Seed cycling is well-known these days, but some have been practicing this approach to improving hormone health for years.
Also called seed rotation, seed cycling has its roots in naturopathic philosophy and Chinese Medicine. Picked up by the natural medicine community, it has become more and more popular in recent years and seed cycling advocates claim this approach is one of the best “food as medicine” tools.
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling uses the powerful nutrients in specific seeds during different stages of your menstrual cycle.
Seeds contain beneficial nutrients for overall health that have been shown to help with blood sugar regulation, digestion challenges, hormonal balance, and PMS symptoms. Incorporating seed cycling into your daily routine can be beneficial at any stage of a woman’s life.
Seed cycling can help women who are coming off birth control as a way to get their menstrual cycle back. Postpartum and women suffering from amenorrhea (the absence of a period) can have menstruation stimulated. Those with PMS and PCOS symptoms can be supported by seed cycling. It can help boost fertility for those of child bearing age and balance hormones for perimenopausal, menopausal, and postmenopausal women.
What Seeds are Included in Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling uses pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower, and hemp seeds. There is a specific combination of these seeds that benefit you during your cycle.
Pumpkin Seeds have a high zinc content and help boost progesterone. They can help restore hormone balance as you move towards progesterone rise in the second phase of the cycle. Pumpkin seeds can improve acne and weight gain while promoting more regular periods.
Flax Seeds are rich in lignans which have been shown to be beneficial in preventing osteoporosis, improving estrogen and progesterone ratios, and heart disease in women. Eating flax seeds may also help soothe breast tenderness which is experienced by many women right before their period.
Sesame Seeds and Sunflower Seeds contain omega-6 essential fatty acids, and lignans which support the hormones that carry you through the luteal phase, the second half of the menstrual cycle.
Hemp Seeds are a good source of essential fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which help balance hormones. Hemp seeds also aid in inflammation.
How to Seed Cycle
Seed cycling is based on a 28-day cycle, but it is still possible to follow if you have a longer or shorter cycle.
Day 1 (the first day of your period) through Day 14 is the Follicular Phase of the menstrual cycle. During this phase, your estrogen increases and an egg prepares for ovulation. Your uterine lining also thickens.
On days 1-14, eat 1-2 Tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds and raw pumpkin seeds as well as hemp seeds. These seeds will naturally increase estrogen. Ovulation usually occurs around Day 14 of a 28-day cycle and the egg is released. This ends the Follicular Phase.
On Day 15, the second half of your cycle—the Luteal Phase—begins. Following ovulation, eat 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh ground sunflower and sesame seeds as well as hemp seeds. Progesterone levels rise and peak during this phase. Progesterone will ease unwanted PMS symptoms. When your period arrives, you are back to Day 1.
For postpartum, postmenopausal women, and those experiencing inconsistent periods or amenorrhea (lack of a period), seed cycling can be done following the moon cycle. Use the New Moon as Day 1 and then when the Full Moon arrives, that begins Phase 2. Pretty cool, right?
Seed cycling can be fun and incorporated to enhance many types of foods. Sprinkle on yogurt or in a smoothie, on a tossed salad, or over a poached egg on avocado toast. Seeds can be used in place of granola, added to oatmeal, sprinkled on a sweet potato, and even added to a favorite cookie recipe. Options are endless. Seed cycling is a great tool to help you live your most nutritious life as it has so many hormonal health and wellness benefits. It is an inexpensive way to support your natural cycle. Give it time, at least 3 months to create balance. It is worth a try!