Does Nut Consumption Help You Live Longer?
Title: Association of Nut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
Author: Bao et al
Journal: NEJM (Nov 21, 2013; 369; 21)
Objective: To examine.. “ the association of nut consumption with total and cause specific mortality in two large, independent cohort studies”.
Nuts are nutritionally dense and known to be healthy when consumed in moderation. They are rich in protein, unsaturated fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Generally speaking, nuts are known to help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other medical diseases. Observational studies also suggest nut consumption reduces various disease mediators including inflammation, adiposity or fat, blood sugar control, and endothelial dysfunction.
If you want to know more about the health benefits of nuts, follow the link below.
Few studies have looked at nut consumption and overall risk of death.
The authors of this study wanted to answer that question reviewing the data on two large trials.
They examined the association between nut consumption and total and cause-specific mortality among 76,464 women (Nurses Health Study) and 42,498 men (Health Professions Follow up Study).
Participants with major pre-existing conditions including cancer, heart disease and stroke were excluded.
Nut consumption was assessed at baseline and updated every 2 to 4 years.
They had 3,038,853 person-years of follow up, with 16,200 female and 11,229 male deaths.
Nut consumption was associated with a reduced risk of mortality among men and women after controlling for risk factors compared to those who did not consume nuts.
The protective benefits for all causes of death were as follows:
- Less than once per week: 7% reduced risk [HR 0.93, 95% CI (0.90 to 0.96)]
- Once per week: 11% reduced risk [HR 0.89, 95% CI (0.86 to 0.93)]
- Two to four times per week: 13% reduced risk [HR 0.87, 95% CI (0.83 to 0.90)]
- Five or Six times per week: 15% reduced risk [HR 0.85, 95% CI (0.79 to 0.91)]
- Seven or more times per week: 20% reduced risk [HR 0.80, 95% CI (0.73 to 0.86)]
There were also protective effects against specific diseases
- Cancer: 9% [HR 0.91, 95% CI (0.85 to 0.97)]
- Heart Disease: 26% [HR 0.74, 95% CI (0.68 to 0.81)]
Generally not statistically significant but showed a trend for protective effects against:
- Respiratory Disease
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Kidney Disease
Two large studies with over 118,00 participants showed that consuming nuts less than once per week reduced your risk of all causes of death by 7%. Consuming nuts daily reduced your risk by a staggering 20%.
This was independent of other predictors of death.
It also was protective against many cause specific diseases, most notably cancer and heart disease.
As far as dietary changes, nuts should be a staple of any individual diet if it isn’t already.