Although menopause is an inevitable fact of life for most women, the question, “Can you delay menopause? And if so, how?” was the subject of discussion recently at the University of Leeds, where researchers found a link between certain foods and the early or delayed onset of menopause.
According to the results of the study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the researchers found that women who ate oily fish such as salmon (at least 90g daily), as well as plenty of pulses such as legumes and beans, generally experienced menopause later.
The researchers came to this conclusion after analysing data over a four-year-period, on 14 000 subjects from the UK Women’s Cohort Study.
The researches also discovered that those who ate a lot of carbohydrates, including rice and pasta, generally started menopause around 18 months earlier than the average age of 51. And those who had a higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc, also tended to start menopause later.
So, can you delay menopause?
According to this study, foods do play a role in the timing of menopause. In fact, the researchers on the study suggested that legumes contain antioxidants, which might affect the release of eggs – meaning a menstrual period would go on for longer.
Menopause and your health
The time at which you go through menopause can have serious health implications. Women who experience menopause too early could be at risk of bone loss and osteoporosis.
This is due to falling oestrogen levels which arise when you start to miss periods.
However, experiencing menopause later than normal leaves you exposed to more oestrogen, which can carry with it an increased risk of ovarian cancer, breast or endometrial cancer.
The study’s limitations
Although the researchers found a link between certain foods and the timing of menopause, it’s important not to make any drastic changes to your diet, until you see a medical professional who can assess your hormones and overall health.
This is because there are plenty of factors that are linked to the age at which you experience menopausal symptoms and it’s a relatively complex issue.
Also, this particular study was observational, meaning it can’t actually prove that the foods were directly linked to delayed menopause.