Nuts and peanuts may protect against major causes of death

Credit: Daniele Pellati/public domain

A paper published today in the International Journal of Epidemiology confirms a link between peanut and nut intake and lower mortality rates, but finds no protective effect for peanut butter. Men and women who eat at least 10 grams of nuts or peanuts per day have a lower risk of dying from several major causes of death than people who don't consume nuts or peanuts.

The reduction in mortality was strongest for respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease, and diabetes, followed by cancer and cardiovascular diseases. The effects are equal in men and women. Peanuts show at least as strong reductions in mortality as tree nuts, but peanut butter is not associated with mortality, researchers from Maastricht University found.

This study was carried out within the Netherlands Cohort Study, which has been running since 1986 among over 120,000 Dutch 55-69 year old men and women. Nut consumption was assessed by asking about portion size and frequency of intake of peanuts, other nuts (tree nuts), and peanut butter. The researchers from Maastricht University analyzed the relationship with overall and cause-specific mortality since 1986.

The associations between nuts and peanut intake and cardiovascular death confirm earlier results from American and Asian studies that were often focused on cardiovascular diseases. However, in this new study, it was found that mortality due to cancer, diabetes, respiratory, and neurodegenerative diseases was also lowered among users of peanuts and nuts. Project leader and epidemiologist Professor Piet van den Brandt commented: "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). A higher intake was not associated with further reduction in . 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."

Peanuts and both contain various compounds such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, various vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds, that possibly contribute to the lower death rates. In contrast to peanuts, no association was found between peanut butter intake and risk. However, besides peanuts, peanut butter contains also added components like salt and vegetable oils. In the past, it has been shown that butter contains and therefore the composition of is different from peanuts. The adverse health effects of salt and trans fatty acids could inhibit the protective effects of peanuts.

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Study finds nut and peanut consumption decreases mortality

More information: 'Relationship of tree nut, peanut, and peanut butter intake with total and cause-specific mortality: a cohort study and meta-analysis' Piet A. van den Brandt, Leo J. Schouten
International Journal of Epidemiology, 2015.
Citation: Nuts and peanuts may protect against major causes of death (2015, June 11) retrieved 22 August 2019 from
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User comments

Jun 16, 2015
What is the effect of roasting the peanuts? Raw ones are not very attractive to many pallets.

Jun 22, 2015
Nut Consumption, Diabetes, Cancer and Father of Oncology. Nuts and seeds contain natural fats as well as high levels of iron. Hemochromatosis is a common inherited disorder in which the body absorbs and stores abnormally high amounts of iron. Hemochromatosis tends to coexist with diabetes. The damage to the pancreas from excessive iron deposits can cause diabetes. Excess iron is stored (asymptomatically) in body tissues and patient can get diabetes or/and cancer (liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, brain cancer), the Father of Oncology says. Cancer is a disease of iron-overloaded cells. Primary tumors always develop at body sites of excessive iron deposits. Such deposits can be inherited or acquired. Direct intratumoral injections of iron-deficiency agents (ceramic needles) are needed when tumors/metastases cannot be removed with surgery (ceramic blades); cancers can be treated with iron-deficiency therapy (special diets, blood donations) http://www.medica...s/185755

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