Daily Nut Consumption Reduces Risk of Peripheral Arterial Disease

Consumption of nuts has been linked to many health benefits, including benefits to memory, appetite, and cardiovascular health.

Photo by Flickr user  Iain Buchanan (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaeden/111015656)
Photo by Flickr user Iain Buchanan (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaeden/111015656)

Part of the Mediterranean diet, nuts are considered an important part of daily consumption, and is frequently recommended to those without specific allergies.

A new study in the journal Preventative Medicine has examined the effect of nut consumption on. peripheral arterial disease. While nut consumption is linked to lower risk of certain cardiovascular diseases, the association with the specific cardiovascular disease, peripheral arterial disease, is unknown.

This study followed 3,312,403 Americans between 2003 and 2008 who had voluntarily undergone vascular screening tests. Average age was 63.6 +/- 10.6 years, with 62.8% of participants being women, and 86.2% being white.

Nut consumption, diet, and other lifestyle habits were determined for each participant using self-reported questionnaires.

Diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease for participants was determined using systolic blood pressure measurements in both ankles.

Hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and hypertension were determined by physician diagnosis.

Important Findings:

  • Out of 3,312,403 participants, there were 219,527 cases of peripheral arterial disease (6.7%).
  • About half of the study population ate nuts fewer than once per week.
  • There was a negative association between nut consumption and presence of peripheral arterial disease.
  • Daily nut consumption was associated with 21% lower odds of developing peripheral arterial disease compared with folks consuming nuts less than once per month.

The results of this study suggest that nut consumption reduces the risk of peripheral arterial disease. Specifically, eating nuts every day lowered the risk of developing peripheral arterial disease by 21%

Photo by Flickr user  Gilles Gonthier (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gillesgonthier/507725888/)
Photo by Flickr user Gilles Gonthier (https://www.flickr.com/photos/gillesgonthier/507725888/)

compared with people who ate nuts less than once per month.

The huge sample size in this study strengthens the results, though the self-reporting nature of these kinds of lifestyle questions could skew the results slightly. Regardless, these results show promise that a daily nut regime might help reduce the risk of peripheral arterial disease.


Heffron, S.P., Rockman, C.B., Gianos, E., Guo, Y., and Berger, J.S. 2015. Greater frequency of nut consumption is associated with lower prevalence of peripheral arterial disease. Preventative Medicine 72: 15-18.