A large study found that eating nuts or peanuts several times a week is associated with lower death rates, especially from cardiovascular disease. Note that a serving is a small handful or 1.5 ounces of whole nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter.
If you're looking for a simple way to lower your risk of dying from a heart attack, consider going nuts. Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute examined the association of peanut and nut consumption with mortality among low-income and racially diverse populations and found that intake of peanuts was associated with fewer deaths, especially from heart disease.
"Nuts are rich in nutrients, such as unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, phenolic antioxidants, arginine and other phytochemicals. All of them are known to be beneficial to cardiovascular health, probably through their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and endothelial function maintenance properties," Shu said.
While research has previously linked nut consumption with lower mortality, those studies focused mainly on higher-income, white populations. This study was the first to discover that all races -- blacks, whites and Asians alike -- could potentially increase heart health by eating nuts and peanuts.
This study was based on three large ongoing cohort studies. Participants included more than 70,000 Americans of African and European descent from the Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS), who were mostly low-income, and more than 130,000 Chinese from the Shanghai Women's Health Study (SWHS) and the Shanghai Men's Health Study (SMHS).... In total, more than 14,000 deaths were identified, with a median follow-up of 5.4 years in the SCCS, 6.5 years in the SMHS, and 12.2 years in the SWHS.
Peanut consumption was associated with decreased total mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality (i.e., 17-21 percent reduction in total mortality, and 23-38 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality for the highest quartile intake group compared to the lowest quartile group) across all three racial/ethnic groups, among both men and women, and among individuals from low-SES groups.
The American Heart Association recommends eating four servings of unsalted, unoiled nuts a week. However, nutrient-rich nuts are also high in calories, so don't eat too many if you're watching your weight. A serving size is a small handful or 1.5 ounces of whole nuts or 2 tablespoons of nut butter.