While past studies have highlighted the health benefits of eating nuts, new research has found that consuming the crunchy snack—as well as peanuts— may help the reduce risk of death from numerous illnesses including cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Nuts, like walnuts and almonds, grow on trees, while peanuts are considered legumes as they are edible seeds in pods.
They study, published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, analyzed data from more than 120,000 men and women from the Netherlands who were part of the Netherlands Cohort Study, Medical News Today reported. The participants were between ages 55 and 59.
Participants were asked how often then consumed nuts, peanuts and peanut butter and in what quantity, according to the report. Researchers then assessed the link between consumption and cause-specific mortality among participants since when the study began in 1986.
Results revealed that participants who consumed 15 grams of nuts or peanuts daily— about a half a handful— were at a lower risk of death from numerous diseases compared with participants who did not consume them. The link was strongest between peanut and nut consumption, and a reduced risk of mortality due to respiratory and neurodegenerative disease, Medical News Today reported.
The results were equal between men and women, and peanut butter consumption was found to have no effect on mortality. While peanuts and nuts are a good source of omega-3, fiber, vitamin E, antioxidants and “good” fats, peanut butter contains salt, vegetal oil and trans fatty acids.
Researchers also noted that eating more than 15 grams of nuts or peanuts did not further reduce the risk of mortality, Medical News Today reported. Nuts have previously been linked to reduced risk of blood clots, lower cholesterol and reduced risk of arrhythmia.