Written by Samantha Mainland, Naturopath, B.Nat, BMedsMgmentProfHonsCM.
We all know that food plays a role in our energy and wellbeing, but did you realise that your food choices now can impact you later on (like, years later)?
A 2017 UK study has finally showed a link between your food choices now, and how it affects the timing of your menopause. Of the 914 women involved in the study, the average age of natural menopause was 51, however certain foods seemed to speed up or delay the onset.
Including or increasing your intake of oily fish and fresh legumes (peas, beans, etc.) was associated with a delay of natural menopause by up to a staggering 3 years or 1.5 years respectively. If you’re not a fan of fish or legumes, don’t worry, higher intakes of vitamin B6 and zinc were also associated with a later onset menopause.
Alternatively, each additional daily portion of refined carbohydrates, specifically pasta and rice, was associated with reaching menopause 1.5 years earlier. Similarly, additional daily portions of savoury snacks were also associated with an earlier onset, particularly in mothers.
Interestingly, meat eaters were more likely to arrive at menopause almost a year after vegetarians. However, meat eating, savoury snack lovers were seen to enter menopause 2 years earlier.
Food for thought… Have you considered actively attempting to delay or speed up your menopause onset?
Women who go through menopause early are at an increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, while those that go through menopause late are exposed to oestrogen for longer, increasing their risk of breast, womb and ovarian cancers.
In a nutshell, we suggest you tweak your diet to include oily fish and legumes in your routine and reduce or remove the refined carbohydrates. This is generally considered to be a healthier way of eating, and according to this study, can delay your menopause!
Reference: Dietary intake and age at natural menopause: results from the UK Women’s Cohort Study. Journal of epidemiology & Community Health. doi 10.1136/jech-2017-209887