Collaboration between researchers at Vanderbilt University in US and Shanghai Cancer Institute in China looked at the association of peanut and nut consumption with mortality among low-income and racially diverse populations. Researchers found that consumption of peanuts resulted in fewer deaths, especially from heart disease.
“Nuts are rich in nutrients, such as unsaturated fatty acids, fibre, vitamins, phenolic antioxidants, arginine and other phytochemicals,” said senior author Xiao-Ou Shu, associate director for Global Health at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Centre (VICC). “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.
Previous research on nut consumption linked to lower mortality looked at white populations with higher-income.
This study discovered that all races – blacks, whites, and Asians alike – could see impressive benefits in heart health by eating nuts and peanuts.
“In our study, we found that peanut consumption was associated with reduced total mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality in a predominantly low-income black and white population in the US, and among Chinese men and women living in Shanghai,” Shu said.
In the study, researchers involved 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).
Researchers looked at peanut consumption in relation to decreased total mortality, particularly cardiovascular mortality across all three racial/ethnic groups, both men and women.
An increase in peanut consumption will likely have a cost-efficient approach to improving heart health, as peanuts are much less expensive than tree nuts, as well as more widely available to people across socioeconomic spectrum.
“The data arise from observational epidemiologic studies, and not randomised clinical trials, and thus we cannot be sure that peanuts per se were responsible for the reduced mortality observed,” said William Blot, associate director for Cancer Prevention, Control and Population-based Research at VICC and a co-author of the study.
The study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.