Food for Thought: (dedicated to MummyLuv... - AF Association

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Food for Thought

saulger profile image

(dedicated to MummyLuv Alison and Jean)

As we are all looking to improve our quality of life in the throes of AFib, I attach an article about the island of Ikaria in Greece (my place), where one in three inhabitants live to 90 and over and pass on in (relatively) good health.

The secret is easily attainable for us all:

- Good physical condition, due to daily exercise as a result of manual labor and rural living. The walking which Ikarians do on a daily basis, combined with the mountainous topography of the island, enhances good physical condition.

- The Mediterranean midday rest, even including a short nap, has been proven to protect and improve cardiac function.

- Emotional attachments to others, including the strong family and social ties between Ikarian people, have been proven to increase the lifespan of older people.

- The relaxed pace of daily life, without anxiety and stress, and living lives full of optimism, has also been known to add to longevity.

A happy and healthy life to us all. Saul

62 Replies

Sounds a wonderful place Saul and definitely some lessons in there for me, pace of life and rest being big ones!!

Have you been? X

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to MummyLuv

Not yet, Alison. Some 1,000 Greek islands and the list is long...My friend from the UK was there and the shops are left open and unmanned till 11:00 or 12:00 noon (sleeping late) and they ask you to leave the money for what you took !

belindalore profile image
belindalore in reply to saulger

Ha. Here in the USA if things were done that way, the owners would come back to empty shops and no money left. Hey wait. That's exactly what happens here in the USA every day. Robbers go into a store and fill up bags and walk out. And if there are security officers in the store, they do nothing. It's insane what is happening in this country..... And very scary.

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to belindalore

We need more stability in our lives.When I was small, the grocer lived next door and the teacher was a few streets away.

Nowadays the KFC owner lives a million miles away and couldn't care less about the mess made outside his store.

belindalore profile image
belindalore in reply to saulger

So true. The world is a different place. You take care.

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to MummyLuv

Alison, could it be the water?

Tagging jeanjeannie50 so she sees this 💕

Yes, I'm very impressed Saul, but why aren't you living there? Lol.

When are we all going to meet up in Ikaria and where is the nearest airport?

My little town in the U.K. is surrounded by hills and I live at the top of one. I just need to get myself out climbing them more and not keep sitting in front of my PC!

I'm enthralled with what you've told us, thank you.


Hi Jean. I immediately thought of you when I read the Ikarians' approach to living; really !

I guess now is the time to move to Ikaria. The chap who moved back from the US passed on age 102 - 36 years longer after been given just a few months by his doctors.

Could it be the radioactive water ?

You are always so polite and understanding and I wish you good health and life enjoyment always.

Jean, it's not such a far-fetched idea for all the adventurous AFib members to meet in Ikaria.I do the daily Quick Crossword in the Guardian and some formed the QCC (Quick Crossword Café) and have met up in different parts of the UK, and even went to Morocco together on holiday !

Sounds good, we'll see if other members would be interested. I believe that the closer we live and interact with nature, the more we thrive. The Greek islands are good places for doing that. I love to see granny sat outside the house and everyone chatting to her as they go by, such a natural thing to do. Have been to quite a few of the Greek islands.


I’ll meet you all at the airport! Wonder if Greece has an affordable “retiree golden passport” plan, like Portugal has. I’m ready to become a US expat! Ikaria sounds lovely! UK is an option since husband is still a UK citizen, but I’d prefer Greece! 😂

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to lovetogarden

Yes it does. If you are financially independent and can bring 2,000 EUR per month from abroad (not allowed to work in Greece and a little more per month if other family members), and have a private health insurance, Bob's your uncle (UK idiom) !The visa has to be renewed every three years.

lovetogarden profile image
lovetogarden in reply to saulger

Sounds good! ❤️ Probably easier to learn Portuguese than Greek though. (Always like “bob’s your uncle”, even after 30 years together, my husband and I are still teaching each other US and UK idioms. 😀)

It's strange but I thought radiation was bad for us, causing lung cancer:


Hi Jean. The article said that there were unusual levels in Ikaria.I have no idea if they are beneficial:

(from the article)

a) The most radioactive spas, based on Rri concentrations,

are the ones of Apollo and Asclepious of the Greek island

Ikaria. The^e spas,or) a world scale , can. be considered as

strong radioactive spas.

The spas of Kamena Vourla can be considered as medium and

weak and all the Loutraki radioactive spas as weak.

2 26

b) The higher Ra concentrations have been presented in

the water drillings of Kamena Vourla. The concentrations of

this radioisotope are lower in the spa of Apollo and Asclepious and no measurables in the Loutraki spa waters.

c) ^*"*K concentrations are high in the examined spas of

Ikaria and Kamena Vourla and no measurables in the Loutraki spa waters.

d) The geological composition of the area of the radioactive spas,is one of the main factors, which strongly influences the concentrations of the natural radioisotopes in

the spa waters.:

e) The y-ray spectroscopy in the Laboratopy is proved to

be the suitable method for the accurate determination of

all radioisotopes ,simultaneously,in the same sample of

spa waters.

Well something there is certainly doing the inhabitants of Ikaria good. I'd love to go there.


Jean, a late edit.Have you tried Purslane leaves:

"Purslane is a leaf vegetable that can be used either fresh in salads or cooked like spinach.

It has a slightly sour and salty taste and is eaten throughout much of Europe and Asia. Because of its mucilaginous quality it is also suitable for soups and stews.

Purslane contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable plant.

And according to Dr. Artemis Simopoulos - world renowned author and nutrition researcher- purslane has .01 mg/g of EPA - an omega-3 fatty acid normally found mostly in fish and some algae (like spirulina).

Purslane is also an excellent source of magnesium, beta-carotene and vitamin C."


No I'd never heard of it until you mentioned. Have looked it up and can get seeds from Amazon fairly cheap. Have you tried it?


Yes Jean. My Evelyn loves it as a cold salad, leaves and stalks. It's mild.

In Greece it's called "Glistrida".


Thank you for sharing that Saul. It's strange how we can go through life being unaware of foods considered healthy by other countries. I've visited a lot of the Greek islands but not heard of purslane/glistrida before. Could it be something that's not served in restaurants there. Would it ever have been added to a typical tourists Greek salad?

I never encountered it before I met Evelyn, 12 years ago.Never seen it served in restaurant food.

As the article mentioned, it is served uncooked, with vinegar, olive oil, garlic, yoghurt...

If you have access to middle-eastern food shops, they may have it.

Evelyn also has some trouble finding it here.

Edit: I'm sure you had wild greens in Greece (weed called Xorta), cooked like spinach.

I see flax seeds and chia seeds are mucilaginous too. I have them ground and added to my muesli.

HiWatch RADIO ACTIVE the film with Madame Curie, her husband actoring.

She miscarried, they bith died of bone cancer.

As you know I declined RADIO ACTIVE IODINE after thyroid etc removal.

And I refused radiation after carcinoma in situ in right breast removed.

LOW RISK is that and I should trust my surgeon.

Also problems with TSH levels after RAI are problematic. It annoyed to know that this procedure was automatic after operation.

ManageMyHealth is that. Be informed from professional folks, read online and learn. Make a decision and be prepared as a responsible person to accept what happens for declining.

Sounds a nice island. I spent 6 years in Devon my ancestory area in UK on both sides. I worked, it was interesting and I guess travelling in and out from UK.

cheers JOY 73, NZ

Hello Joy. I believe that it depends on the wavelength and concentration of the radiation, but I have no real knowledge and I am not advocating going radioactive !!!

It may well be a coincidence that the water in Ikaria is slightly radioactive and the longevity of the populace.

The radiation mentioned is from the ground and diffuse, unlike the radiation used in therapy.

This is an extract from a research into radiation at health spas:

"For example, in a series of animal (rat) experiments by a Japanese group (25),

the effect of inhaled radon on the activity of an important enzyme, superoxide

dismutase (SOD) in different tissues has been investigated as a function of the radon

concentration, showing substantial stimulating effects in liver and kidney.

In conclusion: Unlike the essentially pain-relieving non-steroid drugs, the radon effect is by most experts nowadays considered primarily a stimulating effect on the defensive immune system. "

In my youth various continental bottled waters had the proud boast on their labels that they were radio-active. It was thought to be good for you way back then. Now we know it is very bad so mysteriously it has been removed from their labels. I know that certain rocks in Cornwall are ‘radio active’. The waters from some aquifers will transfer the radio activity to their waters. Don’t forget that people living in Greece are probably getting lots of Vit D and they are not, and have not been, eating all the wrong foods most of their lives. The results of diet can take years to manifest themselves in various conditions. A siesta is undoubtedly good for you as is a stress free life and they probably don’t get bombarded with bad news all the time.

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to GrannyE

Hello GrannyE. Admit to nothing ! Don't acknowledge the passing of the years.

My original post was really in jest about the enigmatic life of the Ikarians.

As we know there are many factors in play - e.g. the genetics, many people on the island are probably related. I spent time in Folegandros (Cyclades Greece) and there was a distinct facial resemblance in many males !

There is the lifestyle and close community life, the food, the physical toil, and the need to look after your fields and livestock for your and your family's future.

If you look up (a few posts earlier) I mentioned some research that shows a positive effect on the immune system. Spas are also know for the benefit for rheumatism and arthritis.

Love is the drug (Roxy Music)!

Proof of all these good things combining to produce a good life is plain to see. The way we should all live.

I must admit I do have strong emotional and community links ,living in an area where families have settled for many years. ( My mother's family have lived here 5 generations)

Diet and activity is also important to me.

The factor that I am certain without doubt affected me was stress.

Thank you for sharing this,looking into flights and houses now !

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to wilsond

I do hope that we learn to live with nature, be aware of the seasons, and contemplate how we got here.We (myself and Alison and Bambi and Sandi) wish you a stress-free life and good healing to enjoy the new found freedom. All the best, Saul

Dedicated to you, my thoughtful friend, "zώμεν γαρ ού ως θέλομεν, αλλ’ ως δυνάμεθα".

I think you do okay!


saulger profile image
saulger in reply to Ppiman

Dear Steve. Your kindness made my day.

The Rolling Stones said it thus:

"You can't always get what you want,

but if you try sometime you'll find

You get what you need."

Not as poetic as what I have on the link (down below) for you.

I was physically stunned when I first read it !

The breadth of imagination and creativity was life changing for me.

All the best, Steve. To Your Good Health, O Filos Mou!

Ppiman profile image
Ppiman in reply to saulger

We have to rush off to visit an elderly friend in hospital just now, Saul, but I look forward to reading this when we return. Thank you. That friend’s husband, interestingly, is the one I mention occasionally who has had permanent AF since his seventies and continues at 88, rather well. He should give us all hope!


Ppiman profile image
Ppiman in reply to saulger

I didn't know that Stones' quotation - it's a good one. I look forward to reading the Apuleius!

I have a quotation for you from a record I first heard when I was 17, just over half a century ago. It's stayed with me ever since and even informed my own world view. It's from an early 1970's album called "On the Threshold of a Dream" written by a band called, The Moody Blues (two of whom are, to my amazement, still touring).


Quotation from Moody Blues' Album
saulger profile image
saulger in reply to Ppiman

Thank you, Steve. There is a good joke that goes with:"I think therefore I am" [René Decartes]

Rene Descartes walks into a bar and orders a drink. When he finishes his drink, the bartender asks him if he would like another. Descartes replies, “No, I think not,” and disappears in a puff of logic.

Ppiman profile image
Ppiman in reply to saulger

Nice one, Saul.

I think...

And then came Facebook.



saulger profile image
saulger in reply to Ppiman

...then came Facebook and I no longer think.If you haven't read the Golden Ass before, you will be amazed by Apuleius from 166CE (BF - before FB)

Ppiman profile image
Ppiman in reply to saulger

I'm looking forward to it. Thanks again. I've just been reading a long Quora thread on Russia and Ukraine ("Why is Putin/Russia okay with Poland bing in NATO..."). Oh my. What a mess. I think Apuleius might be better for me.


saulger profile image
saulger in reply to Ppiman

Definitely. It's full of humour and magic.If you google his life he was accused of being a magician and skillfully got himself off the charge in a trial.

Ppiman profile image
Ppiman in reply to saulger

I teach Miller's wonderful plays including The Crucible. Your comment brought to mind the witch trials. Magician, indeed! How bad was the past to believe in such stuff!? And even to have to die for it...

Oh, but wait a minute! Facebook is full of people who believe in fairies and protective spirits!! ;-)


saulger profile image
saulger in reply to Ppiman

Plus ça change ! All the same.

beach_bum profile image
beach_bum in reply to Ppiman

Oh dude...know yer audience...of COURSE we had all the Moody Blues albums, and still wear the grooves off the vinyl today! 😎

Ppiman profile image
Ppiman in reply to beach_bum

Well - there you go man, I did think that. Inspirational stuff for a sixteen year old at the time.

When the white eagle of the North ….


HiWell, my Mum lived until 93 yrs and shouldn't have died then.

3 years at my place from 87 - 90.

Never had an operation until her femur was broken in an accident.

She had hypertension until she followed my diet - low fat.

She had a heart murmur told it was a geriatric one.

Did not have dementia.

My Dad died at 83 years lymphoma undiagnosed.

Each 1/2 banana every morning.

I have a stressless life as Johnson & Johnstone mesh has been removed but

stroke embollic in 2019, with AF but a carotid arteries scan showed a shdow on my thyroid.

4 months later removal of thyroid and 12 lymph nodes.

2 clear yearly neck scans.

Only CCB Diltiazem 120mg am and Bisoprolol 2.5 controlled my AF and rapid & persistent heart beat from Dec 2021.

Removal of all inflammation helps your energy level.

With a disintergrated Gall Bladder finally removed at 50 years, I am now 73 years.

If I continue my stressless life in beautiful Doubtless Bay in the North of NZ I hope to get to 90s as well.

But in Mum's day wives did not work. I did from age 16 years.

Looks like you are on this forum to look at us!

cheers JOY

I am so sorry for your health difficulties.

We are of similar ages and I believe from what you wrote that you are now on the right track to putting them behind you.

We aim to make our lives full.

Full with the wonder of the universe and our beautiful home planet.

NZ is the place to be where nature rules.

I wish you continued calm health and peace in your life.

All the best to you. Saul

Sorry for your problems. NZ is indeed a beautiful country with so much wonderful nature, mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, fiords, forests, etc etc all packed into a relatively small space and friendly helpful people.

Sounds like a lovely spot with healthy people, but, a healthy lifestyle involving a balanced diet, close ties with family and friends, and exercise is not a secret for longevity. I live in rural Canada, and you ticked all the boxes for life here. Glass half full is always a good mantra, but 1 out of 3 also means 2 out of 3 don’t make it to 90 😉Where the standard of living allows, longevity has been increasing over the decades as habits such as smoking and unhealthy eating habits go by the wayside.

Genetics also play a huge part. My wife’s family on both sides, typically enjoy healthy lives well into their 90’s, whereas mine,…well, not so much 😝

I also believe stress plays a huge part, and “modern” societies demand more and more from its workforces. Longer hours, never disconnected from the office, “snacks on the go”, kids registered in every thing, is running city folks into the ground…literally.

I was lucky, and got out of the rat race early, but sadly, many seniors are returning to the workforce, and it’s not a healthy trend.

Sorry, that sounded kinda doom and gloom, but my point is….if there is one, is don’t plan on moving to a Greek Island to improve and extend your life, do it because the language and culture fascinates you. The locals on that island probably have been swimming in a pretty good gene pool for a few centuries, so just enjoy where you are…live laugh love, life is fleeting 🙂

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to beach_bum

You are not doom and gloom, and Ikaria is no slouch !

It is just one of four "blue zones" on this planet for longevity and active life when old. The others are a village in Sardinia and Okinawa in Japan.

"Living to 100 is commonplace on Ikaria, and one in three inhabitants lives past the age of 90. Because of this, the island is considered a world “blue-zone”—a designation for places of exceptional longevity, and one of only four across the globe. "

And, I agree, it doesn't have to be in a Greek island to live a full life.

Life is an adventure.

beach_bum profile image
beach_bum in reply to saulger

Oh, ok, I only got the over 90 bit, not the 💯 part lol…now that’s impressive 😎And only time will tell what our collective healthier eating and positive lifestyles will result in….longer healthy lives we hope 🙂

New research every day….it was previously believed that during medieval times and before, that humans lived short “brutish “ lives…but because of advanced carbon testing, it would appear they lived much longer than previously thought.

Interesting stuff indeed!

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to beach_bum

I take what I will get age-wise.But, we don't have to go too far back.

"Period life expectancy at birth in the mid-19th century was around 40 years for males and 42 years for females. These figures increased to around 45 and 50 years respectively by 1901. Life expectancy then rose dramatically until the mid- 1950s."

We've come a very long way and the planet will be too full in 50 years.

beach_bum profile image
beach_bum in reply to saulger

Older article, but still valid.

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to beach_bum

Edit: My previous reply was plain wrong and rash !!!

Having thought more about it, I would agree that we have not evolved in the past few hundreds of years to live beyond the life span. Evolution requires much longer.

Better nutrition, housing, medicine, institutions, etc. must be the key factors for the increase in life expectancy.

You are right !

Be well. Saul

I'm in. Who doesn't love a Greek island? 😉😄

More seriously, perhaps....I lived on a British island for 4 years and did not once visit a doctor, dentist or hospital. Since returning to the bigger island of mainland UK I'm a frequent visitor to all those establishments. There are other factors at play, of course, but it's certainly interesting.

I'm sure less stress and pollution, more rest and play were part of my good health, even though I was in the same (stressful) work. I walked 2 or 3 x a day and swam in the sea often, which I try to do here but I think the "trying" can counteract some of the positive benefits. If it becomes something I feel I should do rather than just do, I notice the difference. If that makes sense.

Being in/ with nature (we are a part of nature, of course) has been a cornerstone of my personal and professional life, including trying to care for "it".

Swim in the sea anyone? 🌊 😄

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to Fullofheart

September is the best month. Not sweltering and fewer visitors.You will have the island to yourself (almost).

The Greek island of Kimolos
Fullofheart profile image
Fullofheart in reply to saulger

Fabulous!! 😊

Sounds idyllic

Great read. Makes me want to sell my home in the US and move to Ikaria.

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to 2018NSR

We will check it out when you visit the Greek islands next...

Oh wouldn't it be nice if we could all live in a place like that. Almost seems like a fantasy. But reality is, unfortunately, life is not like that for everyone.

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to belindalore

I just upped and left the UK for Greece. No plan - nothing.

belindalore profile image
belindalore in reply to saulger

You were lucky or perhaps blessed to be able to do that. It sounds like a wonderful place to live. If I had the means I would love it there. Enjoy it for me. 🤗

saulger profile image
saulger in reply to belindalore

Thank you and all the best to you too. Be well. Saul

It’s a date.

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