The later you reach menopause the longer you will live, according to a new study.
The number of women living to age 90 in the United States has increased significantly in the past century. Currently estimated at 1.3 million, this demographic is expected to quadruple by 2050. A new study by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has found women who experience menopause later in life may have increased chances of surviving the nine decades.
The study is the first to evaluate the association of reproductive factors with survival to a specific advanced age. A group of 16,000 ethnically diverse women were followed over a 21 year-long period. Research has revealed that women who reached menopause at age 50 or older had an increased likelihood of living to 90 years old.
The findings reveal a clear link between overall health status and age at which menopause will be experienced. As explained by Dr Aladdin Shadyab from the UC San Diego School of Medicine, “factors such as smoking and lifestyle conditions like diabetes can damage the cardiovascular system and ovaries, which can result in earlier menopause.”
Consequently, women with later menopause and a longer reproductive lifespan may have decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
So how do we delay the onset of menopause to increase our likelihood of living to age 90?
- Stop smoking: smoking restricts blood flow which in turn increases blood pressure. Smoking also affects the reproductive organs by prematurely aging eggs in the ovaries
- Limit alcohol and coffee: excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption have been shown to escalate early menopause by up to 2-3 years. It is recommended to limit your intake to one coffee per day and only a few standard drinks per week.
- Eat foods containing phytoestrogens (such as soy and wholegrains): menopause begins when the hormone estrogen is dramatically decreased. Keeping up estrogen levels in the body will stimulate natural hormone productive, thus delaying menopause
- Consume low-fat dairy products (such as low-fat cheese and yoghurts): enzymes in cows milk can boost estrogen levels and thus boost the reproductive system to delay the onset of menopause
- Exercise regularly: exercise maintains normal blood flow and functioning of the immune system. Proper bodily functioning increases the body’s natural hormone production and thus estrogen and serotonin levels will be kept at normal levels for longer.