Can legumes and fish help you delay menopause?
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.