Seed Cycling: Resetting your Period Naturally
It’s possible to balance hormones naturally with a process called “seed cycling.” Seed cycling is essentially the addition of various seeds to the diet during different phases of the female reproductive cycle to promote a healthy balance of hormones in the body.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
Menstrual Cycle & Hormone Balance
There are two key hormones that regulate the female reproductive cycle: estrogen and progesterone. During the first phase of the cycle, from the first day of the period through ovulation (days 1 to 14) estrogen levels increase and dominate. During the second phase of the cycle (days 14 to 28 or so) estrogen levels slowly decrease while progesterone increases. Bleeding at the end of the menstrual cycle occurs when the released egg is unfertilized and doesn’t implant into the uterus. When the happens the corpus luteum, which is the additional uterine lining built up due to the presence of estrogen, starts to breakdown around day 25. As both estrogen and progesterone levels decline, the unsupported corpus luteum sloths off and voila you have your period!
Seed Cycling & How It Works
Seed cycling is a way to help the body naturally balance estrogen and progesterone levels by incorporating different seeds into the diet during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. By simply adding pumpkin, flax, sunflower, or sesame seeds to the diet at the right time in your cycle, you can assist the body in either producing more of a needed hormone OR processing and eliminating excess hormones.
Phase 1: Follicular Phase (Days 1-14)
Day 1 of your cycle is the day that menstruation begins. If you have not been menstruating day 1 is the new moon. The two weeks that follow make up the follicular phase, during which pumpkin seeds and flax seeds provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids, which promote healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to reach their destinations within the body. Additionally, pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which supports progesterone release and flax seeds contain lignans which block excess estrogen. They must be ground to make sure that the lignans are adequately available for absorption by your intestines. The combination of pumpkin and flax seeds during phase 1 of your cycle helps to balance estrogen production and absorption in the body.
Ground Raw Pumpkin and Flax seeds: 1 tablespoon each daily
Fish Oil: 2000 mg of EPA/DHA
Phase 2: Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)
Ovulation marks Phase 2 of your cycle around day 15 and marks a shift from estrogen production to progesterone production. If you have not been menstruating day 15 is the full moon. During this phase sesame seeds and sunflower seeds support the natural balance and production of progesterone in the body. Sesame seeds, which also contain lignans, help to block excess estrogen while sunflower seeds provide the body with selenium, a trace mineral that assists the liver in detoxification.
Ground Raw Sesame and Sunflower seeds: 1 tablespoon each daily
Evening Primrose Oil: 500mg
The process of balancing your hormones naturally with seed cycling doesn’t happen overnight. While you may begin to see changes sooner, it generally takes 3 months before you see significant changes in your menstrual symptoms. Although many will start seeing improvement within the first month. Be patient and take good care of yourself during this time by drinking lots of water, getting regular exercise, and eating your greens!
Ideas for Adding Seeds to Your Diet
A Coffee grinder makes the process of grinding seeds simple & easy. You can grind them daily or grind them for each phase of your cycle and store them in the refrigerator to prevent oxidation
My lady moon day pancakes packed with flax and pumpkin seeds to start your morning.
Sprinkle seeds on cereal, veggies, and salads or blend them into smoothies.
Sesame seeds are delicious when sprinkled on ice cream.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are easy to eat plain and make a great on-the-go snack.
In a pinch, you can add your ground seeds to a glass of juice, nut milk, or water and drink immediately.
Raw tahini is a great way to add sesame seeds to your diet. Add it to salad dressing, hummus, or spread it on crackers!