Dairy and oily fish could reduce risk of early menopause, study finds

Alice Sholl
Contributor
Milk and cookies are back on the agenda [Photo: Pexels]

There are a variety of strange and wonderful superfoods that claim to boost our immune systems.

But sometimes, the foods that are best for us are those already in our fridges and store cupboards, as a recent study has revealed.

Apparently, oily fish and dairy – which has made a particularly strong departure from people’s diets as of late – could help prevent us going through the menopause before we reach 45.

The study of more than 116,000 women found that a high consumption of vitamin D and calcium – found in these foods – cut the risk of early menopause by 17 and 13%.

Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it analysed data from a long-running study of US nurses who started taking part when they were between the ages of 25 and 42 back in 1989.

The benefits of oily fish seem to be endless [Photo: Pexels]

Along with an initial questionnaire, these were followed by two-yearly assessments of their medical conditions and lifestyle including their diets, during which time 2,041 of the women experienced early menopause.

They also took into account other factors such as vegetable protein intake, alcohol consumption, smoking and body mass index, and found that these associations with a lower risk were stronger for vitamin D and calcium from dairy sources than from non-dairy dietary products.

Epidemiologist Alexandra Purdue-Smithe, a doctoral candidate at Massachusetts University, told the Express: “In addition to placing women at higher risk of adverse future health outcomes, early menopause is also problematic as women are increasingly delaying childbearing into their later reproductive years.

“Fertility declines drastically during the 10 years leading up to menopause, so early menopause can have profound psychological and financial implications for couples who are unable to conceive as they wish.

17 and 13% is a big difference [Photo: Pexels]

“As such, it is important to identify modifiable risk factors for early menopause, such as diet.”

She said that to her knowledge, no prior epidemiologic studies had explicitly evaluated how vitamin D and calcium intake could be linked to early menopause risk.

“We found after adjusting for a variety of different factors, vitamin D from food sources, such as fortified dairy and fatty fish, was associated with a 17% lower risk of early menopause when comparing the highest intake group to the lowest intake group,” she concluded.

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