Heart failure is highly prevalent among older adults and is associated with high cost and societal burden. While previous studies have reported beneficial effects of dietary factors on heart failure predictors, no previous study has examined whether frequent consumption of nuts is associated with a lower risk of heart failure in a large prospective cohort.
To examine the association between nut consumption and incident heart failure and determine whether such relation is modified by overweight/obesity.
Prospective cohort study of 20,976 participants from the Physicians’ Health Study I. Nut consumption was assessed using a simple abbreviated food questionnaire and self-reported heart failure was ascertained by follow-up questionnaires. We used Cox regression to estimate relative risks of heart failure.
After an average follow-up of 19.6 years, 1,093 new cases of heart failure occurred. Nut consumption was not associated with the risk of developing heart failure in this cohort: multivariable adjusted hazard ratios (95% CI) were 1.0 (reference), 0.98 (0.83–1.15), 1.06 (0.89–1.27), and 1.014–1.22) for nut consumption of <1, 1, and 2+ servings per week, respectively (p for linear trend 0.64). The lack of a meaningful relation between nut intake and incident heart failure was seen in both lean and overweight/obese people (p for interaction 0.96).
Our data do not provide evidence for an association between nut consumption and incident heart failure in US male physicians. However, our data cannot rule out possible benefits of nut consumption on subtypes of heart failure not prevalent in this cohort.
Keywords: Diet, epidemiology, heart failure, nut consumption