Study: Peanuts, Tree Nuts Extend Lives

(Rafa Samano/Cover/Getty Images)
(Rafa Samano/Cover/Getty Images)

Peanuts may help people live longer, a new study finds.

Researchers found that people who ate peanuts and tree nuts every day had a lower risk of dying over a five or six-year period than people who ate fewer peanuts or none at all.

“We showed that peanuts have similar cardiovascular benefits to tree nuts,” Dr. Siao-Ou Shu, a professor of medicine in the division of epidemiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, and a researcher in this study, told LiveScience.

According to the study, consuming nuts and peanuts were linked with fewer overall deaths as well as fewer deaths from heart-related problems.

“If people are not allergic to them, they should consider eating more peanuts for their heart-health benefits because they are cheaper and more affordable than other nuts,” Shu told LiveScience.

Shu said that peanuts have similar nutrients to nuts even though they are considered legumes.

Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, have been widely promoted as heart-smart foods. Previous evidence has found that nut consumption is linked to lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease in Caucasian people of European ancestry, and those of higher economic status.

In this study, researchers analyzed data from food questionnaires collected from over 70,000 Americans between the ages of 40 and 79 who were of African and European descent. The participants all lived in the southeastern part of the U.S. The researchers then followed up with the participants for 5-and-a-half years.

The researchers also had a second group. In this group, researchers analyzed data from more than 134,000 Chinese men and women between the ages 40 and 74 who lived in Shanghai. They provided the researchers information on their eating habits. The researchers followed up with this group for about 6-and-a-half years.

The researchers found in the U.S. group that people who had the most peanuts were 21 percent less likely to die during the time of the study.

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