What the heck is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is the practice of using the nutrient powers of a variety of seeds as medicine for your menstrual cycle. It is said to be beneficial for hormone balance. There isn’t much scientific evidence for its benefits. This is because reliable studies have not been conducted. The practice of seed cycling has been used in alternative medicine for a long time.
What’s the evidence for seed cycling?
Most reports of seed cycling benefits are either anecdotal. They are often based on the hormone supportive nutrients and healthy fats in the seeds. Small studies have shown sesame and flaxseeds can help to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Studies have also found possible benefits for fertility and PCOS. Another small but promising study found possible benefits of phytoestrogens in flax and sesame seeds for oestrogen balance, and reducing the menopause symptoms some women experience during perimenopause.
Four nutrient dense seeds
A specific combination of nutritious seeds is said to support the different phases of your cycle. The four raw seeds used are flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds.
These tiny seeds are mighty in their nutrient powers. The nutrients may support hormone harmony throughout your cycle. Seed cycling is not an evidence-based practice but their nutrients and healthy fats can help to support and regulate our sex hormones.
Even if you don’t follow a seed cycling guide, including a variety of nutritious seeds in your daily diet is good for your health in general. They help supply your body with vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and fat. Seeds can easily be added to yoghurt, stir-fries, salads, soups and stews.
Seed cycling may help balance hormones
The hormones oestrogen and progesterone are key influences of the menstrual cycle. When these hormones are unbalanced you can experience PMS, irregular cycles, menopause symptoms and fertility problems.
What is a healthy female hormone cycle?
Phase 1 of the cycle is called the follicular phase which occurs from days 1-14. This is when your body is producing oestrogen in order to build up the uterine lining as preparation for egg implantation.
Phase 2 is called the luteal phase which occurs from days 15-28. The dominant hormone is progesterone. This is the hormone which prepares the body to support an embryo.
What is So Special About These Little Seeds?
Flaxseeds contain antioxidants and high levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These are involved in the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins which help to balance hormones. Flaxseeds also contain lignans. They are converted to phytooestrogens and may help to moderate oestrogen and prevent oestrogen excess during the follicular phase of the cycle.
Pumpkin seeds provide zinc which can prevent the body from converting oestrogen into more harmful forms of testosterone in phase 1 of the hormone cycle. Zinc also supports progesterone production in the second half of the cycle.
Sunflower seeds provide vitamin E, phytosterols, fibre and the potent antioxidant selenium which supports the liver and the detoxification process. Selenium helps to protect cells and reproductive tissues. They also promote progesterone production during phase 2 of the cycle.
Sesame seeds are rich in linoleic acid which is an essential fatty acid. Linoleic acid helps to convert gamma linolenic acid and this helps to keep the correct balance between progesterone and oestrogen during the luteal phase of the cycle.
How Does Seed Cycling Help?
Seed cycling is a gentle way to support hormone balance by providing the nutrients needed for hormone production. This practice may help to balance a highly sensitive endocrine system which is affected by stress, sleep, toxins, and detoxification.
A diet low in nutrients and loaded with sugar, alcohol and processed foods with a sedentary lifestyle can lead to poor hormone health and a disrupted cycle.
Natural rhythms are often lost when oestrogen and progesterone are unbalanced. Consuming different seeds throughout the month is thought to support your hormones, by giving your body the nutrients it needs to make and process these hormones correctly.
Seed cycling & hormone balance
Seed cycling may help to balance your hormones and reduce menopausal symptoms. It is important to use this practice alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle.
Many women are reported to have restored their periods, or reduced PMS and menopause symptoms. There are also reports of women with fertility problems who have got pregnant. They attribute their success to using seed cycling for a few months.
There are no quick fixes!
This process takes time. Your menstrual cycle is about 28 days. If you are interested in trying seed cycling I recommend trying this for a few months as a minimum.
How do you seed cycle correctly?
Phase 1 days 1-14 take 1 tbsp each of freshly ground pumpkin and flaxseeds daily. Fish oil can also be used during this phase for extra support.
Phase 2 days 15-28 take 1 tbsp each of freshly ground sunflower and sesame daily seeds. GLA can be added as extra support.
There are many aspects to hormone health and no single quick fixes. Hormones are a complex issue but the right diet and lifestyle can really make a difference to how you feel.
A Nutritional Therapist can help
There are many reasons for imbalanced hormones. If you have problems with your cycle it is important to work with a Nutritional Therapist.
A nutrition practitioner can carry out functional tests and asses your diet and lifestyle. They can also offer you support while you build new healthy habits.
Make these seed cycle truffles to support your hormones and give your body the nutrients it needs to function better.
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