Can Eating Cashews Reduce Your Risk Of Early Death? What We Know

Depending on what you're snacking on, it may give you the advantage of a longer lifespan. This includes the small but mighty cashew nut. In 2016, cashew consumption (along with Brazil nuts, pine nuts, chestnuts, and mixed nuts) proved to be twice as high as it was roughly 50 years ago in 1970, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.

Cashew nuts are among the more nutritious snack options out there. 1 ounce of dry roasted, salt-free cashews provides us with 4.34 grams of protein, 160 milligrams of potassium, 139 milligrams of phosphorus, 73.7 milligrams of magnesium, and 12.8 milligrams of calcium (via USDA). Looking at cashews' nutritional value makes it easy to see the ways in which cashew nuts can support our health, but can they actually lower our risk of mortality?

Results of a 2013 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the more nuts people ate on a weekly basis, the less susceptible they were to total and all-cause mortality. In fact, those who ate nuts every day had a 20% lower risk of dying during the study's 30-year follow-up period. While these findings pertain to nuts in general, more recent studies have examined the specific relationship between cashews and early death risk.

Eating cashews may lower the risk of early death due to heart disease

Heart disease is responsible for approximately 1 in every 5 premature deaths for people ages 25 through 64, according to 2021 research published in Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the primary risk factors. Yet snacking on cashew nuts may help improve blood pressure levels, thereby reducing the risk of early death due to heart disease. A 2020 meta-analysis published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine that involved nearly 400 participants showed that systolic blood pressure measurements significantly dropped for participants who ate cashews compared to those who did not. While this was not found to be the case for diastolic blood pressure, an alternate 2019 systematic review did find a link between eating cashews and lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements.

Researchers from a 2019 meta-analysis took an in-depth look at whether nut consumption influenced mortality rates associated with specific causes of death. The study findings showed that nut intake (including cashews) reduced death due to cardiovascular disease by anywhere between 19% and 25%, coronary heart disease mortality by 24% to 30%, and death from stroke by anywhere between 17% and 18%.

Opt for unsalted or unsweetened cashews to best support longevity

It appears that snacking on a handful of cashew nuts may be one of many components of living a long and healthy life. While Mayo Clinic experts suggest that adults consume four to six servings of nuts weekly, you'll want to make sure they're not salted or sweetened, as these additives can negatively impact our heart health. You're also better off opting for dry-roasted or raw nuts as opposed to those that have been fried.

The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) states that data has shown approximately 48% of premature deaths in the United States are preventable. Causes of death examined between 1990 and 2010 ranged from those related to alcohol, infection, motor vehicle accidents, and more. Although premature death rates had improved in almost all categories since 1990, diet and a lack of physical activity comprised the one category in which early death rates had grown since 1990. These findings further reinforce the importance of a healthy diet and regular exercise when it comes to lowering our risk of mortality.