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A chemical in broccoli may help in the fight against COVID-19

And it offers other health benefits, too.

WASHINGTON — Eat your greens: it’s likely advice you’ve heard before. Now broccoli is making headlines as a possible ingredient in the fight against COVID-19. Tt’s too soon to say for certain — but it doesn’t hurt to add some leafy greens to your diet.

THE QUESTION

Can broccoli fight COVID-19?

SOURCES

CONCLUSION

This is true.

Yes, a compound found in broccoli can help fight COVID-19, but we can’t say for sure yet if eating the veggie does the trick.

WHAT WE FOUND

Doctors are confident that their findings will be helpful in efforts to stay healthy during the ongoing pandemic.

“We have found that an easily accessible chemical found in cruciferous vegetables, especially in broccoli, helps prevent some of the serious ramifications of infection with Coronavirus,” said Dr. Jones-Brando.

The chemical is a compound called “sulforaphane.”

“Sulforaphane has been studied for at least two decades since the early nineties for its anti-cancer benefits,” said Dr. Jones-Brando. “So it has fiber, it has anti cancer properties, as well as anti viral.”

The researchers explain: sulforaphane helps strengthen cells’ response to an infection and makes it harder for a virus to replicate. Their study found sulforaphane indeed helps strengthen the immune response against coronaviruses–like COVID-19 and the common cold—however, they were looking at the impact of a pure form of the chemical, in mice. So, more research is needed to determine if eating green veggies does the same for humans.

“I wouldn't go and suggest that people take it to prevent COVID-19 Right away, but they should take it to be healthier, like as part of a healthy diet of a healthy body and a healthy mind,” said Dr. Ordonez. “And maybe in some time, we'll be able to show that it can help with some of these viral diseases, and then it's just an added benefit.”

Doctors say the amount of sulforaphane they expect to be beneficial against coronaviruses is likely an easy addition—no “all broccoli diet” needed.

RELATED: No, ‘deltacron’ and the BA.2 subvariant of COVID-19 are not the same

“It's about a cup of broccoli heads, or even less of the broccoli sprouts because they have a more concentrated amount,” said Dr. Jones-Brando.

The study also found Remdesivir–an FDA-approved treatment against severe cases of COVID-19–worked better when paired with sulforaphane.

RELATED: FDA approves remdesivir, first drug for treating COVID-19

The researchers reiterate: they’re looking at veggies as just one tool to help fight COVID-19…along with vaccines and masking and social distancing when appropriate.

“It's multi purpose, it's always a good idea to eat your vegetables,” said Dr. Jones-Brando. “Listen to Mom, at least on this point.”

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