Eating peanuts regularly could be an extremely cost-effective method to stave off heart disease and death, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The research is particularly significant because the study focused on 71,746 white and black American citizens of low socioeconomic status (SES), and 134,265 Chinese men and women living in Shanghai.
Previous studies, which have also supported the role of nut consumption with reduced rates of death, focused primarily on people of European descent, the majority of whom were of high socioeconomic status.
This time, researchers found that across all these ethnic groups, and among those of low SES, regular nut consumption — primarily peanuts, but also including tree nuts — was successfully linked with “decreased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality.” Moreover, “consumption of nuts, particularly peanuts given their general affordability, may be considered a cost-effective measure to improve cardiovascular health.”
In the American study, the group with the highest level of nut consumption had a 21 percent lower risk of death, and in the Chinese study, the corresponding group had a 17 percent lower risk of death.
“This is an observational study and there could be confounding factors,” the paper’s senior author, Dr. Xiao-Ou Shu, told the New York Times. “But from our study and previous studies, the evidence is quite strong that peanuts are beneficial to heart health.”