According to a research published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, persons who frequently consume nuts, such as peanuts, walnuts, and tree nuts, had a decreased chance of getting cardiovascular illness or coronary heart disease than people who never or nearly never eat nuts. The study is the largest to date that examines the frequency of nut consumption in connection to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.
Dietary guidelines have recently changed toward diets that include more plant-based foods than animal-based foods, with most dietary patterns containing nuts due to their link with lower cardiovascular risk factors and unique nutritional composition.
While many previous studies focused on nut consumption in general, the researchers in this study looked specifically at the relationship between certain types of nuts — peanut butter, peanuts, walnuts, and tree nuts — and significant cardiovascular events. Peanuts were included, despite the fact that they are a legume, since they have a comparable fatty acid and nutritional profile to other nuts.
The study included approximately 210,000 participants, including women from the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II and men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, who were followed for up to 32 years. Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect information about medical history, lifestyle, and health problems in all three groups.
The study’s primary outcome was serious cardiovascular disease, which was defined as a combination of myocardial infarction, stroke, or fatal cardiovascular illness. Total coronary heart disease, defined as fatal or non-fatal myocardial infarction, and total stroke, which comprised all fatal and non-fatal strokes, were secondary endpoints. The researchers recorded 14,136 occurrences of cardiovascular illness, including 8,390 cases of coronary heart disease and 5,910 cases of stroke.
The researchers discovered an inverse relationship between total nut consumption and total cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. In addition, when individual nut intake was examined, eating walnuts one or more times per week was related with a 19% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. Participants who ate peanuts or tree nuts two or more times per week had a 13% and 15% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, respectively, and a 15% and 23% lower risk of coronary heart disease, respectively, as compared to those who never ate nuts.
Participants who ate five or more servings of nuts per week had a 14% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease than those who ate little or practically no nuts. When the consumption of tree nuts, peanuts, and walnuts was taken into consideration separately, the results were identical. Researchers discovered no evidence of a link between overall nut consumption and stroke risk, however consuming peanuts and walnuts was found to be inversely related to stroke risk. Peanut butter and tree nuts were not linked to an increased risk of stroke.
“Our findings support recommendations to increase the intake of a variety of nuts as part of healthy dietary patterns to reduce the risk of chronic disease in general populations,” said Marta Guasch-Ferre, PhD, lead author of the study and research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s department of nutrition.
“Ideally, more research should be conducted to assess the impact of long-term intake of nuts added into the standard diet on hard cardiometabolic events,” Ros stated. “In the meanwhile, raw nuts, preferably unpeeled and otherwise unprocessed, can be thought of as natural health capsules that can be readily included into any heart-protective diet to improve cardiovascular well-being and promote healthy aging.”
Story Source: American College of Cardiology