How Does Diet Affect Menopause?

Do you like consuming pasta and rice? Well, there's bad news for you. A recent study found that eating lots of refined carbohydrates, particularly white pasta and rice may advance the start of menopause by one-and-a-half years. Read this article to know how diet can affect menopause.

This new research was led by scientists at the Leeds University in the United Kingdom, who suggested that a diet rich in legumes and fish may put off the natural onset of menopause.

diet and menopause

The high intake of healthy foods, like oily fishes, and legumes, such as peas and green beans was associated with a later onset of menopause by nearly three years. Early menopause is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, bone degeneration and depression, it can also protect against ovarian cancer, breast cancer and endometrial cancer. On the other hand, delayed menopause is linked to a greater risk of ovarian cancer.

It is found that eating 90 grams of oily fish daily could result in a delay of three years, while eating the same amount of fresh legumes was linked to a one-year delay.

Some of the best oily fishes you could eat as a part of the menopause diet are:

1. Salmon

Salmon is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A 3-ounce serving of salmon contains about 1.9 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. This oily fish is extremely low in mercury, with only 0.01 parts per million in every 3 ounces. Have grilled salmon served with cooked whole grains and mixed vegetables.

2. Herring

Herring is another excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids with 1.9 grams per serving. Herring is one of the least contaminated types of seafood, so choose fresh herring. Do not go for pickled and smoked herring, as it is high in sodium, with over 240 milligrams of sodium in a single ounce. Also, packed herring is high in saturated fat, so you should completely avoid it. Grill the fish and serve it with fresh vegetables and grilled whole-wheat bread slices.

3. Anchovies

Anchovies contain around 1.7 grams of omega-3 fatty acids. They are available in packed in oil form as fresh, pickled or cured fillets. Canned anchovies can contain high concentrations of sodium as much as 1000 milligrams of it in a single ounce. So, limit the intake of this fish if canned. You can have anchovies as a flavour enhancer in salad dressings or as a primary ingredient in a dish.

4. Sardines

Sardines are touted as the super fish of the seafood world. Being low in mercury, fresh and canned sardines contain 1.4 to 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids in every 3 ounces. Use fresh sardines by broiling, grilling or pan searing them. Sardines also reduce inflammation and protect bone health due to its high content of calcium and vitamin D.

Note: Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fishes, stimulate antioxidant capacity in the body.

Other Foods To Include In The Menopause Diet

  • Green Peas: Legumes such as green peas contain antioxidants, which may preserve menstruation for longer. Green peas are excellent sources of vitamin K, manganese, dietary fibre, copper, vitamin B1, phosphorous, vitamin C and folate. Peas are also a good source of vitamin B6, niacin, vitamin B2, zinc, protein, iron, potassium and choline.
  • Zinc-rich Foods: Foods high in zinc are spinach, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, pork, chicken, beans, mushrooms, etc. Higher consumption of zinc is also linked to a delay in menopause.
  • Vitamin B6: Being a water-soluble nutrient, it is a part of the B-vitamin family. Vitamin B6 helps support adrenal function, maintains a healthy nervous system, and is necessary for key metabolic processes. Foods rich in vitamin B6 are lean meats, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, beef and soy products. Vitamin B6 taken in high amounts is also linked to a delay in menopause.

These Foods Should be Avoided On A Menopause Diet

The below-listed foods may affect your menopause:

  • Refined carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates like pasta, and rice are high in carbohydrates. These foods are known to start the menopause early and also these high-carb foods contribute to cycles of moodiness and fatigue. Instead, opt for healthy whole grains. Refined carbohydrates can escalate the risk of insulin resistance, boosting oestrogen levels and interfering with hormones, which are related to reproduction.
  • Caffeine: Women experiencing menopause symptoms may have trouble sleeping due to hot flashes. Drinking caffeine can make a woman moody and suffer with fatigue, especially if you drink caffeine in the afternoon.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol consumption will worsen the symptoms of menopause. If you drink two or more drinks a day daily, it can add calories to your menopause diet and make your menopausal symptoms worse.

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ALSO READ: How To Beat Breast Cancer With Diet

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