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Diet May Affect Onset of Menopause

A recent study suggests that consuming a lot of fish and legumes may delay natural menopause. It also found that a high dietary intake of refined carbs, such as pasta and rice, may speed up natural menopause.


Participants in the study included more than 35,000 women between the ages of 35 and 69 who took part in the UK Women’s Cohort Study. All of the women provided information on weight history, physical activity levels, reproductive history, and use of hormone replacement therapy. They also estimated how much of 217 types of food they ate every day via a food frequency questionnaire. Four years later, the researchers collected information on whether or not the women had gone through menopause.


Of the original study group, approximately 14,000 women provided information at both times. The final analysis included 914 women who went through menopause naturally after age 40 and before 65. The average age of menopause was 51.


After examining the data, the researchers found that each additional daily portion of pasta or rice was associated with reaching menopause 1.5 years earlier. The numbers held true even when potentially influencing factors were taken into account.


The researchers also found that each additional daily portion of oily fish and fresh legumes was associated with a delay in menopause of more than three years. They also found that higher intakes of vitamin B6 and zinc (per mg/day) were also associated with later menopause. Additionally, vegetarians started menopause an average one year earlier than meat eaters.


Researchers from the University of Leeds conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 30, 3018, in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.


Refined carbohydrates have been found in previous studies to be associated with weight gain. If you’re looking to lower the amount of refined carbohydrates you consume, consider swapping out one refined carbohydrate for a whole grain. For example, you could eat brown rice instead of white rice or wheat bread instead of white.

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