A paper published in the International Journal of Epidemiology confirms a link between peanut and nut intake and lower mortality rates. 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, the researchers found.
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. While substantially lower mortality was 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 mortality risk.
Peanuts and tree nuts 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 mortality risk. However, besides peanuts, peanut butter contains also added components like salt and vegetable oils. In the past, it has been shown that peanut butter contains trans fatty acids and therefore the composition of peanut butter is different from peanuts. The adverse health effects of salt and trans fatty acids could inhibit the protective effects of peanuts.
Based on material originally posted by Oxford University Press.