By contrast, heavier consumption of refined white pasta and rice was shown to be more frequently associated with an earlier menopause, suggesting that individual nutrients have varying effects on this key aspect of women's health. While early menopause is linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, it's also linked to protection against breast and ovarian cancer, notes Live Science.
Janet Cade, the professor of nutritional epidemiology and study co-author, said: "The age at which menopause begins can have serious health implications for some women".
Talking about the study, lead author Yashvee Dunneram, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leeds in Britain said, "There are a number of causes that have been considered for the relationship between age and start of menopause, such as genetic factors or behavioural and environmental exposures".
As such, we can not really recommend women to consume these specific foods to influence their onset of natural menopause. And they had to eat 90 grams of oily fish a day to experience menopause 3.3 years earlier, according to the Independent.
The researchers found that the average age of menopause was 51 but that there were trends in timing that were associated with certain foods.
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Their findings were published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.
The researchers collected data from the women which included a detailed diet questionnaire, along with their reproductive history and general health, through a survey. Over 900 women between the ages of 40 and 65 had experienced natural onset of menopause, during the time of the follow-up survey. Studies have shown that the need for hormone therapy came the later, the more menu women had fish and legumes. A higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc, found in food including poultry, beef, fish, seeds and avocados, also appeared to delay the onset. Instead, the research looks at women's habitual intake.
"That said it is an interesting approach to investigate the timing of the menopause but I am not yet convinced that diet alone can account for the age of the onset of the menopause".
Also, omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in oily fish, are thought to trigger antioxidant activity within the human body.
Even though the new study is observational and can not prove any cause, the researchers offer some possible explanations behind their findings, according to a BBC report on Tuesday.