Can legumes and fish help you de­lay menopause?

Weekly Trust - - Weekend Health - By Judd-Leonard Okafor

Adiet rich in legumes—beans, peas, and lentils—and fish may put off the nat­u­ral on­set of menopause, a new study sug­gests, while foods rich in car­bo­hy­drates may ac­cel­er­ate it.

A woman in menopause loses abil­ity to be­come preg­nant, but get­ting menopause pre­ma­ture (be­fore age 40) or early (age 40 to 45) has sev­eral com­pli­ca­tions.

A loss of bone den­sity, a higher risk of heart dis­ease, and a loss of sex­ual de­sire are only some of the con­se­quences of pre­ma­ture or early menopause.

Push­ing back your menopause to a later age, on the con­trary, might have some health ben­e­fits. One re­cent study sug­gests a late-on­set menopause might keep cog­ni­tive de­cline at bay in se­nior women.

Yashvee Dun­neram, a re­searcher at the School of Food Sci­ence and Nu­tri­tion at the Univer­sity of Leeds in the United King­dom, and his col­leagues stud­ied the link be­tween diet and menopause and pub­lished their find­ings in the Jour­nal of Epi­demi­ol­ogy & Com­mu­nity Health.

Dun­neram and col­leagues ex­am­ined the data avail­able from the UK Women’s Co­hort Study — a sur­vey of over 35,000 Bri­tish-based women aged be­tween 35 and 69.

Us­ing the data drawn from food fre­quency ques­tion­naires, the re­searchers were able to es­ti­mate the daily in­take of 217 food items that the par­tic­i­pants con­sumed.

Of all the women, 914 ex­pe­ri­enced menopause nat­u­rally be­tween the ages of 40 and 65.

On aver­age, the age at which the women got their menopause was 51, and the study found that cer­tain food items were linked with the tim­ing of this on­set.

Specif­i­cally, each por­tion of car­bo­hy­drates, such as pasta and rice, con­sumed per day cor­re­lated with ex­pe­ri­enc­ing menopause 1.5 years ear­lier.

By con­trast, for each daily por­tion of fish and fresh legumes, such as peas and beans, the de­lay in menopause on­set was of over 3 years. Ad­di­tion­ally, a higher daily con­sump­tion of vi­ta­min B-6 and zinc was also as­so­ci­ated with later menopause.

When com­par­ing veg­e­tar­i­ans with meat eaters, the re­searchers found that eat­ing meat was linked with a one-year de­lay in menopause on­set.

Among women who had not had any chil­dren, a higher in­take of grapes and poul­try was linked with later menopause. “Our find­ings con­firm that diet may be as­so­ci­ated with the age at nat­u­ral menopause. This may be rel­e­vant at a pub­lic health level since age at nat­u­ral menopause may have im­pli­ca­tions on fu­ture health out­comes,” Dun­neram.

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