A new study shows that drinking tomato juice can prevent a bad form of food poisoning that puts 26,000 Americans in the hospital each year.
Researchers at Cornell University looked into the effect of tomato juice, the main ingredient in the beloved Bloody Mary cocktail, on salmonella bacteria.
It is commonly found in meats such as chicken, turkey, and beef that have not been cooked properly.
Nearly 1 in every 25 packages of chicken at the grocery store is contaminated with salmonella — but cooking the meat to the proper temperature kills it.
In the new study, the team evaluated antimicrobial peptides in tomato juice, which are small proteins that destroy the membrane that keeps a harmful organism safe.
Tomato juice, an essential ingredient in Bloody Marys, has been shown to inhibit strains of Salmonella, which cause symptoms of food poisoning such as vomiting and diarrhea.
They found that two antimicrobial peptides can stop Salmonella typhi, a foodborne illness that causes symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Nearly 5,000 of the 1.3 million cases of salmonella that occur each year are thought to be typhi, according to the CDC.
“Our main goal in this study was to find out if tomatoes and tomato juice can kill pathogens, including Salmonella typhi, and if Also what qualities do they have that make them work.
They first checked to see if tomato juice actually killed Salmonella typhi, and once that was confirmed, the team analyzed the tomatoes’ DNA, to find the antimicrobial peptides involved.
The team studied four of them, and found that two of them were effective in killing Salmonella typhi by weakening the bacterial membrane, a protective layer surrounding the pathogen.
The team also found that peptides in tomato juice can kill other types of salmonella, which infect more than 1.3 million Americans each year.
“Our research shows that tomatoes and tomato juice can get rid of intestinal bacteria such as salmonella,” Dr. Song said.
Salmonella typhi is a form of Salmonella typhi, a type of bacteria transmitted from the feces of people or animals. Symptoms of infection usually begin between six hours and six days after exposure.
It usually resolves within another four to seven days without the need for medical intervention.
Some people have no symptoms. However, the disease can sometimes be more serious and lead to hospitalization.
People with pre-existing medical conditions, weakened immune systems, children under 12 months, and older adults are especially vulnerable to serious side effects — or even death.
In rare cases, salmonella infection can cause the organism to enter the bloodstream and cause more serious illness, such as arterial infections, endocarditis (inflammation of the heart valve), and arthritis.
Salmonella infects more than 1.3 million people each year, resulting in 26,500 hospitalizations and 420 deaths annually.
Last year, the United States faced an outbreak of bacteria linked to pre-cut fruits like cantaloupe, which sickened more than 400 Americans.
The researchers said they hope the findings will encourage eating and drinking more tomatoes as well as other fruits and vegetables.
The study was published on Tuesday in the journal Microbiology Spectrum.