WASHINGTON D.C: High intake of barley, brown rice, oatmeal, soya and tofu for long-term may protect from early menopause.
The findings indicated that the women, who consume approximately 6.5 percent of their daily calories as vegetable protein had a significant 16 percent lower risk of early menopause compared to women whose intake was approximately four percent of calories.
First author Maegan Boutot and Prof Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson conducted the study.
The authors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health explained that dietary vegetable protein intake is associated with ovarian aging and may identify ways for women to modify their risk of early onset of menopause and associated health conditions.
Early menopause, the cessation of ovarian function before age 45, affects about 10 percent of women and is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and early cognitive decline, the authors note.
The team analysed 1,16,000 women aged 25-42 in 1989.
The participants were asked to report how often they ate a single serving of 131 foods, beverages and supplements over the previous year, from "never or less than once a month" to "Six+ per day."
For a woman with a 2,000 calorie per day diet, the authors explain, this is equal to three to four servings of such foods as enriched pasta, breakfast cereal, tofu and nuts, or about 32.5 grams a day.
The authors explained that women consuming nine or more percent of their calories from vegetable protein had a hazard ratio of 0.41 (95 percent confidence interval = 0.19-0.88)" compared to those eating less than four percent.
The research appeared in the online edition of journal of Epidemiology.