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The Association between Peanut and Peanut Butter Consumption and Cognitive Function among Community-Dwelling Older Adults



Many studies have focused on the association between diet and cognitive function. While a subset of these studies focused on a diet that includes tree nuts (TN), there is limited data on the association between peanut and peanut butter consumption (P/PB) and cognitive health.


This study investigated the association of P/PB consumption and cognitive function.


This was a cross-sectional study using 2011–2014 NHANES data.


Individuals 60–80 years old in 2011–2014 NHANES who had two 24-hour dietary recalls, cognitive function tests, and education level and with no history of stroke.


P/PB and TN consumption was measured as well as participant performance on the CERAD Word Learning subtest (CERAD W-L), Animal Fluency test (AFT), and the Digit Symbol Substitution test (DSST). Scores from the three cognitive tests were dichotomized. Individuals were classified as either P/PB consumers or non-consumers and TN consumers or non-consumers. Logistic regression models examined associations between P/PB consumption, tree nut consumption, and cognitive function with adjusted models including age, sex, and education as covariates.


A total of 2,454 adults, aged 60–80 years old (mean age=69.4) participated. Approximately half were male (48%), 18% were P/PB consumers, and 14% consumed TN. Participants who did not consume P/PB were more likely to do poorly on the CERAD W-L (adjusted OR=1.56, 95% CI 1.24–1.97; p<0.05), AFT (adjusted OR=1.29, 95% CI 1.03–1.61; p<0.05), and DSST (adjusted OR=1.43, 95% CI 1.12–1.82; p<0.05) when compared to those who did consume P/PB.


These findings suggest an association between P/PB consumption and cognitive function; however, this is a cross sectional study and a causal relationship cannot be established. More studies are needed to determine causality.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth W. Katzman.

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Conflicts of Interest: E.K. and S.J.N. report no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Statement: This study complies with current laws of the country in which it was performed.

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Disclaimer Statements: This study was funded by The Peanut Institute. E.K. and S.J.N. report no conflicts of interest.

How to cite this article: E.W. Katzman, S.J. Nielsen. The Association between Peanut and Peanut Butter Consumption and Cognitive Function among Community-Dwelling Older Adults’. J Prev Alz Dis 2021;

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Katzman, E.W., Nielsen, S.J. The Association between Peanut and Peanut Butter Consumption and Cognitive Function among Community-Dwelling Older Adults. J Prev Alzheimers Dis 8, 436–441 (2021).

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Key words

  • Peanuts
  • peanut butter
  • cognitive function
  • diet