Loss of bone mass might be the most notorious risk of menopause. But these age-related hormonal shifts pose a risk to a woman’s heart, too.
And do you want to know what’s even riskier? Early menopause.
In fact, new research from the University of Queensland sheds light on just how dangerous it really is when the “change of life” arrives prematurely. And the numbers are jaw-dropping, to say the least…
Double the risk of heart attack and stroke
Researchers looked at data from more than 300,000 women featured in 15 different studies and five different countries—one of the largest studies yet to explore the link between early menopause onset and heart disease risk.
At their last follow-up, the women had a mean age of 57. (By then, 64 percent of the women were postmenopausal.) The mean age of menopause onset was just over 50.
But here’s the important part: Compared to women who hit menopause around age 50, women who reached this stage earlier faced elevated cardiovascular risk. And that risk increased depending on how early the transition took place.
For example, women who reached menopause between 45 and 49 years old—only relatively early—faced a 12 percent higher risk of heart disease, on average. If they hit menopause between ages 40 and 44, the risk jumped by 30 percent. And for women who reached menopause before the age of 40, heart disease risk was 55 percent higher.
When researchers broke statistics down according to risk of non-fatal heart attack or stroke, the news was even worse: Women who reached menopause before age 60 were 40 percent more likely to suffer a non-fatal cardiovascular event… while women with early menopause were nearly twice as likely.
Postpone menopause, naturally
Needless to say, I’m not just sharing these findings to scare you. Because the fact is, knowing this additional risk could ultimately save your life.
The average American woman reaches menopause around the age of 51. And if your onset occurs earlier than this, your risk of osteoporosis, depression, and—obviously—heart disease rises.
Now, there are a lot of factors that play into the age you’ll hit menopause. Ultimately, it all boils down to a combination of genes, lifestyle, and environment. But your diet also plays a large part in this equation, as a recent analysis from the U.K. shows.
Results linked a daily portion of oily fish—think salmon, herring, mackerel, or tuna—with a delay in menopause onset of 3.3 years. Higher intakes of vitamin B6 and zinc were also linked to small but significant delays in menopause onset.
Meanwhile, refined pasta and rice were associated with earlier menopause onset. By roughly one and a half years per daily portion consumed. And vegetarian women experienced an earlier menopause than meat eaters.
None of which is surprising, at least not to me. After all, the antioxidant power of omega-3-rich fish oils lowers free radical loads and slows ovarian follicle breakdown—in turn, delaying menopause. Fill up on refined carbs, though, and you’re setting yourself up for insulin resistance—and the estrogen imbalance that comes with it. The same goes for vegetarianism, where the loss of animal fats can disrupt key hormone levels, as I discuss in the upcoming January 2020 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives newsletter. (So if you’re not yet a subscriber, sign up today. You won’t want to miss it!)
And this is exactly why your doctor should always ask about what you’re eating. Because even menopause-related issues could be effectively managed with a few key dietary changes. And not just overall disease risk, but also symptoms you’d never think relate to your diet, like vaginal dryness or those dreaded hot flashes.
If you’re not sure where to start, my A-List Diet offers guidance. So here’s another reminder to pick up a copy today. It’s a small investment, but the payoff will last a lifetime.
“Early menopause predictor of heart disease.” Science Daily, 10/04/2019. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191004105615.htm)