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A Sweet Touch To Help You Deal With COVID...

Cocoa, bitter chocolate, Muscadine grapes and green tea could give you a helping hand with the unpalatable coronavirus.

After leaving us with such a bad taste, there is finally COVID news that literally ‘sweetens’ our lives a little. Research completed by North Carolina State University, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science has discovered that chemical compounds contained in some foods and drinks such as green tea, muscadine grapes, cocoa and bitter chocolate can block - to some extent - the function of an enzyme or protease in COVID, causing the virus to lose strength and eventually die (1).

Enzymes are important to cell maintenance and action, including viral cells. According to plant and microbial biology experts De-Yu Xie and Yue Zhu, who are both leading the study in a computer simulation as well as in a laboratory, when these enzymes are inhibited, the cells of pathogens simply cease to function or multiply normally anymore.

The laboratory overseeing this study specializes in investigating precise compounds and medicinal plants that can help prevent viruses from attaching to our body’s healthy cells, as well as remedies to slow down the multiplication of viruses. In the face of the pandemic, this team has dedicated themselves to investigating food and plants that can provide a helping hand by eliminating or debilitating this dangerous virus that has complicated our lives at an individual and global level.

They carried out experiments to see how the ‘main enzyme’ of the coronavirus (Mpro) reacted to different plant chemical compounds, which have scientific backing due to their significant anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

For this virus to reproduce and gain necessary strength to attack, there needs to be enough Mpro. However, when something eliminates or neutralizes that enzyme, the virus simply dies.

Of all the substances tested, there were four whose chemical compounds managed to bind to the Mpro and reduce its power. They were:

  • Green tea showed the best results, along with grapes, since five of its chemical compounds effectively neutralized the enzyme. Previous research concurs, showing that the main active ingredient in green tea benefits several health systems of the body, especially the immune system (2).

  • Two varieties of Muscadine grapes, which are native to the southeastern United States, also proved very successful due to their skin and seeds. This variety is even known as ‘smart grape’ because of the amount of compounds it has working in synergy, eliminating cell damage (3), and promoting the resveratrol contained in its skin, which has been proven powerful in supporting heart health and strengthening the immune system while decreasing inflammation in the body.

  • Cocoa powder is a product already widely studied for its antioxidant power (4). This is due to its abundance of polyphenols that are beneficial to heart health, brain, cancer prevention and the immune system, especially supportive of proper inflammatory response.

  • Bitter chocolate, which contains mostly cocoa, helps reduce negative enzyme activity by about half.

Now, this encouraging news does not mean we should run to the supermarket and buy up all the dark chocolate, cocoa powder, grapes and green tea to then consume it all once and return to life as ‘normal’.

Getting store bought chocolates, loaded with fat and loads of sugar, or drinking sweetened green tea or bottles of muscadine grape wine to support our immune system is not going to help!

You can't fight cell inflammation by fueling it with alcohol, fat and sugar.

The effectiveness of these products is a discovery that undoubtedly fills us with hope, but even though nature provides us with so much assistance in the face of countless health problems and needs, as we always say: there are no magic formulas, least of all with a dangerous virus.

This information is very valuable for us to incorporate these natural products into a healthy diet. We regularly emphasize the need to maintain that along with good habits like getting proper sleep, hygiene, physical activity and stress management.

At the end of the day, and especially in today’s age, every contribution towards our optimal health and well-being counts.

Let's be healthier, together!

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