eating nuts prevents kidney disease and death from any cause

Nuts just can’t shake their reputation for being fattening. And that’s nuts! Because they’re not, and the misconception prevents people from enjoying them and their multitude of health benefits. And now there’s a new benefit: preventing kidney disease.

Still think nuts are fattening? A massive recent study of 126,190 American men and women found that a serving a day of any kind of nut or peanut was associated with less risk of weight gain or of becoming obese. 

That’s double good news. Because not only are nuts not fattening, they’re great for you. Eating nuts reduces the risk of several diseases, including metabolic syndrome (Nutrients. 2021 Oct 30;13(11)), coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer as well as reducing the risk of dying from respiratory disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and kidney disease (BMC Medicine 2016;14:207).

A new study has picked up on that last finding. Can nuts really protect against kidney disease?

Worldwide, kidney disease has increased by 29.3% since 1990. That’s a big problem because if chronic kidney disease progresses to end-stage renal disease, it can be fatal. So, preventing it in the first place or at least preventing its progression is an important goal. Nuts could help.

The new study included 6,072 people. And it found that the ones who at nuts 1-6 times a week had between a significant 33% and 47% lower risk of chronic kidney disease.

But that’s not all. In people who did not have chronic kidney disease, death from any cause during the study went down by 40% if they ate nuts 1-6 times a week. It went down by 75% in those who ate nuts more than once a day. Death from cardiovascular disease went down by 57%-66%.

The same was true, but to a lesser extent, for people with kidney disease. Eating nuts 1-6 times a week significantly lowered the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or from any cause during the study.

This study is not alone in finding that eating nuts can help you live longer by lowering your risk of dying from several diseases. A massive 2018 review of meta-analyses found that people who eat the most nuts have a 15-23% lower risk of dying from any disease, including cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and stroke (Nutrients 2018;10(12):1935).

Am J Nephrol 2022;53:503–512

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