When Amy Beckley began experiencing hot flashes, migraines, and anxiety due to perimenopause, no medical treatment could take the edge off… until she discovered a surprising cure called “seed cycling” that changed everything!
“Not again! “ Amy Beckley moaned as the familiar pain of a piercing migraine began. For months, the debilitating headaches had made it difficult for the 40-year-old to concentrate at work and care for her kids. But now, a more troubling symptom had emerged: One night, as Amy climbed into bed, she felt prickly and hot, and all at once, she was sweating and anxious.
What could be causing this? she wondered, when suddenly, she recalled that her mother had suffered from migraines and night sweats, which came on in her early 40s and didn’t subside until after menopause.
Mystery solved, she concluded grimly: The migraines, anxiety, and hot flashes were symptoms of perimenopause. Will it wreak havoc on my health for years? she worried.
Planting Seeds of Health
“If this is what perimenopause is like, I need a solution fast,” Amy told her husband.
First, a doctor recommended testosterone therapy, injecting tiny pellets of the hormone under Amy’s skin to help ease her headaches.
But as a scientist with a PhD in pharmacology, Amy knew it could run $40 to $500 a month and increase her risk of heart attack and stroke, so she began researching other options. Amy soon came across a natural remedy called “seed cycling” that involves eating crushed flax-, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds at various times throughout your menstrual cycle to balance estrogen and progesterone.
Could something so simple really work for perimenopause? she wondered hopefully. It can’t hurt to find out! To start, Amy began adding seeds to her morning smoothie and oatmeal. Following the seed cycling regimen, she ate one tablespoon each of fresh ground flaxseed and pumpkin seeds during the first 14 days of her menstrual cycle, then she switched to one tablespoon each of fresh sunflower and sesame seeds until her period began.
The first month, Amy was shocked at the progress she’d made. Her headaches had decreased dramatically, her energy had returned, her night sweats had stopped, and her menstrual cycle had become more regular — a sign that her progesterone levels were no longer in flux.
Today, a year on, Amy feels better than ever and is a devoted “seed cycler” who, when friends, colleagues, and clients tell her about their hormonal woes, always suggests nutritious seeds. “I know it sounds crazy,” she laughs. “But it works! Seed cycling is inexpensive, easy and has saved me the headache of expensive hormonal therapy and worry-literally!”
Seeds can work miracles after menopause too!
By boosting heart health: Nibbling 1/3 cup of flaxseed daily can help lower artery-clogging LDL cholesterol by 10 percent, plus trims 12 points off blood pressure, say researchers at UCLA. The scientists assert that the seeds’ healthy fats and minerals heighten the liver’s cholesterol control, plus relax arteries the same way as prescription ACE inhibitors do.
By steadying blood sugar: Sprinkling just 1 Tbs. of sesame seeds into each meal can boost blood-sugar control (and energy levels!) in 10 days, Canadian researchers say. Credit the natural acids in these seeds, which slow sugar absorption and heighten the ability of muscles to burn blood glucose for fuel.
By speeding weight loss: “Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, fiber and protein-nutrients that help you feel full faster and stay full longer,” says Sara Gottfried, MD, author of Brain Body Diet ($12.99, Amazon). In fact, Harvard University researchers say adding sunflower seeds to a healthy diet helps women slim down 41 percent faster!
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This story originally appeared in our print magazine.