Should we go nuts about nuts?
Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich, Hirschengraben 84, 8001, Zurich, Switzerland
BMC Medicine 2013, 11:165 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-165Published: 16 July 2013
Since the beginning of the 1990s, increasing evidence supports beneficial effects of nut consumption on health. A new analysis of the Spanish PREDIMED trial, published in BMC Medicine, has expanded our knowledge. The study showed that individuals eating nuts more than three times per week died less often from cardiovascular disease and cancer than non-consumers. The study also adds an important finding that previous epidemiological studies could not provide: a protective effect on premature mortality was only seen in the intervention group in which nut consumption increased during the 4.8 years of follow-up, not in the intervention group with additional olive oil consumption or in the control group. Nut consumption actually decreased during follow-up in the latter two groups. Questions remain to be answered on the quantity of nuts to be consumed for health benefits, on possible mechanisms of action, and on whether some types of nuts should be favored.