Are Nuts and Peanuts the Secret to a Longer Life?

Being a nut or a peanut must be a tricky business: on the one hand, you're the cause of some serious food allergies, and on the other hand, according to a 2015 study, you may save lives. The study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, found a link between nut and peanut consumption and lower mortality. It included diet and lifestyle data taken from the Netherlands Cohort Study, which included 120,852 participants aged 55 to 69—the data included information on nut and peanut consumption, among other things. Researchers then analyzed mortality rates and causes of death for the participants for the following ten years. Here’s what they found:

  • People eating at least 10 grams of nuts or peanuts per day (a little less than half a handful) had a lower risk of all-cause mortality, as well as a lower risk of specific illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases compared with people with a lower intake.
  • The above results were found to be true for all tree nuts and peanuts—but not for peanut butter. This could be due to the fact that peanut butter contains other ingredients, such as salt and vegetable oil, which could cancel out the protective effects of peanuts.

This study joins previous research linking nuts and peanuts to lower mortality; more importantly, though, this study is the first to investigate how nut and peanut consumption is related to specific causes of death other than cardiovascular disease. However, the study was observational and so only showed an association between nut and peanut consumption and mortality risk. More research is needed to confirm whether these foods do in fact reduce the risk of death.

Source: International Journal of Epidemiology

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