We have all been told the many, many benefits of eating healthy on a regular basis. This has not stopped the onslaught of research that continues to be published on this very topic, though. In fact, one new study claims that women who consume a healthy diet of mainly fruits and veggies experience fewer symptoms of menopause than those who choose fewer healthy options.
The study was performed by a group of researchers in Iran who recruited 400 female participants who had all experienced menopause already. On average, the participants were aged in their 50s and had experienced menopause between seven and nine years before the study.
The participants filled out surveys, responding to questions about their eating habits and about the frequency and type of menopause symptoms they had experienced, including hot flashes, night sweats, muscle, and joint pain or stiffness, and incontinence.
The respondents were grouped based on their dietary preferences. One group consisted of participants who consumed a diet high in fruits and vegetables; a second group was made up of participants who ate a lot of mayonnaise, oils, and sweets; and the third group was participants who preferred fatty foods and snacks.
The researchers then analyzed the relationship between the women’s diets and how they felt menopause impacted their health and daily life. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found that those who consumed the most fruits and veggies reported fewer symptoms of menopause and greater overall mental and physical health than the group who consumed the least amount of fruits and veggies on average.
Consuming Fatty Foods Related to Worse Menopause Symptoms
The opposite was also true. The group who consumed the most fatty foods and snacks were more likely to report experiencing menopause symptoms that interfered with their daily life and overall health. “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,” said senior study author Gity Sotoudeh.
“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,” said Sotoudeh. “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.”
Currently, these findings are only correlational. Further research will be needed to observe how eating a healthy diet can directly impact the frequency and severity of menopause symptoms. Other established risk factors for more frequent or severe symptoms of menopause include obesity, inactivity, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet are currently recommended to any women experiencing menopause. Other treatment options, such as hormone replacement therapy, are available for those who experience severe symptoms.
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