Could Menopause Change Your Taste and Smell?
When it comes to the menopause, we are advocating for opening up conversations around this topic to normalise discussing a stage of life that affects so many of us. So, what’s the link between menopause and Pink Lady® apples?
We wanted to discover more about the connection between our senses and the menopause, exploring how our senses of smell and taste can shift and develop during this stage of life. Here at Pink Lady®, we believe in celebrating small moments of joy and our enjoyment of food is central to this.
We’ve teamed up with nutritionist and women’s health expert Emma Bardwell to discover more about changing senses in menopause. We surveyed more than 2,000 women who had experienced perimenopause or menopause to find out exactly how these sensory changes affect different people.
When it comes to menopause symptoms, we might think of hot flushes, mood swings and sleep difficulties. However, our research revealed that menopause can also have a big impact on your sense of taste and smell – and that this is a symptom that 91% of women are unaware of.
Our survey found that more than 1 in 3 women experience sensory changes during the menopause transition. 46 percent of those surveyed had a change in smell, while 42 percent noticed change in taste.
When it came to changes in taste, 44 percent said it had become weaker; 18 per cent said it had become stronger; and 38 percent described it as “not stronger or weaker, just different”. Almost half (49 percent) of those experiencing changes to smell said it had become weaker.
Many women experience the sensation of “dry mouth”, one of the lesser-known menopause symptoms*. 54 percent of the menopausal women surveyed found themselves craving more juicy and refreshing foods than they did before menopause.
Sweet (54 percent), refreshing (40 percent) and juicy (33 percent) were amongst the top tastes and sensations when it came to choosing a snack.
Find out some tips from Emma that can help you to taste better
What symptoms have you been dealing with? Join in with our conversation about the Menopause
The science explained…
Women’s health specialist and nutritionist Emma Bardwell said:
“Lower levels of oestrogen during the menopause transition are associated with changes in oral health and there are a number of reasons for this.
“For starters, oestrogen is linked with saliva production, so when hormone levels drop, women can find their mouths become drier. And because saliva is important for stimulating taste buds, having a dry mouth can affect the taste of foods.
“If you’re looking for a nutritious snack to curb sweet cravings, try a Pink Lady® apple: fructose, the sugar in fruit, is bound up in the cells of the fruit and comes with fibre which slows down the rate of absorption into your bloodstream.
“Apples also contain phytoestrogens, naturally occurring plant compounds that are structurally and functionally similar to oestrogen and therefore may help manage symptoms linked to lack of oestrogen. Eating foods high in phytoestrogens may be beneficial for some menopause symptom sufferers.**
“With the research showing a heightened desire for juicy and refreshing foods during the menopause, a fridge-cold Pink Lady® apple is a great snack to have on hand. The juicy sweetness is a perfect combination for those experiencing reduced production of saliva and increased sweet cravings.
“We must not underestimate the power that nutrition can have on somebody’s experience of menopause. A diet high in whole foods that has adequate protein, some healthy fats and minimises ultra processed foods is key. In a nutshell, think about colour and diversity with a focus on plants. This kind of variety is also great for heightening your sensory response to food.
“Life can feel overwhelming during this stage of life so be kind to yourself. Adapting your diet from a health perspective doesn’t mean depriving yourself – it should be about exploration, trying new things, making new discoveries and taking joy from the small, everyday moments of pleasure.”
*Menopause symptom of dry mouth: https://www.mymenopausecentre.com/symptoms/dry-mouth/
**Source, Nutrition advice for menopause: how to get the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals https://www.nuffieldhealth.com/article/nutrition-advice-for-menopause-how-to-get-the-right-nutrients-vitamins-and-minerals
Pink Lady® Apple and Carrot Menopause Cake
Although it won’t quash every symptom, our Pink Lady® Menopause Cake is an excellent source of phytoestrogens which have been shown to help some women (not all!) with hot flushes.