Background & aims: Hypertension is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and dietary factors may play an important role in its prevention. We sought to examine the association between nut consumption and incident hypertension.
Methods: Prospective cohort of 15,966 participants from the Physicians' Health Study I who were free of hypertension at baseline. Nut consumption was assessed using a simple abbreviated food questionnaire and hypertension was self-reported. We used Cox regression to estimate relative risks of hypertension according to nut consumption.
Results: During 237,585 person-years of follow up, 8,423 new cases of hypertension occurred. Compared to subjects who did not consume nuts, multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) for hypertension were 0.97 (0.91-1.03), 0.98 (0.92-1.05), 0.96 (0.89-1.03), and 0.82 (0.71-0.94) for nut consumption of 1-2 times per month and 1, 2-6, and > or = 7 times/week, respectively. In a secondary analysis stratified by body mass index, there was an inverse relation between nut intake and hypertension in lean subjects (p for trend 0.0019) but not in overweight or obese subjects (p for interaction 0.0037).
Conclusion: Our data suggest that nut consumption is associated with a lower risk of hypertension in US male physicians and that such relation may be influenced by adiposity.