Many of us have trouble with our hormones. Irregular periods, PMS, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, mood swings, insatiable food cravings, breakouts, oigh. Sound familiar? Many of these thought to be normal to a woman’s cycle can actually be because of an imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone – two of the key hormones that regulate your cycle. If you have an irregular cycle, this is where seed cycling comes in. It’s essentially the addition of different seeds to your diet daily during different phases of the menstrual cycle to promote a healthy balance of hormones in the body. This ranges from progesterone production, blocking excess oestrogen and hormone metabolism.
Many women look for a natural way to balance hormones, and this style works by simply adding pumpkin, flax, sunflower, or sesame seeds.
A regular menstrual cycle runs for around 28 days and involves an interplay of hormones that influence the ovaries and uterus. In that time the development and release of an egg is made from the ovaries and the uterus prepares for the fertilised egg. If the egg isn’t fertilised, the endometrial lining is lost through menstruation (aka day 1 of your cycle). During the first phase (day 1-14) estrogen levels increase. Once they start to decrease, progesterone levels increase (day 15-28). It’s the imbalance of these that cause all of those not so lovely symptoms we can experience such as irregularity, PMS, mood swings and more.
The good news is that seed cycling has been used to help this balance in some women. Different seeds contain different types of nutrients our hormones need such as lignans (that help regulate oestrogen) and essential fatty acids (that assist with hormone production). They work in perfect synergy to balance hormones throughout your entire menstrual cycle.
So, how exactly does it work?
The first phase of your cycle is called the Follicular Phase (day 1-14) During these fourteen days, it’s best to have a daily hit of:
- 1 tbsp. freshly ground flax seeds: full of lignans that block any excess oestrogen.
- 1 tbsp. freshly ground pumpkin seeds: high in zinc which supports progesterone production.
The second phase of your cycle is called the Luteal Phase (day 15-28) During these fourteen days, it’s best to have a daily hit of:
- 1 tbsp. freshly ground sunflower seeds: high in selenium for hormone metabolism and liver detoxification.
- 1 tbsp. freshly ground sesame seeds: full of lignans that block excess oestrogen (you can also get this from tahini)
You can easily add these to smoothies, porridge, add them to raw bars, granola, yogurt or sprinkle in dips – the options are endless! Because seed cycling is a natural process, it’s not a quick fix and doesnt work like medication. It can take up to 3 months to start noticing any changes, so if you do try adding seeds to your menstrual cycle, be patient and consistent.
Have you tried seed cycling?
Disclaimer: we recommend consulting your health care practitioner before implementing any new changes to your diet or hormone regulation. This article is not medical advice and is purely for informational purposes only.