Seed Cycling is a great practice of eating specific seeds during certain times of your monthly cycle. Seed Cycling helps to promote a healthy balance of both estrogen and progesterone.
With a estimated 20 percent of women experiencing irregular cycles and hormonal fluctuations many turn to the ancient practice of seed cycling to help with hormonal balance. It can help support not only fertility and reproductive health which hormonal balance and function play a big part but also aid in general health and all over feeling of well being . Seed Cycling has been used to help ease PMS symptoms, eradicate acne, & increase fertility. It’s also helpful for women when coming off of birth control, who experience breast tenderness, cystic acne or who have PCOS to cycle related mood swings too.
To start seed cycling you are going to begin focusing on eating certain seeds during the first half to increase estrogen and specific seeds during the second half to regulate progesterone/ estrogen ratios. If you have irregular cycles, many utilize “moon cycles” to time when to consume each seed mix listed below.
Seeds influence on your cycle hormones
Basically the goal is to balance estrogen and progesterone by utilizing a grouped seed mixture whose nutrients, vitamins, fatty acids and minerals help influence hormonal production, regulation and balance.
- Flax Seeds – contain phytoestrogens which are plant estrogens (Lignans)which help the body’s hormone receptors and help regulate them (higher or lower) and help the body regulate your bowels and digestive tract which moves excesses of cholesterol too. Flax seeds also contain healthy fats which are building blocks for hormones. Also androgens which can help with acne to PCOS
- Pumpkin seeds – contain Lignans zinc which helps with progesterone production a key element released in the second phase of your cycle( Luteal).
- Sesame Seeds – Rich in selenium and zinc, both of which work to clear excess estrogen. Together with sunflower seeds is helping to balance estrogen/progesterone levels
- Sunflower Seeds – Helps with detoxification of hormones in the liver but also contain vitamin E which can help to boost progesterone levels.
How to practice seed cycling.
- Days 1-14 (Follicular Phase)– Consume 1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds + 1 tbsp flax . Start on the first day of your regular period through day 14. If you are not having a regular cycle, you would start this on the new moon-full moon. In this phase of your cycle lignans and zinc in the seeds help support estrogen production and balance yet at the same time help clearing excess estrogen. This is also the phase where your egg is maturing in preparation for ovulation.
- Days 15-28 (Luteal Phase) – Consume 1 tbsp sunflower seeds + 1 tbsp sesame seeds (both raw + freshly ground) until the first day of your next cycle. Begin eating your freshly ground seeds combo on day 15 of your normal cycle. If you are not having regular cycles, you would start this on the full moon- new moon. This phase is about progesterone. In this phase your uterine lining is thickening preparing for the egg if the egg is not fertilized you will begin your period.* Continue with the sunflower/sesame seeds until day 28 or the first day of your next cycle where you begin again with the raw pumpkin/flax seeds.
*Resource – The farmers almanac has a good “moon cycle calendar” to help you if you are having to utilize moon phases to time your seed cycling.
Tips to help you with seed cycling:
- Sprinkle into a meal or snack: Choosing to sprinkle your 2 tbsp mix in the am you can sprinkle in your oatmeal, sprouted toast to smoothies. At lunch your ground seed mixture can add a great flavor profile to a salad. At dinner do you love stir fry or rhamen? Before serving sprinkle on top of top of your noodles, it’s really delicious. You can sprinkle on top of chicken (pasture raised, organic please). Snacks well you could have a lot of fun adding it to freshly cut organic apple slices or celery sticks for a satisfying snack.
- Grind a weeks worth of the seed mixture with a coffee bean grinder and store in freezer. This way you can just spoon it out easily to help you stay on track with your seed cycling: ) Be sure to use a tight container or freezer proof container to avoid moisture getting into your mix or other potential “fridge” smells getting into your ground seeds.
The effects of cycling seeds your body is adjusting naturally so it does take a little time to notice the differences in your body. Headaches to energy levels could improve, hormonal skin breakouts lessen you could begin to see improvements in your periods with lighter, shorter periods and for some improvements in PCOS symptoms. A great way to monitor this is through health journaling which is simple and easy. At the start simply log your symptoms (breakouts, bloating, mood & energy to period length, flow and cramping) Do this each month. This way say at starting month 4, you can look back and see how small changes go unnoticed yet added up over time, you could then see the benefits and improvements you’ve accomplished.
Disclaimer: If you are under a doctors care or have a underlying medical condition please consult with your physician before using seed cycling to influence hormonal production and balance. This article is written for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create a patient client relationship nor to replace your physician’s advice or treatments or advise in a medical capacity.