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How Diet Affects When Menopause Begins

May 07
10:13 2018

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Is menopause a good thing or bad thing?

If you asked that question to 1,000 women from various areas and backgrounds, chances are the answer you get would be close to evenly split.

Some will say that they are done having kids and look forward to no more monthly menstrual cycles with the bloating, cramping, mood swings and discharge.

Others will say they want to extend their childbearing years and they don’t want to go through the years of menopause symptoms, hot flashes, wild mood swings, uncontrolled emotions, needing hormone therapy, uncomfortable and painful sexual relations and more.

What many women may not realize is that their diet can determine whether they experience the early onset of menopause, normal onset of menopause or ever a delayed onset of menopause.

Researchers studied more than 35,000 women in England, Scotland and Wales. The women were asked a series of questions and then years later they followed up with them. This is what they discovered:

“Each additional daily portion of oily fish, including trout and herring, was associated with a delay of menopause by about three years, and each additional daily portion of fresh legumes was associated with a menopause delay of about a year, the researchers found. What’s more, a higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc (from diet, not from supplements) in general was associated with later menopause, the researchers said.”

“In contrast, each additional daily portion of refined carbs was associated with a 1.5-year-earlier menopause start date — a finding that took into account other possible influential factors, the researchers said.”

“The researchers also broke down the data into smaller groups, looking at mothers versus nonmothers and vegetarians versus nonvegetarians.”

“Among the women who were not vegetarian, eating more unhealthy snacks every day — such as chips and baked goods — was associated with starting menopause almost two years earlier compared with vegetarian women who ate fewer unhealthy snacks every day, the researchers found. Meanwhile, childless women who ate more grapes and poultry tended to start menopause later.”

Researchers say they do not know why certain foods seem to be associated with later onset of menopause but think that foods like grapes, legumes and oily fish contain or stimulate antioxidants which in turn may play a role in the maturation and release of eggs.

On the flip side they believe the refined carbs directly affect the risk of insulin resistance which is known to interfere with sex hormone activity and boost estrogen levels which can cause more frequent menstrual cycles and thus deplete the supply of eggs in the ovaries at an earlier age.

Before any of you ladies run out and change your diets to bring on menopause sooner, consider this first. Early onset of menopause has been linked to an increase risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and depression. On the flip side, early onset of menopause is reported to help protect against certain cancers (breast, ovarian & endometrial). You have to decide which risk or benefit is best for you and then accept the result if and when it happens.

 

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HLA Staff

HLA Staff

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