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The Immune-Boosting Affects of Broccoli

Narrator: This is Science Today. If you needed even more reasons to eat your broccoli, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have found that when chewed and digested, Brassica vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage and kale, produce a chemical that may help boost the immune system. Study leader Len Bjeldanes says they fed mice with viral infections a solution containing this chemical called diindolylmethane, or DIM.

Bjeldanes: What we found, we were really surprised to see that we've got about an 80% reduction in the amount of virus that could proliferate in those animals once we gave it to them, when we gave them the combination with DIM, so this is really a very strong indication that this is helping the body deal with these immune insults, like in this case a virus.

Narrator: Broccoli is already known to have anti-cancer effects.

Bjeldanes: So we think that very likely - we haven't proven this yet and this is something we want to do - is that this immune activation system is probably playing a role in the anticancer effects of that too.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.