Half a handful of nuts, peanuts daily the optimum amount to consume
To reach their findings, the researchers assessed data from more than 120,000 men and women aged 55-69 from the Netherlands, who were part of the Netherlands Cohort Study.
All participants were asked how often they consumed peanuts, nuts and peanut butter and in what quantities. They then assessed the link between intake of these foods and cause-specific mortality among participants since 1986, when the study began.
The study results revealed that participants who consumed around 15 grams of nuts or peanuts every day – the equivalent to half a handful – were at lower risk of death from numerous diseases, including cancer, diabetes, respiratory disease, heart disease and neurodegenerative disease, compared with participants who did not consume nuts or peanuts.
Reductions in mortality with peanut and nut consumption was strongest for respiratory and neurodegenerative disease, and the results were equal between men and women.
Peanut butter consumption was found to have no effect on mortality among participants. The team says this could be because peanut butter contains salt, vegetable oil and trans fatty acids, which may counteract the healthy benefits of peanuts.
The researchers also found that eating more than 15 grams of nuts daily did not lead to a further reduction in mortality risk among participants. This finding is in line with many previous studies investigating nut consumption, according to the team, which have found cancer and respiratory mortality does not reduce with increasing nut intake.
Numerous studies have hailed the benefits of nuts consumed alongside a Mediterranean diet. Last month, MNT reported on research published in JAMA Internal Medicine finding that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra nuts or olive oil could protect cognitive functioning in older adults, while a study published in October 2014 suggested the same diet could reverse metabolic syndrome.
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