Women undergo consummate changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause which puts them on a roller coaster ride of physical and emotional turmoil every 15 year (approximately) starting right from their adolescence. Come teenage and a girl starts menstruation (some even before that these days), enter marital bliss and she starts preparing for motherhood and after finishing her crucial commitments (schooling her children, growing them into responsible adults and marrying them off probably!) she is once again challenged by the throes of menopause. Whoa! Somehow, we are kept busy (of course, this is not how we want to be busy!) all through our lifecycle.
End of Reproductive Years
Menopause marks the end of reproductive years and is indicated by 12 continuously missed menstrual periods. It can happen between 48 and 52 years of age although there are instances wherein the menopause age either sets earlier or gets delayed. There are various things surrounding the onset of menopause such as what you eat, your lifestyle, physical activity, body weight and stress levels. People warn that eating too much of pasta, rice, junk foods such as chips and cookies promotes onset of menopause while they recommend eating a diet rich in legumes and oily fish to delay menopause by at least a year. Underweight calls for the early onset of menopause while overweight/obesity delays natural menopause by a couple of years. We would all love to delay the onset of puberty to suffer less from menstrual cramps and maybe, delay menopause fearing those hot flashes and mood swings by an indefinite timeframe. Dear women, sorry to say but both are impossible.
Entering menopause at a later age might be beneficial for memory some years down the line, according to a study published in the journal Neurology. It is the effect of lifelong hormonal processes and not just small phases during menopause that are associated with memory skills.
A total of 1,315 women were clinically followed since birth (March 1946) and underwent at least one cognitive evaluation as adults. They were questioned about their age of menopause onset and other related questions on their reproductive health. These participants were requested to take verbal memory tests and cognitive processing speed test at ages 43, 53, 60-64 and 69. Information about their menopause age, reason for menopause-either natural or due to removal of ovaries, whether the participant took hormone replacement therapy, childhood cognitive ability, amount of education, smoking and type of occupation were all noted down.
The memory test evaluated the participants’ ability to recall as many items as possible from a 15-item list thrice and the maximum score possible was 45. At the age of 43, the participants recalled around 25.8 words and at age 69 they recalled an average of 23.3 words. Of the 846 women who experienced natural menopause, those who had later menopause had higher verbal memory scores, remembering 0.17 additional words per year. Once the researchers adjusted all other factors that could affect memory, the difference was 0.09 additional words per year irrespective of the use of hormone replacement therapy. Although the difference in verbal memory scores for a 10-year difference in the start of menopause was small, only one additional word, it is highly possible that this benefit could translate to a diminished risk of dementia later in life.
Surgery-induced menopause, as seen in 313 women, showed no correlation between memory and age and also, age of menopause onset and the woman’s information-processing capability had nothing in common. When researchers whacked their brain to reason out the logical reasoning behind memory-menopause link, they finally came up with the reason that it could be due to the estrogen receptor role which is responsible for the genes that code brain-derived neurotropic factor. This factor strengthens memory formation and storage.
Irrespective of delaying your menopause, getting it early or hitting it at the right time, we should ensure to eat healthy food, stay active and live stress-free to remain fit mentally and physically. All other things would fall in place automatically and make our lives simpler. For an elaborate ‘do/don’ts’ and list of foods that should/should not be consumed around menopause age, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
+91 7846 800 800
Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.