A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that nut consumption, particularly peanuts, may decrease overall and cardiovascular disease mortality across different ethnic groups and among individuals from low socioeconomic status (SES) groups.
Previous studies have shown high nut intake to reduce mortality risk, but mainly those of high socioeconomic status.The researchers evaluated three large cohorts for the study. One included
71,764 U.S. residents of African and European descent, primarily of low SES, who were participants in the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) in the southeastern United States (March 2002-September 2009). The other two cohorts included 134,265 participants in the Shanghai Women's Health Study
(SWHS) (December 1996-May 2000) and the Shanghai Men's Health Study (SMHS) (January 2002-September 2006) in Shanghai, China. Self-reported nut consumption in the SCCS (approximately 50% were peanuts) and peanut-only consumption in the SMHS/SWHS were assessed using validated food frequency questionnaires.
With a median follow-up of 5.4 years in the SCCS, 6.5 years in the SMHS, and
12.2 years in the SWHS, 14,440 deaths were identified. The researchers found that nut intake was inversely associated with risk of total mortality in all three cohorts (17-21% reduction in total mortality). This inverse association was predominantly driven by cardiovascular disease mortality (23-38% reduction in cardiovascular mortality). When specific types of cardiovascular disease were examined, a significant inverse association was consistently seen for ischemic heart disease in all ethnic groups. The associations for ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke were significant only in Asians.
The researchers concluded that "consumption of nuts, particularly peanuts given their general affordability, may be considered a cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health."