A recent study has found that consuming more nuts was associated with decreased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, involved 71,764 people living in the southern US and 134,265 Chinese people – one a cohort of men, the other of women – living in Shanghai, China.
The research showed that nut intake was linked to a lower risk of total mortality (death from any cause), and death from cardiovascular disease.
‘Conclusions and Relevance Nut consumption was associated with decreased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality across different ethnic groups and among individuals from low SES groups. Consumption of nuts, particularly peanuts given their general affordability, may be considered a cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health.”
Though the analysis found an association with improved health and life-span and nut consumption, it could not officially conclude a cause-and-effect relationship between eating nuts and a lower death risk. Numerous other factors were not taken into consideration, and there was no “dose-response” effect – meaning that the amount consumed was not measured.
However, as mentioned, there is a link worth noting. As Dr. Michael Katz points out:
“The consistency of the results between the cohorts, and with prior studies that have been performed in higher-income populations, increases our confidence that the beneficial effects of nuts are not due to other characteristics of nut eaters.”
Key results of the study included:
- In the US population, there was a 21% reduced risk of death from all health-related causes for individuals who ate the most peanuts.
- In the Chinese groups, high nut intake resulted in a 17% reduced risk.
- A reduced risk of ischemic heart disease was seen in all nut-consumers.
The authors conclude:
“The findings highlight a substantive public health impact of nut/peanut consumption in lowering CVD [cardiovascular disease] mortality given the affordability of peanuts to individuals from all socioeconomic status backgrounds.
…We found consistent evidence that high nut/peanut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of total mortality and CVD mortality.
This inverse association was observed among both men and women and across each racial/ethnic group, and was independent of metabolic conditions, smoking, alcohol consumption and BMI [body-mass index].”
Another epidemiological study published in the 2013 New England Journal of Medicine found quite similar results. The study, called “Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality,” also showed that eating nuts reduces overall mortality by 20%, and regular nut consumers tend to be more slender.
“Increased nut consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the association between nut consumption and mortality remains unclear.
…In two large, independent cohorts of nurses and other health professionals, the frequency of nut consumption was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality, independently of other predictors of death. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation.)”