Nuts have been linked to several benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, lower mortality and even brain health; however, despite the fact eating nuts have been associated with lower mortality, few studies have investigated causes of death other than cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Dutch researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center investigated the relationship of nut (tree nut, peanut) and peanut butter intake with overall and cause-specific mortality (Int. J. Epidemiol. June 11, 2015). In the Netherlands Cohort Study, 120,852 men and women aged 55 to 69 years provided information on dietary and lifestyle habits in 1986.
Total nut intake was related to lower overall and cause-specific mortality (cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, respiratory, neurodegenerative diseases and other causes) in men and women. When comparing those consuming 0.1 to less than 5g/d of nuts, 5 to less than 10 g/d and 10 g/d or more with non-consumers, multivariable hazard ratios for total mortality were 0.88, 0.74 and 0.77, respectively. Cause-specific hazard ratios comparing 10 g/d or more versus 0 g/d varied from 0.56 for neurodegenerative to 0.83 for CVD mortality. Peanuts and tree nuts were inversely related to mortality, whereas peanut butter was not. In meta-analyses, summary hazard ratios for highest versus lowest nut consumption were 0.85 for cancer and 0.71 for respiratory mortality.
They concluded nut intake was related to lower overall and cause-specific mortality, with evidence for nonlinear dose-response relationships. Peanut butter was not related to mortality.
Nuts have evolved into so much more than just a bar snack; they are a great snack, indeed, but they go beyond simple trail mixes for athletes and a free snack for happy-hour goers. Nuts married chocolate long ago but that union is now reinventing itself in the form of nutrition bars; or, what about cereal? Cereal has also reimagined this tasty, nutrition-packed duo: chocolate granola and nuts, for example. Loaves of bread tout nuts and seeds in their slices, too. These are only a few examples of pairing and flavor pairs, but I think you get the point.