I’m admitting it right here, right now that I have secretly become a health hack nerd. What does that have to do with seed cycling, and what the heck is seed cycling anyway? Hang tight, I’m getting there. Over the last 18 months or so I have been working with a Naturopathic doctor to heal my adrenals, hormones, and a mess of a gut. All caused by an over stressed life, years of chronic cardio, dieting, and restrictive eating. As I began to see my blood levels improve, energy increase, and brain fog lift, all from making small changes in my lifestyle, along with a few natural supplements, I became obsessed with keeping things that way. If you’ve ever healed from something that was ruling your life, you will do almost anything to keep things on the up and up.
That is what lead me to look into seed cycling. I was certainly not suffering like many do with severe PMS symptoms, but I knew things could be better. Random lower chin breakouts, digestive distress, and bloating were constant symptoms. When I knew there was a hack, I wanted to try it.
What Is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling integrates different seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle to promote a natural balance of hormones. The idea is that seeds carry vitamins, oils, and nutrients that can help support the body’s production, release, and metabolism of hormones. The seeds used in seed cycling are flax and pumpkin for the first part of the cycle, known as the follicular phase, and sesame and sunflower for the luteal phase.
Why Seed Cycle?
Advocates of seed cycling say it may help balance hormones, lessen PMS symptoms, combat hormonal acne, reduce or increase abnormal bleeding, aid in fatigue, infertility, sleep issues, and irregular periods. Although there is little research currently available, I wanted to try my own science experiment.
How It Works
Days 1-13 (the first day of your period): you eat 1 tbsp daily of both flax and pumpkin seeds to boost estrogen and progesterone levels, which are normally lower during this phase. Flax contains lignans, which help to bind estrogen so it can be excreted from the body. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which are known to support progesterone levels which are normally lower during the first half of the cycle. Low levels can cause symptoms like mood swings, irregular periods, breast tenderness, and headaches.
Days 14-28: you eat 1 tbsp daily of sesame and sunflower seeds to boost progesterone levels. Sesame also contains lignans and sunflower seeds are high in selenium, which is good for overall hormonal balance. Balanced progesterone levels are key for a healthy menstrual cycle, and low levels can contribute to weight gain, dramatic PMS symptoms, and a low libido.
What You Need to Know
Sesame and flax seeds should be ground prior to use to aid in digestion
Some people have trouble digesting seeds, so if this is you, soak them overnight
Seeds should be stored preferably in a glass container in a cool, dark area
Use organic seeds if possible, to reduce harmful and hormone disrupting chemicals
Get creative. Seeds can go into everything from salads, smoothies or as a topper for your yogurt
Give it at least 3 full cycles before you come to your own conclusion
Track your symptoms so you can see if there have been any notable changes in your cycle
Check with your doctor prior to seed cycling if you have serious health conditions
I’ve only been at this for one full cycle now and so far I’ve experienced reduced breakouts, lots of energy, stable blood sugar, and less cramping. I’ll be sure to check in after the 3 cycle mark to give you my final opinion.
If you want to have an in-depth conversation about the ways I can help you support you with your hormone, or health challenges so you can feel more in control of what’s happening in your body, book a free 30 minute health history with me by clicking this link!