People who eat at least 10 grams of nuts or peanuts daily have a lower risk of dying from several major causes of death than those who don't consume nuts or peanuts, a new study has claimed.
The reduction in mortality was strongest for respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease, and diabetes, followed by cancer and cardiovascular diseases, according to researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
Peanuts show at least as strong reductions in mortality as tree nuts, but peanut butter is not associated with lower mortality, researchers said.
The study was carried out within the Netherlands Cohort Study, which has been running since 1986 among over 120,000 Dutch old men and women, ages 55 to 69.
Nut consumption was assessed by asking about portion size and frequency of intake of peanuts, tree nuts, and peanut butter.
The researchers analysed the relationship with overall and cause-specific mortality since 1986.
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, researchers said.
However, the new study also found that mortality due to cancer, diabetes, respiratory, and neurodegenerative diseases was lowered among users of peanuts and nuts.
"It was remarkable that substantially lower mortality was already observed at consumption levels of 15 grammes of nuts or peanuts on average per day (half a handful)," said Project leader and epidemiologist Professor Piet van den Brandt.
"A higher intake was not associated with further reduction in mortality risk," van den Brandt said.
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, researchers said.
The study was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.