We've been told to eat a healthy diet full of the right nutrients to help us keep our bodies functioning properly our whole lives. But it seems as though when it could really benefit us, is as we begin the menopause.
According to a study from scientists at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables could help to reduce the many symptoms of the menopause – from hot sweats to mood swings.
Researchers spoke to 400 women, mostly in their mid 40s, all of whom had gone through the menopause between seven and nine years previously. Based on their studies of the women, they identified three key eating patterns – women who had plentiful fruit and veg in their diets, those who consumed lots of oily food, and those who ate more fatty foods.
They then sorted the women into the group that most closely fitted with their eating plan, and asked each group to reflect on how severe – or not – their menopause symptoms were.
And it was found that the women who ate the most fruit and vegetables in their diet experienced far fewer, less intense menopause symptoms, such as insomnia and joint pain.
On the other side, the women who ate fatty foods regularly were the group who experienced the most severe menopause symptoms, which hugely impacted their quality of life and their physical and mental health.
The study’s author Gity Sotoudeh explained that it’s the low fibre content and high saturated and trans fat content in the unhealthy foods which can heighten the symptoms of the menopause.
He told Yahoo News!, “The high-fat and -sugar dietary pattern has high amounts of simple carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, especially saturated and trans fats, and a relatively low content of fiber, which can increase the levels of inflammatory biomarkers and body weight, all of them are related to menopausal symptoms,
“On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are low in fat, are a good source of micronutrients, antioxidants, as they help the body to lower the inflammation and maintain a healthy body weight during the menopause.
“Fruits and vegetables are also rich in fiber, which can modify the estrogen metabolism and decrease the fluctuation in levels of estrogen, which all decrease the risk of symptoms.”
More severe menopause symptoms have long been associated with an unhealthy lifestyle – including smoking, obesity and drinking alcohol.
While there were limitations to the above study, including the size of the group tested, it makes sense that eating a healthy diet with less unhealthy foods can make for better overall health – including less of those nasty menopause symptoms.