CARB-EATERS suffer an earlier menopause than Brits who regularly eat meat and fish, a study reveals.
It found committed carnivores went through the change nearly a year later on average.
Earlier menopause is linked with lower bone density, osteoporosis and increased risk of heart problems.Overall, women were at greatest risk if they scoffed large amounts of rice and pasta.
The study of 14,000 people found carb-lovers were affected nearly five years earlier than those who ate plenty of oily fish and beans.The average age at menopause in the UK is 51.But experts found diet affects when women go through the change.
Vegetarians went through menopause around 10 months earlier than meat-eaters. Scientists claim animal fats raise levels of the hormone oestrogen, which may impact fertility.
Eating oily fish and beans was also found to delay the menopause by more than three years, thanks to their high levels of antioxidants.
It includes servings of salmon, mackerel and sardines.
But insulin spikes triggered by consumption of refined carbohydrates like pasta are believed to speed up a woman’s periods and earlier menopause.
Researcher Professor Janet Cade, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds University, said: “The age at which menopause begins can have serious health implications for some women.
“A clear understanding of how diet affects the start of natural menopause will be very beneficial to those who may already be at risk or have a family history of certain complications related to menopause.” A higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc also appeared to delay the onset.
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Women who suffer later menopause are more likely to develop breast, womb, and ovarian cancers. The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, followed 14,172 Brit women for four years.
More than 900 experienced the start of menopause during the research.
Lead author Yashvee Dunneram, of the School of Food Science and Nutrition, said: “This study is the first to investigate the links between individual nutrients and a wide variety of food groups and age at natural menopause in a large cohort of British women.”