Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Rx Nutrition Resource Center

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
September 15, 2021
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Peanut consumption linked to lower stroke risk in Asian individuals

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.
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In a cohort of Japanese men and women, higher peanut consumption decreased risk for total and ischemic stroke, as well as CVD, but not ischemic heart disease, according to results of the Japan Public Health Center study.

“We showed for the first time a reduced risk for ischemic stroke incidence associated with higher peanut consumption in an Asian population,” Satoyo Ikehara, PhD, specially appointed associate professor of public health in the department of social medicine at the Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine in Suita, Japan, said in a press release. “The beneficial effect of peanut consumption on risk of stroke, especially ischemic stroke, was found, despite the small quantity of peanuts eaten by study participants.”

Infographic showing the effects of greater peanut comsumption on risk for stroke and CVD.
In a cohort of Japanese men and women, higher peanut consumption decreased risk for total and ischemic stroke, as well as CVD, but not ischemic heart disease. Data were derived from Ikehara S, et al. Stroke. 2021;doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.031212.

The Japan Public Health Center (JPHC) prospective study featured data from 74,793 Japanese men and women (aged 45 to 74 years) who completed a lifestyle questionnaire, including the validated food frequency questionnaire, which determined peanut consumption. Participants were followed from 1995 to 2009 in the first cohort, which covered areas of five public health centers, and from 1998-1999 to 2012 in the second cohort, which covered areas of six public health centers.

Incidence of stroke, ischemic heart disease and CVD, defined as stroke and ischemic heart disease, served as outcome measures.

Stroke, CVD reduced

During a median follow-up of 14.8 years, researchers reported 3,599 strokes and 849 ischemic heart disease cases. The average participant consumed about 1.5 peanuts per day, with consumption ranging from zero peanuts per day in the lowest quartile to 4.3 peanuts per day in the highest.

Results revealed that higher peanut consumption yielded reductions in risks for total stroke, ischemic stroke and CVD among men and women.

Specifically, compared with participants in the lowest quartile of peanut consumption, those in the highest quartile had multivariable HRs of 0.84 (95% CI, 0.77-0.93; P = .002) for total stroke, 0.8 (95% CI, 0.71-0.9; P = .002) for ischemic stroke and 0.87 (95% CI, 0.8-0.94; P = .004) for CVD. Risk for hemorrhagic stroke (HR = 0.93; 95% CI, 0.79-1.08; P = .27) and ischemic heart disease (HR = 0.97; 0.8-1.17; P = .81) did not significantly differ between the highest and lowest quartiles of peanut consumption.

Associations were comparable between sexes.

“The habit of eating peanuts and tree nuts is still not common in Asian countries,” Ikehara said in the release. “However, adding even a small amount to one’s diet could be a simple yet effective approach to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

Peanuts as ‘isocaloric replacements’

In an accompanying editorial, Walter N. Kernan, MD, of Yale School of Medicine, posited that the beneficial effect observed with the small number of peanuts consumed may be amplified by “isocaloric replacements.”

“People who eat peanuts may eat them as part of an overall healthy diet pattern in which peanuts replace less healthy foods,” Kernan wrote. “Replacement of red meat with other dietary sources of protein has been associated with reduced risk for stroke.”

He noted that conducting a definitive phase 3 diet trial in individual patients with stroke would be a challenge.

“If trials confirm a treatment effect on hard endpoints, however, lifestyle treatment facilities might finally enter the fabric of health care, funded as fully as surgical suites, pharmacies and imaging centers,” Kernan wrote. “I predict that many would serve peanuts at check-in.”

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