Eating plants are associated with fewer menopause symptoms, says study.
Rather than taking hormone replacement therapy to manage menopause symptoms, many women opt for lifestyle changes instead. For example, experimenting with different diets is often explored.
With plant-based diets becoming more popular, Bonnie Beezhold, Associate Professor of Nutrition at Benedictine University, Illinois, wanted to know whether vegan and omnivore diets affected the frequency of menopause symptoms.
Beezhold and her team surveyed the dietary habits and symptoms of 429 omnivore and vegan women who were peri or post-menopausal.
The women were questioned on the frequency of hot flushes and night sweats, plus a host of physical signs such as; joint pain, fatigue, flatulence, muscle and joint aches, sleep disturbances, lethargy, bloating, weight gain, urination frequency and skin changes.
The results published in the journal Maturitas found that although the effects were small, the people eating a vegan diet reported fewer troubling vasomotor and physical symptoms than those eating an animal-based diet.
Further analysis of the data found vegetables, in particular, were associated with fewer severe vasomotor problems and physical symptoms.
Moderate exercise was also associated with fewer physical effects but not vasomotor disturbances.
The benefits of a vegan diet were more pronounced in perimenopausal women when symptoms of menopause are fluctuating and more intrusive.
“ Eating more plants and fewer animal foods along with engaging in physical activity may prove effective for older women who prefer a natural solution to help manage their menopausal symptoms,” wrote the authors.
A vegan diet needs to include adequate calcium, vitamin B12 and D in the diet.
British Nutrition Foundation provides dietary and lifestyle information to help women keep healthy during the menopause years.
Beezehold.B., Radnitz. C., Mc Grath.R.E., Feldman.A. (2018). Vegans report less bothersome vasomotor and physical menopause symptoms than omnivores. Maturitas, 112, 12-17.