Few handfuls of walnuts per week may increase longevity and lower death risk, study finds
Five or more walnuts per week may provide the greatest benefit for mortality risk and life expectancy, the study stated. USA: Higher consumption (both amount and frequency) of walnuts lowers the risk of death and increases life expectancy versus no consumption of walnuts, a recent study involving older adults in the US has found. The study, published in the journal Nutrients...
Five or more walnuts per week may provide the greatest benefit for mortality risk and life expectancy, the study stated.
USA: Higher consumption (both amount and frequency) of walnuts lowers the risk of death and increases life expectancy versus no consumption of walnuts, a recent study involving older adults in the US has found.
The study, published in the journal Nutrients was performed by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
"What we've learned from this study is that even a few handfuls of walnuts per week may help promote longevity, especially among those whose diet quality isn't great to begin with. It's a practical tip that can be feasible for a number of people who are looking to improve their health, which is top of mind for many people," said Yanping Li, Senior Research Scientist at the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and lead investigator of this research.
This study, supported by the California Walnut Commission, found that five or more walnuts per week (one serving = one ounce) may provide the greatest benefit for mortality risk and life expectancy. Eating five or more servings per week was associated with a 14% lower risk of death (from any cause), 25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases, and a gain in about 1.3 years of life expectancy, compared to those who didn't consume walnuts. Consuming walnuts two to four times per week could have its benefits, too, with the study finding a 13% lower risk of death overall, 14% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases, and a gain in about one year of life, compared to non-walnut consumers.
Interestingly, even among people with a suboptimal diet, as measured by a validated index based on foods and nutrients predictive of chronic disease risk, just a one-half serving per day increase in walnut consumption was associated with benefits, including 12% reduced risk of death and 26% lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, specifically.
For this study, researchers examined data from 67,014 women of the Nurses' Health Study with an average age of 63.6 years and 26,326 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study aged 63.3 years in 1986 (the first cycle collected data of walnut consumption in both cohorts). Participants were relatively healthy when they joined the studies (e.g., free of cancer, heart disease, and stroke) and were followed for about 20 years (1998-2018). Dietary intake was assessed every 4 years. Participants reported on their overall dietary intake - including how often they consumed walnuts, other tree nuts, and peanuts – and lifestyle factors like exercise and smoking status. Based on this data, the researchers were able to identify associations between walnut consumption at varying levels and different health indicators related to longevity.
As a prospective observational study, these results do not prove cause and effect, but they do shed light on how walnuts may support an overall healthy lifestyle that promotes longevity. Participants who consumed greater amounts of walnuts tended to be more physically active, have a healthier diet, lower alcohol consumption, and take multivitamins. All of these factors could influence life expectancy, however, the researchers adjusted for these aspects in their analysis. In addition, it's important to note that this data was collected before the current COVID-19 pandemic.
One ounce of walnuts is a powerhouse of important nutrients for optimum health, including protein (4g), fiber (2g), a good source of magnesium (45mg) and an excellent source of the essential omega-3 ALA (2.5g).
The study titled, "Association of Walnut Consumption with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality and Life Expectancy in U.S. Adults," is published in the journal Nutrients.
Medha, MSc. Biotechnology
Medha Baranwal joined Medical Dialogues as an Editor in 2018 for Speciality Medical Dialogues. She covers several medical specialties including Cardiac Sciences, Dentistry, Diabetes and Endo, Diagnostics, ENT, Gastroenterology, Neurosciences, and Radiology. She has completed her Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences from DU and then pursued Masters in Biotechnology from Amity University. She has a working experience of 5 years in the field of medical research writing, scientific writing, content writing, and content management. She can be contacted at email@example.com. Contact no. 011-43720751