Changes in Nut Consumption and Subsequent Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among US Men and Women: 3 Large Prospective Cohort Studies

J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Apr 7;9(7):e013877. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.013877. Epub 2020 Apr 1.


Background We aim to evaluate the association of within-individual changes in consumption of total and specific types of nuts and the subsequent risk of incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) in US men and women. Methods and Results We included 34 103 men from the HPFS (Health Professionals Follow-Up Study) (1986-2012), 77 815 women from the NHS (Nurses' Health Study) (1986-2012), and 80 737 women from the NHS II (1991-2013). We assessed nut consumption every 4 years using validated food frequency questionnaires. We used multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models to examine the association between 4-year changes in nut consumption and risk of confirmed CVD end points in the subsequent 4 years. Per 0.5 serving/day increase in total nut consumption was associated with lower risk of CVD (relative risk [RR], 0.92; 95% CI, 0.86-0.98), coronary heart disease (RR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.89-0.99), and stroke (RR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.83-0.95). Compared with individuals who remained nonconsumers in a 4-year interval, those who had higher consumption of total nuts (≥0.5 servings/day) had a lower risk of CVD (RR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.67-0.84), coronary heart disease (RR, 0.80; 95% CI, 0.69-0.93), and stroke (RR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.57-0.82) in next 4 years. Individuals who decreased nut consumption by ≥0.50 servings/day had a higher risk of developing CVD (RR, 1.14; 95% CI, 0.99-1.32), coronary heart disease (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.88-1.28), and stroke (RR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.02-1.60) when compared with those who maintained their nut consumption. Conclusions Increasing total consumption of nuts and intake of individual types of nuts (eg, walnuts, other tree nuts, and peanuts) was associated with a subsequent lower risk of CVD. These data support the role of nut intake in the primary prevention of CVD. Registration URL: http://www.clini​caltr​ Unique identifiers: NCT00005152 and NCT00005182.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; cohorts; nuts; peanuts; prevention; stroke.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Healthy / trends*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Nuts*
  • Primary Prevention*
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Reduction Behavior*
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology

Associated data