Ellsworth, J.L., L.H. Kushi and A.R. Folsom, 2001. Frequent nut intake and risk of death from coronary heart disease and all causes in postmenopausal women: The Iowa Women’s Health Study. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 11:372-7.
BACKGROUND AND AIM: Recent epidemiological studies suggest that there is an inverse association between the frequent consumption of nuts and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), and clinical investigations suggest that diets high in nuts may reduce serum cholesterol levels. This study assessed whether the risk of death due to CHD and all causes is reduced in postmenopausal women who frequently consume nuts. METHODS AND RESULTS: In 1986, 34,111 postmenopausal women with no known cardiovascular disease reported the frequency of their consumption of nuts and other foods, as well as other CHD risk factors. During approximately 12 years of follow-up, 3726 women died, 657 from CHD. After adjustment for multiple risk factors for CHD and dietary variables, there was an inverse but not statistically significant association between frequent nut consumption (two or more 28.5 g servings per week compared with less than one serving per month) and death from CHD (relative risk 0.81; 95% confidence interval: 0.60-1.11). There was also a weak inverse association between frequent nut intake and all-cause mortality (relative risk 0.88; 95% confidence interval: 0.77-0.99, p for trend = 0.047). CONCLUSIONS: Frequent nut consumption may offer postmenopausal women modest protection against the risk of death from all causes and CHD.