Can intake of nuts and seeds lower death risk?

01/5Link between nuts, seeds and lower risk of death

A lot of people have this misconception that in order to lead a healthy lifestyle or in order to lose weight one needs to eliminate all types of fats from the diet. Let us burst this bubble of myth right away. Fats are as essential for our body as any other nutrient. Food items like nuts, seeds and plant oils provide the essential fatty acids to the body and if consumed in moderation, they can provide a number of benefits.

A study published in the journal ‘The BMJ’ adds to evidence of the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. According to the study, a high intake of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – found mainly in nuts, seeds, and plant oils – is associated with a lower risk of death from all causes, and specifically from diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

Higher ALA intake was associated with a slightly higher risk of death from cancer, but the researchers say further studies are needed to confirm this. (image credits- istock)READMORE

02/5​What is ALA?

Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid found in plants, such as soybean, nuts, canola oils and flaxseed.

Previous studies have shown that a high ALA intake is associated with a lower risk of fatal coronary heart disease, but findings from other studies on ALA and the risk of death have been inconclusive.

To address this uncertainty, an international team of researchers analysed the results of 41 studies published between 1991 and 2021 on the associations between ALA and risk of death from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Together, these studies involved around 120,000 participants aged between 18 and 98 years who were monitored for between two and 32 years, and they accounted for factors such as age, weight, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and physical activity. (image credits- istock)READMORE

03/5​Details of the study

After thoroughly assessing each study for bias, the researchers found that a high intake of ALA was associated with a 10%, 8%, and 11% lower risk of mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and coronary heart disease, respectively.

This is equivalent to 113 fewer deaths per 10,000 people per year for all causes, 33 fewer cardiovascular disease deaths, and 23 fewer coronary heart disease deaths.

A higher intake of ALA, however, was associated with a slightly higher risk of cancer mortality, equivalent to 63 extra cancer deaths for the highest compared with the lowest levels of ALA intake. (image credits- istock)

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