How Diet May Affect Menopause
A women’s diet may help determine when she begins menopause. A new study from the United Kingdom found that women who eat fresh legumes and oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, might reach menopause later than the average age of 51. The report also suggested that women whose diets focus on pasta and other refined carbohydrates are likely to reach menopause earlier than average. Researchers from the University of Leeds began by reviewing data from more than 35,000 women who described their diets, exercise habits and use of hormone replacement therapy. The study team then focused on 914 women between the ages of 40 and 65 who went through natural menopause during a four-year period and looked at the relationship of their diets to the timing of menopause. The researchers reported that every additional daily portion of oily fish was linked to a three-year delay of menopause, while each additional daily portion of legumes was associated with a delay of about a year. They also found that each additional daily portion of refined carbohydrates was linked to menopause arriving 1.5 years earlier.
My take? These are interesting findings, but we know that genetics and many other factors influence the onset of menopause, so I wouldn’t count on diet to bring it on earlier or later. Reaching menopause early – before age 45 – is linked to higher risks of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and early cognitive decline while a later onset is associated with longer overall survival but a higher risk of breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers.
Yashvee Denneram et al, “Dietary intake and age at natural menopause: results from the UK Women’s Cohort Study.” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, April 30, 2018, doi: 10.1136/jech-2017-209887
Also in this week’s bulletin: