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Tomatoes Fight Urinary Infections

Can Kill Harmful Bacteria

Tomatoes Fight Urinary Infections

By John Salak –

Tomato juice could be the ticket to healthier urinary tracts, which may not only make people feel better but also reduce the threat from Salmonella Typhi, a deadly human-specific pathogen that causes typhoid fever.

Typhoid fever admittedly isn’t as big a concern in the U.S. Its deadly impact is felt more often in underdeveloped countries. However, research from Cornell University found that tomato juice and tomatoes themselves also kill other bacteria that can harm digestive and urinary tract health, some of which are more prevalent in the U.S.

If Cornell’s findings are accurate, tomato juice might help some of the almost 10 million people in the U.S. who the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports suffer from illnesses brought on by major foodborne pathogens. This number includes an estimated 55,000-plus who are hospitalized annually and more than 1,300 people who die yearly from these issues.

“Our main goal in this study was to find out if tomato and tomato juice can kill enteric pathogens, including Salmonella Typhi, and if so, what qualities they have that make them work,” explained study investigator Jeongmin Song, a Ph.D. and associate professor at Cornell. 

First, the researchers, in laboratory experiments, checked to see if tomato juice really does kill Salmonella Typhi. Once they confirmed that tomato juice really does kill Salmonella Typhithe team worked to find the antimicrobial peptides involved. Peptides are very small proteins that impair the bacterial membrane and keep them as intact organisms. 

Ultimately, the university team determined that tomato juice worked against other enteric pathogens that can harm people. While the study didn’t specifically identify the pathogens stymied by tomato juice, the other bacteria likely stem from a wide-ranging collection that can be found virtually everywhere, including in the soil and water and on plants, animals, fruits and vegetables. 

Ingesting these pathogens can lead to botulism, E. coli, legionellosis (Legionnaire’s Disease) and vibriosis, among others that include cholera and typhoid fever. The vast majority of these bacterial infections are not deadly and involve symptoms that can include diarrhea, vomiting, cramps and fever, according to the Mayo Clinic. They usually appear within a couple of days of the infection taking hold and last for several days.

Tomatoes and tomato juice may not be a cure-all when it comes to these problems, but Cornell researchers believe they can help. 

“Our research shows that tomato and tomato juice can get rid of enteric bacteria like Salmonella,” Song explained, adding that he hopes his study encourages people to consume more tomato products for their natural antibacterial benefits.





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