Researchers from the University of Leeds used data about the health and reproductive history of more than 14,150 women living in the UK. They were asked to complete a questionnaire about their diet, then the researchers followed up with them four years later.
Out of the whole group, about 900 women between the ages of 40 and 65 had experienced the start of their menopause by the time of the follow up.
When analysing their diets, the researchers found women who had a diet rich in oily fish and fresh legumes like chickpeas and lentils were more likely to have a delayed start to the menopause by an average of nearly three years.
A higher intake of vitamin B6 and zinc were also linked with later menopause, and eating meat was associated with menopause arriving almost a year later than a vegetarian diet.
In particular, childless women who ate more grapes and poultry reached menopause significantly later as well.
Women who ate a lot of refined (white) pasta and rice were more likely to start the menopause one and a half years earlier, on average.
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