of being able to digest lactose.

Maasai herdsman

All human infants are obviously lactose tolerant in order to feed on breast milk but then become increasingly intolerant after weaning and transition to adulthood.

Lactose intolerance is not an allergy – it’s an intolerance. An allergy is an adverse immune response which sometimes happens in response to the protein in milk which can affect between 2 and 3 percent of infants.

Cheese has more or less the same nutritional makeup as milk but has much of the lactose removed. Most of the lactose goes out with the whey which is the liquid part of milk left after milk has been curdled and strained in the production of cheese.

Fulani woman with milk

Lactose levels in milk are around 5 percent and is only 0.07 percent in Cheddar or Parmesan. That is a 70 fold reduction. The softer the cheese the more lactose it will contain. Ricotta can contain 3 percent lactose. Sensitivities to lactose vary so a lot of people who can’t tolerate milk can eat cheese, especially the harder ones. Butter also has very low lactose.

Yoghurt is also easier to digest than milk. The best yogurt for people with lactose intolerance is a full-fat, probiotic yogurt containing live bacterial cultures. The live bacteria helps break down lactose so your body has less to process on its own.

It’s best to look for yogurts labeled “probiotic,” which means they contain live cultures of helpful bacteria. Yogurts that have been pasteurized, a process that kills the bacteria, may not be as well tolerated.

Additionally, full-fat and strained yogurts like Greek and Greek-style yogurt could be an even better choice for people with lactose intolerance because full-fat yogurts contain more fat and less lactose-laden whey than low-fat yogurts. Greek and Greek-style yogurts are strained during processing. This removes even more of the whey, making them naturally much lower in lactose.

Exercise Health Things That Help

Muscles and bones

Is bone loss inevitable?

Well here are two stories that say no.

The first is the reason why Healthy Generations began a Remedial Osteoporosis class back in 2016. Loughborough University ran a year-long “Hip Hop Study” measuring the effect of daily exercise in 34 men over 65. They found just two minutes of hopping a day can strengthen hip bones in older men and reduce the risk of fracture after a fall.

Increases of up to 7% were identified in the bone mass of some parts of the outer shell (cortex) and in the density of the layer of spongy bone underneath this. Importantly, there were improvements in the thinnest areas of the bone most at risk of fracture after a fall.

Bones thin with age (lack of exercise), and localised thinning in the hip is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture. The Hip Hop study has shown regular exercise can help counteract the effects of ageing (the effects of not doing enough exercise?) to the bone.

The second story is about Sheila Hancock the famous actress widow of John Thaw.

In her early 80s she couldn’t lift her hand baggage into the overhead locker on a flight. On getting home she found out she needed to do weights in order to tone her muscles and bones.

Sheila said, “I was beginning to notice I couldn’t put my hand luggage above my seat on a plane, and that sort of thing. It was all muscle wastage to do with getting older.”

“But lifting weights has restored muscle that had gone. My bicep is back now. My lower arms are strong. Some people do weights to look toned but I just want to stay strong as I get older. You don’t have to get weak as you get older – I’ve proved that.”

The NHS states that strength training is one of the best ways to improve muscle strength and power, as well as one of the best techniques to help slow down bone and muscle loss as you age.

So if you are beginning to tell yourself, “Blimey I’m getting old.” Forget it! Instead start doing some exercises to gently tone muscles and bones up again. You can start with the Longevity class or Remedial Osteoporosis. Go for it! What’s not to like?

Health Things That Help

Carpal Tunnel

Things that can help – CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Two simple exercises that really help carpal tunnel syndrome.


Storing Food

Tips On Storing Food

Make sure your freezer maintains a temperature of 0° F or less.  If the temperature rises above that level, the frozen products may begin to thaw and lose some of their vitamin content. In addition, some frozen products have been found to lose vitamin content after prolonged storage of a year or more, so you should not store them for more than two or three months before use.

Vegetables should be stored unwashed in a sealed plastic bag in the vegetable crisper draw. The refrigerator should be set at 35 to 40° F.  Today’s frost-free refrigerators are the worst thing for fresh vegetables because they automatically withdraw moisture from the air in the refrigerator, and water-soluble vitamins will be lost with the moisture extracted from the vegetables. Placing produce in sealed plastic bags in the crisper drawer will help to maintain the vitamin content for a few days.

Canned foods should not be stored in a very hot environment.  The breakdown of vitamins is a chemical process. Like all chemical processes, this breakdown is more rapid when temperatures are higher. Therefore, maintaining your pantry in a cool place will minimise vitamin losses in canned foods.

Store milk and bread away from the sun or strong light, which can destroy their riboflavin content (and milk’s vitamin A content, too).  Clear plastic milk bottles should not be used for this reason.

Orange juice will begin to lose vitamin C after it has been stored in your refrigerator for several days, regardless of the container in which it is stored. Don’t keep more than you will be able to use in a week’s time. Powdered drinks with supplementary vitamin C will hold their vitamin content for a long time and may be an acceptable alternative to fresh or frozen juice products for some people even though they have no other nutrients.

If you pick tomatoes before they are ripe, allow them to ripen in a cool (not cold), dark place.  They can be easily ripened by storing them in a paper bag at room temperature, never in the refrigerator. Ripening under any other conditions will result in the loss of some of their nutrients.

Health Things That Help

Morning Exercises

Morning Exercise Routine

In the interests of coming up with the possible, Healthy Generations have put together a short exercise routine that you can do in five or six minutes. Three of the movements are to aid flexibility and large joint mobility. The last four are as a group known as the Nitric Oxide Dump.

The Nitric Oxide Dump is a fast way to increase the amount of nitric oxide in our bodies. The endothelium (inner lining) of blood vessels uses nitric oxide to tell the surrounding smooth muscle to relax, resulting in vasodilation, increasing blood flow, and lowering blood pressure. Nasal breathing produces nitric oxide within the body, while mouth breathing does not.


Buying Food

Tips On Buying Food

Buying food knowledgeably, storing it carefully, and using cooking methods that preserve vitamins and minerals can greatly enhance the nutritional value of the foods in your diet.


Buy cereals and breads made from whole grains rather than processed grains.  Most of the vitamins and minerals are removed in the milling process. Some but not all of those nutrients are replaced if the grain is “enriched” and some nutrients, such as folic acid, are now being added to “fortify” grain and other products. If you can’t find whole-grain products, try for an enriched product. Non-enriched, processed products are least desirable.

Frozen meats, poultry, and vegetables are essentially equal to their fresh counterparts when it comes to vitamin and mineral content.  The flash-freezing process used to prepare frozen foods does not result in vitamin losses, except for vitamin E. They maintain their full vitamin content through the cooking process because of the sealed pouch. Avoid packages that have ice crystals on the outside; that indicates they’ve been thawed and refrozen, which may mean they’ve lost nutrients and/or been contaminated with bacteria. I have read that fish high in Omega 3 when frozen lose about one third of the Omega 3. However two thirds of Omega 3 is still better than no thirds.

Avoid canned vegetables. Any water-soluble vitamins left in the vegetables after processing dissolve in the water used in the packing process and are lost for nutritional purposes. In addition, most people are better off without the salt and sugar that may be added to canned foods to preserve them and make them taste better.

Never buy cans that have dents, bulges, or are rusting.  They may be contaminated with bacteria.

Fresh and frozen fruits are preferable to canned fruits because of potential losses of their water-soluble vitamin content during storage. Fresh fruits may take several days or weeks to reach you, during which time they can begin to lose vitamin content. Still, we believe that fresh fruits should be your first choice—the fresher the better! Frozen fruits are a good second choice since they maintain their vitamin content in the same way as frozen vegetables do. Canned fruits are a poor third choice.

Colour may be an indicator of vitamin content.  For example, vitamin A is orange in colour, and those foods with a high vitamin A content, such as carrots, reflect that colour. When buying fresh fruits and vegetables, look for those with a deep, rich colour.

Don’t keep fresh fruits and vegetables around the house until they are overripe.  The continuing enzymatic process of fruit ripening can lead to the loss of valuable vitamin content. If you buy fresh produce, buy only enough to last a few days (and no more than a week).

Homegrown fruits and vegetables are not nutritionally superior to the kind you can buy in your supermarket.  However, they usually taste better because they are allowed to ripen naturally before you pick and eat them. And they may not contain pesticides, if you choose to and can grow them without using such products.

Health Things That Help

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found in foods in two main forms, mostly as cholecalciferol and in small amounts as ergocalciferol. Vitamin D is converted into another (active) form in the liver and then undergoes further changes in the kidney. In this form it works as a hormone in controlling the amount of calcium absorbed by the intestine. Vitamin D is also made by the action of ultra violet rays on the skin and this is the most important source for the majority of people since few foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D.
Experts say going outside for 10-20 minutes in the midday sun—in shorts and a tank top with no sunscreen—will give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the vitamin.

Sunbeds do not provide you with Vitamin D.

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis consider going to one of our remedial classes Instructor Petra Hind was trained at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, London and we originally set the classes up after seeing research done at Loughborough University called the Hip Hop Study. They said, “The findings suggest that exercise could be used to target bone gains in areas of structural weakness. Further study found that the exercises also increased hip bone density in postmenopausal women.” Go to and have a look.

Vitamin D is essential for proper bone mineralisation. Poor diet or inadequate exposure to sun are viewed as the two main factors in Vitamin D deficiency.


(Average adult RDA is 400 IU, or 10 mcg)

FOOD                                    APPROXIMATE CONTENT

                                                (IU PER 3 OZ)

Butter                                      36

Cheese                                     27

Cod liver oil                       10000

Eggs                                        45

Liver                                        45

Milk (fortified)                         36

Milk (human)                             6

Mushrooms                            135

Salmon                                   360

Sardines                                  450

Shrimp                                    135

Sunflower seeds                        83

Tuna                                        225


NHS Hospital Beds

NHS Hospital Beds

In the last 30 years the number of beds in the NHS has been reduced from approximately 300,000 in 1987 to 148,000 now. The population has increased from 56.8 million to 66.2 million. So hospital beds have reduced by a half, and population increased by 17%. This information comes from a recent Iain Dale book “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along…”.

In general and acute beds, the biggest category, the figures are:

  • 1987/8 – 180,889
  • 1997/8 – 138,047
  • 2010/11 – 108,958
  • 2016/17 – 102,369

For mental health beds:

  • 1987/8 – 67,122
  • 1997/8 – 36,601
  • 2010/11 – 23,448
  • 2016/17 – 18,730

This is not party political. This has been happening with New Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments. The average decline under Blair/Brown was 1,315 beds per year. During the coalition and Conservative years it was 783 per year. The figures must demonstrate that hospital bed cuts are part of a long-term strategy.

Health Things That Help

The Anti Cancer Diet

The Anti Cancer diet

David Servan-Schreiber is a psychiatrist who, diagnosed with a brain tumour, was shocked at how little information there was on how to help yourself when faced with a cancer diagnosis.

The book is the story of his search for the science behind the effect of exercise, meditation, support groups, addressing the possible reasons for developing cancer and the best anti-inflammatory foods to eat and the worst foods to avoid.

It also explains how cancer develops and the fact that we all have cancerous cells that most of the time either don’t develop or get wiped out.

It is very well written and a good read beyond the invaluable information. Below are his recommendations for what foods to eat. For brevity I’ve left out why although in the book he explains the science and reasons. 

One thing I will say is this is not ‘woo-woo science hope this helps’. Everything suggested below has been researched and proven to make a difference.  

Green Tea

You can use decaf. Drink 6 cups a day

Olive Oil

Has to be cold pressed extra virgin. Have between half to one tablespoon a day used in cooking, salad dressing or added to vegetables.


Must be mixed with black pepper to be assimilated in the body. Ideally dissolve in olive oil. Mix a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric powder with half a tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper. Add to vegetables, soups and salad dressings.


Add grated ginger to a vegetable or meat mix while cooking in wok or pan. Or marinate fruits in lime juice and grated ginger. Or cut into slices and steep in boiling water for 10-15 minutes and drink as a tea.

Cruciform Vegetables

Brussels sprouts, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Only steam cabbage and broccoli to preserve necessary chemicals.

Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Shallots, Chives

Eat all cooked or raw every day. (Garlic molecules are released when clove is crushed and dissolved in a little olive oil).

Vegetables and fruit

Carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, certain varieties of potimarron squash (Hokkaido squash), tomatoes, persimmons, apricots, beetroot, and all bright coloured fruits and vegetables.

Tomatoes and tomato sauce

Tomatoes must be cooked to release necessary nutrients. Use canned tomato sauce with olive oil and no added sugar. Or make your own: cook tomatoes in olive oil. Add onions, garlic, tofu or eggs rich in omega 3 along with cumin, turmeric, pepper and seasonings. Avoid cans with plastic linings inside or choose brand in glass jar. Olive oil helps assimilation of nutrients.


Replace conventional milk with soy milk and yoghurt. Soy beans and mung beans can be cooked or sprouted. Also use tofu, tempeh, miso. Tofu can be cooked or eaten raw.


Shiitake, maitake, cremini, portobello, oyster and thistle oyster mushrooms all good. Good for supporting immune system during chemotherapy.

Herbs and spices

Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and mint.  Also parsley and celery.


Nori,  kombu, wakame, arame and dulse are main seaweeds although there are more – they are all brown seaweeds.


Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries.


The Diet Myth

The Diet Myth

Nutrition is not a simple science. 

Tim Spector, Professor of Epidemiology at Kings College London, explains the proven science of diet and good eating.

There are some excerpts below but the message is the health of our bowel flora is a good indicator of our overall health. Improve your bowel flora and you improve your health. The Mediterranean diet, unpasteurised cheese and natural unsweetened yoghurt, eating a greater variety of foods, particularly fruits, olive oil, nuts, vegetables and pulses, and intermittent fasting are all good. Sugar, processed foods, including pre-prepared meals, snacks, crisps, cakes, biscuits and sweetened drinks are bad.

In the UK in 1980 only 7% of men and women were obese – now it is 24%.

15,000 years ago it seems our ancestors regularly ate around 150 different ingredients in a week. Now, we often eat less than 20. Keep a diary and find out how many you eat in the next week.

Most things we eat now are artificially refined and come from four main ingredients: corn, soy, wheat and meat. 

Most of us do not lose weight exercising. (However there are many good reasons to exercise – bone density, muscle mass, respiration, heart health, flexibility, reduces risk of chronic disease, the list is endless but we have to spend more time exercising than most of us would want to lose weight and too much exercise can be bad for us).

Approximately 270 hours of exercise per year adds around three years to a lifespan. That’s just under 45 minutes a day and walking does count.

Our brains use 20-25% of our daily energy resources.

Saturated fat in products like cheese and yoghurt is not unhealthy but likely to be beneficial provided the food is real and contains living microbes, meaning not over-processed and full of chemicals and sweeteners.

Exercise can reduce blood pressure.

For many people salt reduction only has a minor effect on blood pressure.

Extra virgin olive oil and nuts taken regularly on top of a basic Mediterranean diet reduces the incidence of disease and early death.

Brightly coloured vegetables and fruits contain polyphenols. Polyphenols and considered good. They are impoirtant in helping the body clear and regulate.

Extra virgin olive oil is definitely good which means eating saturated fat is not bad. Also natural yoghurt and unpasturised cheese is also good for a healthy gut.

There is no doubt  that diverse, real, fresh foods from the Mediterranean are what we should be eating more of.

Trans fats are seriously bad and have been banned by many countries. They are chemically manufactured vegetable substitutes that increase the shelf life of packaged foods. Margarine is a trans fat and was sold as a healthy alternative to dairy fats.

The dogma we should reduce total fat intake has no scientific basis.

Fats in processed foods with lots of salt and sugar are bad for us.

Artificially created trans fats are even worse.

Many fats such as the saturated varieties are good for us.

The Mediterranean diet is high-fat but heathy – the key is diversity, colour and freshness.