Nuts may reduce risk of death from heart disease

Nuts may reduce risk of death from heart disease

A new study suggests that eating nuts may help people live longer by reducing the risk of death from heart disease.

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The study evaluated three large cohorts, one of which included more than 70,000 U.S. residents of African and European descent who were predominately of low socioeconomic status. The other two cohorts included over 100,000 residents of Shanghai.

Both nut and peanut consumption were assessed in the U.S. cohort while only peanut consumption was assessed in the Shangai cohorts. Although peanuts are often categorized as nuts in data, they are actually classified as legumes. However, they contain many nutrients similar to tree nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts.

Researchers found that high nut and peanut consumption was associated with decreased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality across the different ethnic groups. The risk for overall mortality was reduced by 21 percent among U.S. participants and 17 percent among Chinese participants.

However, Dr. Xiao-Ou Shu, associate director of global health and professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, said the findings are "based on an observational study" and cause-and-effect could not be proven with certainty.

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"That said, the totality of evidence from nutrition and health research suggests that nut and peanut consumption can be considered a healthy lifestyle choice," Shu added.

The study was published online in JAMA Internal Medicine on March 2.

Previous studies linking high intake of nuts to a reduced risk of mortality were primarily conducted among people of European descent who were of high socioeconomic status.

Research has also shown that nut consumption is associated with lower risks of many diseases, including colon cancer and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating four servings of unsalted, unoiled nuts a week.

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