Until now, various studies have only been able to ascertain a reduction in mortality following diseases of the coronary blood vessels in individuals with a consistently higher consumption of nuts outside the Mediterranean region. A minor protective effect has also been surmised in respect of cancer mortality and total mortality.
This study aimed to investigate the correlation between the frequency of nut consumption and mortality in individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease. This time, the subjects came from Spain, a Mediterranean country with relatively high per capita nut consumption. A total of 7,216 men and women aged between 55 and 80 were divided into three study groups (control diet and two Mediterranean diets, supplemented either with nuts or with olive oil). Nut consumption was recorded at the beginning of the study, and mortality determined on the basis of medical documentation. After close to five years, the following deaths had occurred: 323 deaths overall, 81 attributed to cardiovascular disease and 130 to cancer. The consumption of nuts was linked to a significantly reduced risk of total mortality. In comparison with those who did not consume nuts, the subjects who consumed more than three portions of nuts per week were observed to demonstrate a risk of mortality that was 39 % lower – and thus the lowest of all. A similar protective effect also occurred specific to mortality attributed to cardiovascular disease and mortality attributed to cancer. The study suggests that increased consumption of nuts reduces the risk of mortality in inhabitants of the Mediterranean region at high risk of cardiovascular disease.
Guasch-Ferré M et al. (2013): Frequency of nut consumption and mortality risk in the PREDIMED nutrition intervention trial. BMC Medicine, 11:164.