Heart Health - tales from the third brain

September 6, 2022

Sounds like a science fiction novel, doesn’t it? Indeed, it can conjure up images of creepy crawlies in the human body that influence heart health in ways that we didn’t think possible. Obviously, that is just fantasy.

Or is it? And how does it pertain to heart health?

From time to time, we find that there is a lot of truth in science fiction. When it comes to heart health and the tiny critters, we can see that proven.

Three brains

In order to get to heart health, let’s look at the three brains. Technically speaking, we have multiple brains, and the way that is classified is that each has its own nervous system that operates independently.

The three (main) brains in the human body are:

  • Head brain
  • Heart brain
  • Gut-brain

These three brains run independently and also interdependently with communication between them happening all the time.

There is a lot of fascinating research going on with regards to the energy of the heart and how that influences heart health- we will delve into that one day soon.

Let’s look at how the gut and heart interact for heart health.

Happy gut, happy heart

Apples contain pectin which is good for both gut health and heart health.
Apples contain pectin, a type of prebiotic that can help in promoting good bacteria in the gut as well as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

In order to find the connection between the gut and heart health, we need to look at our gut and the critters therein that make up our microbiome. Furthermore, there are bacteria that reside in our cells that are called mitochondria.

Mitochondria are our energy producers and, unlike ESKOM, work hard in order to provide our bodies with enough ATP or energy. For optimum heart health, we need to keep them happy and strong.

Two of the main causes of heart disease are oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress also causes major damage to the mitochondria. The microbiome has been shown to signal mitochondria for different effects. By looking after the gut, we can look after the mitochondria and by extension, the heart.

One of my favourite ways of doing so is by using probiotics and fermented foods. This is a practical way of using food for heart health.

I’ve shared this before, but this delicious kimchi recipe is an absolute winner when it comes to fermented foods.

Vegan kimchi recipe for heart health

Fermented foods like kimchi can help with weight loss & lowering blood pressure.

This vegetarian take on the traditional fermented Korean dish is one that my family adores.


  • 1 head of Napa cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • ¼ red onion, minced
  • a small daikon radish, shredded
  • 1 red chilli pepper, seeded and very finely chopped
  • a tsp Himalayan crystal salt
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • dash cayenne


  1. Put the cabbage in a glass bowl with the salt and massage. This releases the fluid in the cabbage. Continue until the cabbage is covered in brine.
  2. Now mix all the other ingredients into the brine cabbage mix. Don’t be afraid to use your hands!
  3. Put the mixture with all the juice into a large glass jar. Press it all in firmly.
  4. It is important that the mixture remains submerged in the brine the whole time that it ferments. I put a smaller jar with water on it to stop anything from floating to the top.
  5. Cover the bottle with a clean cloth and place in a warm place, away from direct sunlight.

Of course, depending on where you find yourself in the year, the kimchi will take anything from 2 to 10 days to reach the right tartness for you.

Once you have found the spot of heaven on your tongue, close the container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to a month.

5 Supplements to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation and promote heart health

CoQ10 for heart health

In addition, CoQ10 is a very important part of heart health and protecting the heart. In light of the fact that many statins deplete the body from CoQ10, it is one of the most important supplements to use when you are using a statin.

Happy heart for heart health

In addition, the heart needs more than just outside help.

It must be remembered that the heart is strongly linked to emotional health. On the whole, lifestyle management to lower stress is extremely important.

Lifestyle - Try and remove stressors

It goes without saying that if we can remove the triggers for stress, we will have a better response:

  • Get adequate sleep
    Sleep allows the body to normalise your stress hormones naturally
  • Avoid caffeinated beverages
    These stimulants can disturb sleep, adding to the strain on your adrenals
  • Avoid TV and computers or use blue light filters at least 2 hours before going to bed. Blue light from devices can lower the release of melatonin, the hormone of sleep
  • Exercise
    Exercise has many beneficial effects, including normalising cortisol levels
  • Breakfast
    Eating breakfast is imperative to curb the release of cortisol since the body needs sugar to function and with no breakfast will instruct the adrenals to release more cortisol
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