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Principal Investigator
Jiaqi Huang
National Cancer Institute
Position Title
Visiting Fellow
About this CDAS Project
PLCO (Learn more about this study)
Project ID
Initial CDAS Request Approval
Aug 5, 2020
Associations between Dietary Plant Seed Consumption and Overall and Cause-Specific Mortality Risk
Plant seeds are composed of substantial quantities of bioactive nutrients including minerals, vitamins, phytosterols, polyphenols, and other phytochemicals that prevent DNA oxidative damage and maintain germinal viability.1 Specifically, the seed endosperms are rich in high-quality protein, carbohydrates and fats to support future seedlings, with the complex proportions being based on the species of the seed.1,2 In addition, the edible seeds including grains, nuts, legumes, cocoa products and coffee beans, and their nutritive macro- and micronutrient components provide not only considerable dietary energy (except for coffee as a beverage) but also a wide spectrum of bioactive molecular species that may favorably influence human health.1-3 Although higher intakes of some plant seeds such as whole grains, nuts, and coffee have been associated with lower risk of overall and cardiovascular disease mortality,4-9 total plant seed consumption likely represents more diverse and complex biochemical compositions and different nutritional profiles that may confer long-term human health benefits.
To our knowledge, an integrated analysis of long-term associations between total plant seed consumption and overall mortality is lacking. Because investigation of total and cause-specific mortality would be informative for elucidation of the role of total plant seed in overall health, we propose to comprehensively examine the associations between total plant seed consumption and risk of overall and cause-specific mortality. We will further address the associations across key population subgroups.
Key references
1. Ros E, Hu FB. Consumption of plant seeds and cardiovascular health: epidemiological and clinical trial evidence. Circulation. 2013;128(5):553-565.
2. Hunter JE, Zhang J, Kris-Etherton PM. Cardiovascular disease risk of dietary stearic acid compared with trans, other saturated, and unsaturated fatty acids: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010;91(1):46-63.
3. Othman RA, Moghadasian MH. Beyond cholesterol-lowering effects of plant sterols: clinical and experimental evidence of anti-inflammatory properties. Nutr Rev. 2011;69(7):371-382.
4. Freedman ND, Park Y, Abnet CC, Hollenbeck AR, Sinha R. Association of coffee drinking with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med. 2012;366(20):1891-1904.
5. Huang T, Xu M, Lee A, Cho S, Qi L. Consumption of whole grains and cereal fiber and total and cause-specific mortality: prospective analysis of 367,442 individuals. BMC Med. 2015;13:59.
6. Becerra-Tomas N, Paz-Graniel I, C WCK, et al. Nut consumption and incidence of cardiovascular diseases and cardiovascular disease mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Nutr Rev. 2019;77(10):691-709.
7. Amba V, Murphy G, Etemadi A, Wang S, Abnet CC, Hashemian M. Nut and Peanut Butter Consumption and Mortality in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study. Nutrients. 2019;11(7).
8. Liu G, Guasch-Ferre M, Hu Y, et al. Nut Consumption in Relation to Cardiovascular Disease Incidence and Mortality Among Patients With Diabetes Mellitus. Circ Res. 2019;124(6):920-929.
9. Bao Y, Han J, Hu FB, et al. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J Med. 2013;369(21):2001-2011.

1. To evaluate the associations between total plant seed consumption and overall and cause-specific mortality.
2. To investigate the associations between total plant seed consumption and overall and cause-specific mortality across key population subgroups.
3. To examine whether the total plant seed consumption is related to life expectancy


Demetrius Albanes, Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, DCEG, NCI, NIH
Stephanie J. Weinstein, Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, DCEG, NCI, NIH