We're always hearing the benefits of one so-called superfood or the other – from avocados' ability to improve your skin to kale's cancer-fighting properties. However, if one of your health wishes is to ward off the menopause for as long as possible, then scientists have found the one food you should be tucking into every day. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, which followed more than 14,000 women in the UK for over four years, found that those who enjoyed a daily serving of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines typically experienced the menopause three years later than the average age of 51.
Oily fish such as salmon is known to have multiple health benefits
As for what not to eat, the researchers also found that those who consumed a daily helping of refined pasta or rice typically experienced menopause 18 months early. A diet rich in fresh legumes such as peas and beans was also linked to a later menopause, with those eating a daily 90g typically experiencing a one year delay. And on average, meat eaters experienced menopause more than a year later than vegetarians. The researchers found that a higher intake of vitamins B6 and zinc were also linked to later onset.
However, as avoiding menopause completely is pretty much impossible, your diet can also help ease the symptoms once it sets in. Natural beauty guru Liz Earle, who recently published The Good Menopause Guide, recommends avoiding sugar, compensating bone density loss with plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and eating foods that contain phyto-oestrogens such as “soya milk and soya flour, linseeds, tofu, Japanese tempeh and miso, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, celery, rhubarb and green beans”.
She adds: "I've been an advocate of full-fat, whole and healthy fats for thirty years or more and 'good' fats are especially important during the menopause as we actually make our hormones from cholesterol. Avocados, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, nuts (and their respective nut butters) and seeds such as chia and flax seed (linseed) are all good sources of high-quality good fats. I also recommend taking a daily Omega-3 fish oil supplement to help boost brain, body and skin, especially from mid-life onwards."