As a specialist in women’s health, I have supported hundreds of mamas in getting pregnant naturally and enjoying a pleasant postpartum, and it all starts with regulating hormones.
What is Seed Cycling and how does it help hormones?
This is one of the simplest tools I teach my clients to balance their hormones, regulate their cycles, support their fertility, and reduce problematic, painful periods.
There are numerous ways to balance your hormones and take charge of your fertility, and the easiest start is with the food you include in your diet.
Here is a simple explanation of how Seed Cycling balances your hormones...
Seeds are rich in essential fatty acids and nutrients (such as zinc and selenium), which act as both the vehicle to transport hormones to correct location, and as the building blocks to support their structure and integrity.
Also, certain seeds are more “estrogenic” and increase estrogens in our body, while others increase progesterone, so by “cycling” these different seeds we can support the two different phases of our hormonal cycle.
Many women need to reset their hormonal rhythms, especially if they have been on birth control, are under a lot of stress, or have taken hormones for fertility treatments (IUI or IVF).
Clients who have benefitted the most from seed cycling are women with—
- Irregular periods or amenorrhea (no period)
- Infertility and recurrent miscarriages
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) with acne, mood swings, breast tenderness, etc.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Post birth control syndrome (PBCS)
- Postpartum depression and anxiety disorder (PPDAD)
- Peri-menopause and post-menopause This technique of cycling seeds to support the two parts of the female cycle, is simply reeducating the body to reset hormonal rhythms….naturally
How do you seed cycle?
It is important to note that this method is based on a 28 day cycle. If you typically have longer or shorter cycles, do not stress, simply follow the 28 day seed cycle suggestions and observe if this shifts your cycle to 28 days.
First a brief refresher on your cycle….
The fist half of your cycle is the Follicular phase, in which your estrogen levels are increasing, supporting the follicle in your ovary to mature an egg for ovulation.
This cycle starts with day 1 (first day of your menses) and continues to day 14.
The second half of your cycle is after ovulation, typically day 15 to day 28 of your menses.
This is called the Luteal phase, when the corpus luteum (the now empty follicle that released the egg) produces progesterone to thicken the uterine lining in preparation for pregnancy.
If there is no implantation or pregnancy, this thickened lining in the uterus (called the endometrium), will shed around day 28. The beginning of menstruation starts the cycle again, as Day 1.
Seeds that support the rhythmic cycle of the hormones
- The Follicular Phase (Day 1-14)
- Eat pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds. When your period arrives, eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds and raw pumpkin seeds through day 14. These seeds can help naturally increase your estrogen while also providing fiber to support healthy estrogen metabolism. This is a safe and natural method to support healthy level of estrogen without creating estrogen dominance (unhealthy excess estrogen).
- The Luteal Phase (Day 15-28)
- Eat sesame seeds (either white or black) and sunflower seeds during the luteal phase. Starting on Day 15, eat 1-2 tablespoons of freshly ground sunflower and sesame seeds. These seeds help support healthy progesterone levels, and have been shown to ease symptoms from progesterone deficiency such as night sweats, insomnia, mood swings, bloating, PMS and constipation.
Important things to know about the seeds
- The seeds should be raw (uncooked and not roasted)
- Freshly grind the flax and sesame seeds, in a mini cuisinart, food processor or coffee grinder, before use
- If you have left over freshly ground seeds, store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days
- Avoid buying pre-ground flax and sesame seeds, as the oils oxidized and become rancid, rendering them more harmful than beneficial
Currently no menses? Here’s how to seed cycle
I suggest postpartum moms, postmenopausal women or those who are experiencing amenorrhea (no periods), to seed cycle according to the moon cycle.
Simply use the new moon as your day 1 (flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds), and at full moon switch to the second half of cycle, day 15 (sunflower and sesame seeds).
Some suggestions and a yummy recipe:
It can be challenging to incorporate the same 2 ingredients in your diet everyday, so I am happy to mention a few simple ways to add them to a meal and a few creative ideas to spice things up.
- Sprinkle ground seeds to your salads and soups
- Sprinkle on oatmeal
- Add to smoothie
- Add to granola, sprinkle on yogurt
- Sprinkle on vegetable stir fry and rice
- Sprinkle on coconut curry
- Pumpkin seed Pesto 1see recipe below
- Raw Seed Energy Bars made with seeds according to cycle
- Super Seed Energy Nuggets made with seeds seeds according to cycle
- Sesame and Sunflower seed hummus spread
- Cinnamon Pumpkin seed & Walnut butter
- Sesame Tahini salad dressing and remember to top the salad with Sunflower seeds for easy benefit
- Raw Flax and Carrot crackers
The extra added benefit of using seeds
Not only do these seeds help balance estrogen and progesterone levels, they are also a great source of lignans, an essential fatty acid that has been shown to prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis, reduce heart disease, reduce inflammation, regulate thyroid hormone, and reduce androgen levels (the hormone that is linked to acne and PCOS). Plus the high levels of zinc in pumpkin seeds have been shown to prevent breast cancer.
1Pumpkin Seed Pesto Recipe
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves1⁄3 cup raw pumpkin seeds1⁄3 cup chopped walnuts1⁄4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt1⁄3 cup olive oil3 garlic cloves
- In a food processor, high speed blender or Cuisinart grind walnuts, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, garlic and salt.
- After blended into a fine paste, add in parmesan cheese and blend for a few seconds.Then add parsley and basil, 1/4 cup of each at a time. When well blended add in another 1/4 cup of each and blend, until complete.Store in fridge to eat within 2-3 weeks, or freeze extra in ice cube trays (pop out frozen cubes into a freezer container, for easy serving portions)
So there you have it…Seed Cycling is a simple and easy tool to regulate your hormones. Food is medicine!
Here’s to your health.