What Is Seed Cycling And How Do I Do It?

Seed cycling is an easy and effective way help regulate your hormones and support a healthy menstrual cycle through diet and nutrition.

The main idea behind this is that certain seeds carry specific nutrients — essential fatty acids, vitamins, and phytoestrogens — that help regulate the body’s production and metabolism of hormones. Phytoestrogens are compounds produced by plants which are able to bind to estrogen receptor sites in the body. These plant estrogens can be beneficial to womens' health and are found in various nuts, seeds, grains and medicinal herbs. (Check out this article if you want to learn more about phytoestrogens.)

A "normal" menstrual cycle is considered to be 28-30 days in duration beginning from day one — the first day of bleeding — to day one of the next cycle. It is broken up into four interconnected phases. The four phases are:

  1. Menstruation: Elimination of the thickened lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium

  2. Follicular Phase: Starts on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation, during this time the hypothalamus tells the pituitary gland to release luteinizing and (FSH) follicle-stimulating hormone, the body experiences an increase in estrogen levels

  3. Ovulation: Release of mature egg from the ovary, this occurs mid-cycle usually around 15 days from menstruation, Estrogen levels peaks.

  4. Luteal Phase: The later phase of your cycle. Progesterone is produced to allow the body to prepare for fertilization. If the egg is not fertilized there is will be drop in progesterone which causes the lining of the uterus to shed, causes menstruation and the cycle to start again.

MenstrualCycle2.png

The Menstrual Cycle

Seed Cycling For Hormonal Balance 

Hormonal imbalance can manifest with many symptoms, such as mood swings, irregular or painful periods, acne, trouble sleeping, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, constipation or diarrhea, hair loss, infertility and much more.

Utilizing the innate nutrition of the seeds, they are added into the diet and rotated in conjunction with the phases of your menstrual cycle and, If you are so lucky to be aligned, with phases of the moon. ( If you are unsure of when your cycle truly is, use the Moon as your main reference.)

Day 1 is the beginning of the Follicular Phase and is also the first day of bleeding. Ovulation usually occurs around mid-cycle around Day 15, for average 28-30 day cycles. I know many women reading this are looking for help to balance an abnormal cycle, whether it is too long, too short, non existent, or too painful, this self-care regime can help. Look to the moon to establish a routine if your cycle is not linked yet, and begin with the new moon and when you think the first day of menstruation should begin. 

* I am a HUGE fan of essential fatty acids and like to throw those into this cycle as well, so you will see that noted below.

How to Seed Cycle  

Eat 1 tablespoon of the appropriate ground seeds daily.

Day 1 to Day 14: (Follicular phase, menstruation until ovulation, on the New Moon, when your bleeding begins)

 Take: 1 tablespoon ground flax and ground pumpkin with *Omega-3 oil (1500mg EPA/DHA)

Day 15- Day 28: (Luteal Phase, ovulation until menses, Full Moon, until you begin bleeding again) 

Take: 1 tablespoon ground sunflower and ground sesame with *Evening Primrose Oil (500 mgGLA)

I believe that raw organic ground seeds are the most vital and potent but essentially they can be whole, ground, or in their ‘butter' form.

 Flax seeds contain high amounts of a phytoestrogen called lignin, which bind to excess estrogen so that it can be eliminated from the body easier. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which help the production of progesterone, making this combination great for the beginning of your cycle. Sesame seeds are used in combination with sunflowers seeds during the second half of your cycle as these seeds help to block excess estrogens. Sunflower seeds are also high in selenium which is an amazing nutrient ti help balance the hormones.

Flax seeds contain high amounts of a phytoestrogen called lignin, which bind to excess estrogen so that it can be eliminated from the body easier. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which help the production of progesterone, making this combination great for the beginning of your cycle. Sesame seeds are used in combination with sunflowers seeds during the second half of your cycle as these seeds help to block excess estrogens. Sunflower seeds are also high in selenium which is an amazing nutrient ti help balance the hormones.

Seed Cycling Tips

  • Make sure to check in with a well-versed healthcare practitioner to make sure there is not a serious condition underlying your symptoms.

  • I like to store my seeds in a glass jar in the fridge.

  • This is a great opportunity to become more aware of your body and its natural rhythms, so take time to journal, keep notes, and honor your body. It has been seen that improvements may take up to 3 months to be noticed, but remember every body responds differently!

  • If you are prone to digestive issues, you can soak the seeds over night, which can help reduce naturally occurring phytic acid that can cause issues with absorption or digestive upset.

  • Practice good sleep hygiene and healthy eating habits.

  • Maintain YOUR healthy body weight, not too light or to heavy.

  • Use organic if possible, to minimize exposure to environmental contaminants.

  • Stay active and get your blood flowing!

  • Grind your seeds! I like to grind my seeds fresh in the beginning of each two week phase, and then store them in the fridge. If you are going to grind the seeds get yourself a good grinder to save any hassle later. I definitely recommend you to grind atleast your flax seeds as they are much more digestible this way. You can prepare a mix that you can just grab and use- Grind equal parts flax and pumpkin seeds for days 1-14 and equal parts sesame and sunflower for days 15-28 of your cycle.

How To Incorporate Seeds Into Your Life

  • Sprinkle your ground seeds into salads, on top of chia pudding, oatmeal, yogurt/smoothie bowls, or blend into smoothies.

  • You can also get fancy and make milks out of them too! Some of my favorites are Flax Pumpkin Cinnamon Milk and Sunflower Sesame Cardamom Milk.


Want to learn more?!

Women, Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle – written by Ruth Trickey

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, The classic guide to living well in a woman’s body- written by Christiane Northrup, MD

Wild Feminine- written by Tami Kent 

Phytoestrogens, article by the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine

Learn about the science and symptoms of a woman's 28-day menstrual cycle, hormones & period. Explore the science behind the body's greatest mysteries -- in two minutes flat. Via Glamour

Sources

Balch, P. A. (2011). Prescription for nutritional healing: A practical A-to-Z reference to drug-free remedies using vitamins, minerals, herbs & food supplements. London: Penguin.

DIETARY PHYTOESTROGENS, Mindy S. Kurzer and Xia Xu, Annual Review of Nutrition 1997 17:1, 353-381

Doris M. Tham, Christopher D. Gardner, William L. Haskell; Potential Health Benefits of Dietary Phytoestrogens: A Review of the Clinical, Epidemiological, and Mechanistic Evidence, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 83, Issue 7, 1 July 1998, Pages 2223–2235, https://doi.org/10.1210/jcem.83.7.4752

Disclaimer - All information provided on this site is not meant to take the place of the advice of your doctor/ health care provider, but is intended to help you make more informed decisions and take greater responsibility for your own health. Please do not use this information to diagnose or develop a treatment plan without consulting a qualified well-versed health care provider. Do not hesitate to email me with questions and please make an appointment with me if you would like to discuss any information presented in further detail.