Menopause can be miserable… The hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and other symptoms are no picnic.
But it turns out there is a way to delay the “change of life” for years. A major new study finds that it’s a matter of eating the right foods.
Researchers at the University of Leeds compiled data on 14,000 women. They were part of a multi-decade ongoing national health study in England. The women were between the ages of 35 and 69.1
The subjects provided information on their weight, physical activity, reproductive history, and use of hormone replacement therapy. They also filled out extensive questionnaires on what they ate.2
The average age of menopause was 51.
But women who ate two foods were years older when they went through menopause:
- Oily fish–It had the most powerful effect of any food. Eating one daily portion delayed menopause by three years.
- Legumes–A daily portion put off menopause by one year. Legumes include peas, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, and beans.
Women who ate both oily fish and legumes daily pushed back menopause by 3.3 years.
The study also found that women who ate meat had slightly later menopauses than vegetarians, although the study did not quantify how much later.
In contrast, women who regularly ate processed foods and refined carbohydrates had earlier menopauses.
Eating processed foods like chips and packaged baked goods daily was linked to menopause starting two years earlier.
Eating refined carbs like pasta, rice, and white bread caused menopause to arrive 1 ½ years earlier.
How Diet Dictates Menopause
Researchers say that diet affects menopause by controlling chemicals called reactive oxygen species (ROS). The higher ROS levels, the lower a woman’s hormones levels.3
Scientists believe that the antioxidants in oily fish and legumes counter ROS. Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids. They stimulate antioxidant production in the body.4
On the other hand, refined carbs and processed foods boost ROS and insulin resistance. This interferes with hormone activity and depletes a woman’s egg supply.
In vegetarians, the lack of animal fat affects their estrogen levels negatively, the researchers said.5
Eat These Fish to Fight Off Menopause
Oily fish like salmon and sardines are not only good for hormone health. They are great for your heart and brain, too.
But not all oily fish are created equal. They all contain high levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But some have mercury and other harmful pollutants.
Avoid eating farmed fish. They can be loaded with antibiotics and PCBs. The one exception is arctic char. It is known as iwana at sushi restaurants. It is typically farmed in Canada and Iceland without antibiotics or chemicals.6
Here are other excellent choices:
- Wild-caught salmon. Fresh, frozen, or canned versions are all among the healthiest types of fish.
- Sardines. They are low on the food chain, so they don’t accumulate mercury like predator fish.
- Anchovies. You can buy them fresh, frozen, or canned. All are low in mercury and high in omega-3s.
- Northern Atlantic mackerel. Unlike its cousin the king mackerel or kingfish, this mackerel is very low in mercury and still high in omega-3 fats.7
Editor’s Note: Eating more fish isn’t the only to fight aging. Researchers in Wisconsin revealed they found a way to reverse up to 20 years of aging in just 6 months.