Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have found that eating more vegetable protein may reduce your risks of early menopause. The new study followed 85,682 women and revealed how the right dietary habits can delay the age at which you hit the life milestone.
Most women go through menopause in their early 50s, but 10% of women are experiencing it in their early 40s.
Known as early menopause, there’s more to it than just the inconvenience. In fact, early menopause carries with it many risks. According to the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America journal, the older you are when you have menopause, the better your chances of:
- Living longer, with a greater life expectancy and higher survival rate
- Avoiding osteoporosis and minimizing bone density loss
- Reducing your risks of cardiovascular disease and lowering your risks of dying from a stroke
In the latest study, women who ate 6.5% of their daily calories as plant-based protein lowered their early menopause risk by 16%. That means if you tend to eat 2,000 calories per day, 32.5 grams of protein (or 3-4 servings of vegetable protein) every day should come from a vegetable source.
Example vegetable proteins include nuts, enriched pasta, cereal, beans, quinoa, tofu and other soy products.
Sometimes, media attention makes more out a study than is warranted. However, this new study about how your meal choices affects the onset of menopause joins other pervious studies that also support the importance of the right diet and lifestyle in delaying menopause.
For example, researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and University of Massachusetts found that calcium and vitamin D in your food can also help to keep menopause at bay.
“We found that…vitamin D from food sources, such as fortified dairy and fatty fish, was associated with a 17 percent lower risk of early menopause,” says researcher Alexandra Purdue-Smithe.
The University of Massachusetts notes that because vitamin D and calcium from milk and other dairy products were more prominent in the study, Purdue-Smithe and her team plan to do more research on individual dairy foods to see if all dairy products are alike in their benefits.
Besides food, research published in the medical journal Menopause has also linked lifestyle factors to the age at which women go through menopause. For example, smoking and not exercising may contribute to early menopause, researchers warn.
In the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America journal, researchers highlighted how shift work, job stress and exposure to environmental pollution may also influence a woman’s reproductive system and onset of menopause.
Taken together, these studies highlight how crucial it is to follow a healthy lifestyle. With menopause as a significant marker for aging and oxidative stress in your body, delaying menopause through lifestyle and diet may also help to keep you feeling young and delay your risks of many age-related health issues.