Legume consumption and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality in the PREDIMED study

Clin Nutr. 2019 Feb;38(1):348-356. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2017.12.019. Epub 2018 Jan 9.


Background & aims: Limited prospective studies have examined the association between legumes consumption and mortality, whereas scarce, if at all, previous studies have evaluated such associations taking into consideration specific grain legumes. We aimed to investigate the association between total legumes consumption and grain legumes species (dry beans, chickpeas, lentils, and fresh peas) with all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and other-cause mortality among elderly Mediterranean individuals at high CVD risk.

Methods: We prospectively assessed 7216 participants from the PREvención con DIeta MEDiterránea study. Dietary intake was assessed at baseline and yearly during follow-up by using a validated food frequency questionnaire.

Results: During a median follow-up of 6.0 years, 425 total deaths, 103 CVD deaths, 169 cancer deaths and 153 due to other-causes deaths occurred. Hazard ratios (HRs) [95% confidence interval (CI)] of CVD mortality were 1.52 (1.02-2.89) (P-trend = 0.034) and 2.23 (1.32-3.78) (P-trend = 0.002) for the 3rd tertile of total legumes and dry beans consumption, respectively, compared with the 1st tertile. When comparing extreme tertiles, higher total legumes and lentils consumption was associated with 49% (HR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.31-0.84; P-trend = 0.009) and 37% (HR: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.40-0.98; P-trend = 0.049) lower risk of cancer mortality. Similar associations were observed for CVD death in males and for cancer death in males, obese and diabetic participants.

Conclusions: These findings support the benefits of legumes consumption for cancer mortality prevention which may be counterbalanced by their higher risk for CVD mortality.

Trial registration: The trial is registered at http://www.controlled-trials.com (ISRCTN35739639). Registration date: 5th October 2005.

Keywords: Cancer; Cardiovascular; Legumes; Mortality; PREDIMED.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Fabaceae*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN35739639