A new study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, has specified that consuming peanuts and nuts may protect against death from numerous diseases, including cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes. Past studies have linked nut consumption to reduced risk of blood clots, lower cholesterol and reduced risk of arrhythmia.
The research participants consisted of more than 120,000 men and women aged 55-69 from the Netherlands, who were part of the Netherlands Cohort Study. The participants completed an evaluation analyzing how often they consumed peanuts, nuts and peanut butter and in what quantities. They then assessed the link between intake of these foods and cause-specific mortality among participants since 1986, when the study began.
The research results revealed that participants who consumed 15 grams of nuts or peanuts every day, were at lower risk of from numerous diseases, including cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease and neurodegenerative disease. Reductions in mortality with peanut and nut consumption was strongest for respiratory and neurodegenerative disease, and there was no difference between men and women. Peanuts show at least as strong reductions in mortality as tree nuts, but peanut butter was not associated with mortality.
Consuming more than 15 grams of nuts daily did not provide additional health benefits.
“It was remarkable that substantially lower mortality was already observed at consumption levels of 15 grams of nuts or peanuts on average per day (half a handful)”, said project leader and epidemiologist Professor Piet van den Brandt. “A higher intake was not associated with further reduction in mortality risk. This was also supported by a meta-analysis of previously published studies together with the Netherlands Cohort Study, in which cancer and respiratory mortality showed this same dose-response pattern.”
Relationship of tree nut, peanut, and peanut butter intake with total and cause-specific mortality: a cohort study and meta-analysis, Piet van den Brandt et al., International Journal of Epidemiology, published online 10 June 2015.