So what exactly is seed cycling?
It involves eating flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds at different times of the month to balance certain hormones.
Seed cycling claims to balance hormones by regulating the hormone estrogen in the first half of your menstrual cycle and the hormone progesterone in the second half. Other benefits include helping regulate periods, reducing acne, treating polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and infertility, and easing symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and mood swings.
This method instructs women to eat 1 tablespoon each of freshly ground flax and pumpkin seeds per day for the follicular phase & eat 1 tablespoon each of ground sunflower and sesame seeds per day in their luteal phase. For menopausal and postmenopausal women without a regular menstrual cycle, it’s often recommended to use the phases of the moon as a guide to cycle dates, with day one of their cycle falling on the new moon.
So how does this influence your hormones?
During the follicular phase, the phytoestrogens in flax seeds can help increase or decrease estrogen levels as needed. Phytoestrogens are compounds in plants that can mimic the action of estrogen. Additionally, zinc from pumpkin seeds promote progesterone production in preparation for the next phase of the cycle.
During the luteal phase, lignans — a type of polyphenol — in sesame are supposed to inhibit estrogen levels from increasing too much. Meanwhile, the vitamin E in sunflower seeds is thought to help boost progesterone levels.
The interesting thing is that there aren't many studies that support these facts... and while the seeds have improved hormone levels, experts claim that it is not enough to make a huge difference to your menstrual cycle. HOWEVER, you will find numerous stories of women who share their stories of how seed cycling has helped them with their PMS symptoms, me included!
Not only are these four seeds rich in fiber, manganese, magnesium, copper, thiamine, vitamin E, and healthy fats, these nutrients are vital to good health, including reproductive health.
I’m going to put it out there and say I was skeptical if it would work or not. While the scientific evidence isn’t yet strongly supported (I’ll let you in on a secret, not many studies are actually done on menstruating women anyway due to fluctuating hormones), there was strong evidence that I found of numerous women who alleviated their PMS symptoms simply by trying seed cycling. And so I thought I would give it a try too! I changed nothing else in my day to day life. Trialing natural remedies for my health wasn’t new to me… and so, off I set to see if this worked for me too. Every day I would consume 2 tablespoons of seeds in relation to where I was in my cycle. Surprisingly, the first few days I felt no different… but when that first period arrived, I felt so much better! Sore breasts be gone! And the cramping? There was none! I was boasting clearer skin and better moods too! I hadn’t changed anything else… and was actually through a period of time that I was highly stressed most days… but the benefits were just astounding. So like the women before me who had shared their stories, I too was enjoying the benefits. So from my opinion, sometimes when women come together to share their wisdom & stories we should listen. These would have been remedies passed down from mother to daughter through generations, especially at times when modern medicine had not been available, and they had to draw their healing from the earth.
So the choice is yours… will you try seed cycling & let me know if you feel any benefits.
Follicular & Ovulation Phase: Consume one tbsp. of each flax and pumpkin seeds each day. Flax binds to
excess estrogen and pumpkin seeds, loaded with zinc, will boost progesterone production.
Luteal & Menstrual Phase: Consume one tbsp. of each sesame and sunflower seeds each day. Sesame can balance estrogen and sunflower seeds, loaded with selenium, can support the liver.
Enjoy the seeds on your yoghurt, in your smoothie, on your salads as a garnish. You could also add them over your eggs in the morning, make a granola, bliss balls, biscuits… your options seem endless with how you can enjoy them!
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