Research has found out that it’s possible for a diet to delay menopause. Find out how what you could serve up (and what to avoid) to stave off menopause

A diet rich in oily fish and legumes may help to delay menopause.

On the other hand, a diet high in refined carbs, such as pasta and rice, may instead help to hasten it.

This is according to a new UK study which drew on data of more than 35 000 women.

The study participants provided information on their weight history, physical activity levels, reproductive history, and use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). They also completed a questionnaire on what they ate.

WIN a R 2,000 Woolworths Voucher

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Reaching menopause a year and half earlier

The study found that for each additional daily portion of refined carbs – specifically pasta and rice – was associated with reaching the menopause 1,5 years earlier.

Delaying menopause by more than three years

But each additional portion of oily fish and fresh legumes – like peas and beans – was associated with a delay of more than three years.

A higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc (per mg/day) were also associated with later menopause.

Eating meat was also associated with menopause arriving almost a year later than a vegetarian diet.

Among mothers, a higher intake of oily fish and fresh legumes was associated with later menopause, while eating more grapes and poultry was linked to a later menopause for childless women.

Related: Eat this to ward off early menopause

How eating oily fish and legumes delays menopause

Since a women’s egg maturation and release are adversely affected by reactive oxygen species, a high intake of legumes, which contain antioxidants, may counter this and preserve menstruation for longer, suggest the researchers.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are abundant in nuts, seeds, beans and oily fish, stimulate antioxidant capacity in the body.

How eating white pasta and white rice speeds up the onset of menopause

Refined carbs – like pasta – boosts the risk of insulin resistance. This can interfere with sex hormone activity and boost oestrogen levels, both of which might increase the number of menstrual cycles and deplete egg supply faster.

Why menopause timing matters

Women who go through the menopause early are at increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease.

Those who go through it later are at increased risk of breast, womb, and ovarian cancers.

This is why the researchers say timing matters.

While it is an observational study, the researchers conclude: “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.”

Source: BMJ via www.sciencedaily.com 

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.