Scientists from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom (UK) have said that diet high in carbohydrates could bring on an earlier menopause.
According to a new research published in the ‘Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health,’ eating lots of carbohydrate foods such as pasta and rice, was associated with reaching menopause one-and-a-half years earlier than the average age of 51, when most women develop it.
On the contrary, the study also found that a diet rich in oily fish, peas and beans may delay natural menopause. However, many other factors, including genes, influence the timing of menopause, experts said.
Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It is the time in a woman’s life when the function of the ovaries ceases. The process of menopause does not occur overnight, but rather a gradual process. This so-called perimenopausal transition period is a different experience for each woman.
Hot flushes were the most common symptom of the menopause. Other common symptoms include night sweats, sleeplessness, vaginal dryness, irritated skin, more frequent urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections, low mood and a reduced interest in sex.
The new study found that a diet high in legumes, which includes peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas, delayed menopause by one-and-a-half years, on average.
“Eating lots of refined carbs, particularly rice and pasta, was linked to menopause coming earlier by one-and-a-half years.”
Explaining the findings of the observational study, the researchers said legumes contain antioxidants, which might preserve menstruation for longer.
Similarly, Omega-3 fatty acids, which were in oily fish, also stimulate antioxidant capacity in the body.
The researchers further stated that refined carbohydrates boost the risk of insulin resistance, which could interfere with sex hormone activity and boost oestrogen levels. “This might increase the number of menstrual cycles leading to the egg supply running out faster,” ‘Health & Wellness’ reported.
Study co-author, Janet Cade, a professor of nutritional epidemiology, affirmed that the age at which menopause begins could have serious health implications for some women.