Nutritional factors have been suggested to be associated with menopausal symptoms (MS). However, the role of overall diet in MS has seldom been examined in Asian populations. This study aims to examine the association of dietary patterns with MS in Chinese postmenopausal women.
This was a cross-sectional study of 726 women with prehypertension or untreated hypertension who attended the screening visit for a soy trial. Dietary data were collected using a validated food frequency questionnaire containing 85 food items. Principal components factor analysis was used to derive dietary patterns based on 11 food groups. Factors were rotated by orthogonal transformation. Menopause-related symptoms were assessed by a 20-item validated and structured checklist.
Three dietary patterns were identified: processed foods, whole plant foods, and animal foods. Higher tertile of whole plant foods (P for trend <0.05) or lower tertile of processed foods (P for trend <0.05) was associated with fewer MS in a dose-dependent manner. Multivariate linear regression analyses showed that whole plant foods scores were negatively associated with MS scores, even after adjustments for a range of potential confounders (P < 0.01). Logistic regression analyses showed that whole plant foods intake was associated with a significant reduction in risk for nonvasomotor symptoms only.
Our study demonstrates that high intake of whole plant foods is independently associated with fewer nonspecific MS. Further evidence from well-designed prospective studies is required to confirm this finding.