How eating pasta hastens start of the menopause by 18 months
A diet rich in oily fish could help delay the menopause, new research has found - while carbohydrates like pasta might quicken its onset.
An additional daily portion of refined white pasta or rice was linked with women reaching the menopause around 18 months earlier, according to a study by the University of Leeds.
However, an extra daily serving of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines was associated with a delay of more than three years.
The research, published in the 'Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health', drew on data from around 14,000 women in the UK.
More than 900 women between the ages of 40 and 65 had experienced a natural start to the menopause by that time.
The average age of the menopause was 51, but the researchers found certain foods were associated with its timing.
As well as oily fish, a diet high in fresh legumes such as peas and beans was linked with reaching the menopause a year later. A higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc also appeared to delay the onset.
Researchers said women who went through the menopause early were at increased risk of osteoporosis and heart disease, while those who do so later are more likely to develop breast, womb or ovarian cancers. Study co-author Janet Cade said: "The age at which menopause begins can have serious health implications for some women."