Depression was less likely in participants who ate at least a handful of nuts per week

A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging set out to assess the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between nut consumption and depression in two cohorts of older adults.

The first cohort consisted of a representative sample of noninstitutionalized Spanish adults aged ≥65 years interviewed in 2010 and 2013. The second cohort consisted of individuals from the Madrid region aged ≥65 years interviewed in 2017 and 2019. Researchers estimated nut consumption using a validated computer-based diet history. Depression was defined as self-reported physician-diagnosed depression or the use of antidepressants.

For the first cohort, 2,278 individuals were included in the cross-sectional analysis and 1,534 in the longitudinal analysis; the corresponding figures for the second cohort were 2,726 and 1,566 individuals. A meta-analysis of results from both cohorts showed that, compared to people who consumed <1 serving (30 g) of nuts per week, those who consumed 1 to <3 servings or ≥3 servings per week were less likely to have depression. These findings support the recommendation of nuts as part of a healthy diet in older adults.

Fernández-Rodríguez, R., Ortolá, R., Martínez-Vizcaíno, V. et al. Nut Consumption and Depression: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analyses in Two Cohorts of Older Adults. Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, 27, 448–456 (2023).

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