As scientists have been scrambling for potential treatments and vaccines to combat against the COVID-19 pandemic, some have begun testing different unique foods that could play a role in disease prevention.
One food, kimchi, has shown in an early study to be a possible food that could help protect against COVID-19 when consumed.
The pre-printed study took a look at data of death rates from different countries and found that those that eat fermented vegetables, including fermented cabbage products, tended to have a lower death rate. The countries surveyed in this study were European ones, but authors noted that this could be similar for other countries with lots of fermented vegetables in their diets, which includes kimchi.
One could infer from these results that kimchi, sauerkraut, and other fermented cabbage products could help in protection against the disease as a result.
Scientifically, the theory behind this is that fermented vegetables like cabbages have high antioxidant activity, and can inhibit an entry point for coronavirus into the cells called the ACE-2 pathway. ACE-2 is a protein on the membranes of cells that some coronaviruses, including the one responsible for this outbreak, can enter the cell through.
Could eating more kimchi and other fermented cabbage products help prevent you from getting COVID-19? It’s possible, but this study was done to establish some possible hypotheses on how diets could affect the spread of the pandemic. That means that while the possibility is there, now is the time for massive epidemiological research to prove that it’s actually the case.