Increasing nut consumption has been associated with reduced risk of major chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, the association between nut consumption and mortality remains unclear.
We examined the association of nut consumption with subsequent total and cause-specific mortality among 76,464 women in the Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2010) and 42,498 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2010). Participants with a previous history of cancer, heart disease, or stroke were excluded. Nut consumption was assessed at baseline and updated every 2 to 4 years.
During 3,038,853 person-years of follow-up, 16,200 women and 11,229 men died. Nut consumption was inversely associated with total mortality in both women and men, after adjusting for other known or suspected risk factors. Compared to participants who abstained from nuts, the pooled multivariate hazard ratios for death for nut consumers were: 0.93 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.90 to 0.96) for less than once per week, 0.89 (95% CI, 0.86 to 0.93) for once per week, 0.87 (95% CI, 0.83 to 0.90) for 2 to 4 times per week, 0.85 (95% CI, 0.79 to 0.91) for 5 to 6 times per week, and 0.80 (95% CI, 0.73 to 0.86) for 7 or more times per week (P<0.001 for trend). Significant inverse associations were also observed for deaths due to cancer, heart disease, and respiratory disease.
Increasing nut consumption is associated with reduced total and cause-specific mortality, independent of other predictors for death.