What is Seed Cycling?
Seed Cycling is an alternative medicine practice believed to aid in regulating reproductive hormones. The regulated hormones would be estrogen in the first half of the menstrual cycle and the hormone progesterone in the second half. Although there isn’t much evidence about whether or not seed cycling is actually helpful, the practice has been around for thousands of years. Its health benefits include helping regulate periods, easing symptoms of menopause, reducing acne, endometriosis, treating polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), infertility, fatigue, and mood swings. Some online sources also claim it can improve thyroid hormone levels, hair health, and weight loss. Seeds are rich in essential nutrients and fatty acids such as selenium and zinc which are vital for the creation of healthy hormones.
How Does Seed Cycling Work?
Seed Cycling: Stage One
Stage one instructs the partaker to ingest 1 tablespoon of raw pumpkin seeds and 1 tablespoon of raw flax seeds. This must be done every day until the day before ovulation. The stage begins on the first day you get your period in your cycle, known as the follicular phase. During this phase of the cycle estrogen levels start to increase as an egg is beginning to mature in preparation for ovulation. By consuming these seeds the usual low levels of progesterone are boosted.
Pumpkin seeds provide a high content of the nutrient zinc. Zinc has an impact on several different areas in your body. This includes the ovaries and your pituitary gland and is essential in the production of progesterone. Zinc increases the production of FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone). The stimulation of FSH causes ovulation, leading to the production of progesterone. Meanwhile, the flax seeds being a great source of omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants known as lignans help curb any excess production of estrogen. Thus, creating a lasting balance between the hormones throughout. At the end of days 14 -15 of the cycle (ovulation typically occurs on these days) as the follicular stage draws to a close the heightened estrogen levels begin to decrease, giving way to phase two, the luteal phase.
Seed Cycling: Stage Two
Stage two provides similar instructions to phase one however, in this stage it will be 1 tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of raw sesame seeds. During the luteal phase, estrogen levels are maintained while progesterone levels rise and peak. This is due to the ruptured follicle closing up after releasing the egg. It forms a corpus luteum, which produces progesterone. Sesame seeds provide zinc as well as lignan antioxidants much like flax seeds, sesame helps block any excess estrogen, allowing progesterone levels to rise uninterruptedly. Sunflower seeds provide vitamin E and essential fatty acids to help maintain these levels. Progesterone is the hormone responsible for helping to ease unwanted PMS symptoms like bloating, headaches, acne, mood swings, breast tenderness and insomnia.
For those going through postpartum, are postmenopausal or are currently experiencing no periods (also known as amenorrhea), seed cycling can be carried out by following the moon cycle. Using the new moon as your day 1 commence stage one of the cycle by eating flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. When the full moon arrives, switch to the sunflower and sesame seeds, and so on.
How to Implement Seed Cycling into Your Diet?
- Add your seeds into smoothies!
- Sprinkle them on salads
- Use them as a topping for your french toast
- Or your avocado toast
- Add them into your morning granola
- Or yoghurt parfait
- Include them in your oatmeal
- Use them to top your soups
- Or your scrambled tofu and omelettes
The more creative you get when implementing the seeds into your diet the longer you’re likely to maintain the cycle, and you’re likely to begin reaping the results in as little as 1 month. We recommend consulting your GP or doctor if seed cycling could be good for you.
So there you have it, an all-natural, drug-free alternative for hormone balancing!