Nut Consumption + Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

By: Mark Lange, PhD

Roughly 20 years ago, two studies were published that placed nuts in the spotlight as a heart-healthy food. Since then, the body of supporting research has continued to grow. A recent study sought to analyze the associations between the consumption of certain types of nuts and cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, and risk of stroke.

The Study:

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, collected data from over 210,000 people were pooled from the Nurses’ Health Study questionnaire. All participants were free of cancer, heart disease, and stroke. Their nut consumption was determined using food frequency questionnaires and was updated every 4 years.

The Results:

The researchers found that eating five or more servings of nuts a week is associated with a 14% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk of coronary heart disease, compared to those who do not consume nuts. More specifically, eating walnuts one or more times per week is associated with a 19% lower risk of CVD and 21% lower risk of CHD.  Those who ate peanuts or tree nuts two or more times per week saw nearly the same benefit.  However, no correlation to reduced risk was seen in those who consumed peanut butter.


What It Means:

The FDA approves of a qualified health claim for nuts, “scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.”



J. Am College of Cardio.  November 2017, Vol 70, Issue 20