Scientists from the University of Massachusetts and elsewhere found eating an unhealthy plant-based diet may be linked to early menopause.
Menopause is the time in life when a woman stops having monthly periods. This marks the natural end of the reproductive stage of her life when her ovaries no longer have eggs to release.
Most Australian women experience menopause between 45 and 60 years of age. The average age of menopause is 51 years.
A plant-based diet is a diet consisting mostly or entirely of plant-based foods.
Plant-based diets encompass a wide range of dietary patterns that contain low amounts of animal products and high amounts of plant products such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
In the current study, researchers aimed to evaluate the association of plant-based diet index with the early onset of natural menopause.
The team conducted a study with an average follow-up time of 20 years among premenopausal women living across the US.
They used data from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII).
More than 230,000 participants were included. Early menopause was self-reported and defined as natural menopause before age 45 years.
The team got the plant-based diet index from food frequency questionnaires every 4 years.
The researchers found during follow-up, more than 2800 women experienced early natural menopause, respectively.
There was no association was found between the plant-based diet index and the incidence of early natural menopause with the exception of the unhealthy plant-based diet index which was associated with a higher risk of early menopause with increasing levels of consumption.
The team concludes that eating a plant-based diet is not associated with the timing of menopause.
But eating an unhealthy plant-based diet might be linked to a higher risk of experiencing early menopause.
The research was published in Menopause and conducted by Giorgia Grisotto et al.
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