Women who consume higher amounts of oily fish and fresh legumes reach menopause at a later age, according to a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
U.K. researchers studied some 14,000 women who completed food-frequency questionnaires and were followed up roughly 4 years later. During that time, about 6% reached natural menopause.
After multivariable adjustment, each additional portion of oily fish per day was associated with a 3.3-year increase in the age at menopause, and each additional portion of fresh legumes conferred a 0.9-year increase. Conversely, each additional portion of refined pasta and rice was associated with a 1.5-year decrease in the age at menopause.
When examined by nutrient type, higher intakes of vitamin B6 and Zinc were associated with later menopause. The researchers speculate that the antioxidants in legumes could play a role in later menopause. They also note that the omega-3s in oily fish "can potentially improve antioxidant capacity."