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. A specific combination of seeds is used 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 power for promoting hormone harmony throughout your cycle. Their nutrients help to support and regulate our sex hormones. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone are key influences of the menstrual cycle. When these hormones are unbalanced you can experience PMS, irregular cycles 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, which prepares the body to support an embryo.
What’s 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, a type of fibre which helps to moderate oestrogen and prevent oestrogen excess during the follicular phase of the cycle.
Pumpkin seeds provide zinc which can prevent the body fro 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 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.
Hormone harmony, naturally
Seed cycling is a gentle way to promote hormone balance. This practice can 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 can be lost when oestrogen and progesterone are unbalanced. Eating seeds throughout the month supports your hormones by giving your body the nutrients it needs to make and process these hormones correctly.
How do you seed cycle correctly?
Seed cycling when used alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle can help to balance your hormones. Many women have restored their periods, got rid of PMS and even got pregnant, due to the positive effect on fertility. This process takes time, your menstrual cycle is about 28 days so i would normally recommend trying this for a few months as a minimum.
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, with no single quick fixes. Hormones are a complex issue but the right diet and lifestyle can really make a difference to how you feel. If you are having problems with your cycle and imbalanced hormones it is important to work with a Nutritional Therapist. A nutrition practitioner can carry out functional tests and asses your diet and lifestyle, offering you support while you build new healthy habits.
Make these seed cycle truffles to support your hormones