Seed Cycling for Hormone Health
You may have heard me throw around the term “seed cycling” a few times, including in my latest podcast. I mentioned it once a while back on Instagram when I first learned of the method but to be honest I hadn’t really started implementing it at the time. My intention was all there, but my execution was all off (I also blame traveling).
But I recently mentioned it again in describing what I typically include in my breakfast smoothies, and figured it was about time to give the topic it’s own dedicated post!
Now I’m not an expert in hormone balance, though I have spent many hours learning about hormones and fertility in the past few months as part of my Integrative Health Practitioner studies and out of my own innate curiosity as someone currently working through hypothalamic amenorrhea (check out this podcast for my full story).
From what I have researched, seed cycling is a natural method for helping to balance hormones and regulate your menstrual cycle. Whether you have HA, PCOS/estrogen dominance, irregularity, awful PMS symptoms, or are peri/menopausal, seed cycling can help! It’s seriously the jack-of-all-trades of the natural hormone world.
So what is it?
A little bit of nutrition science and a little bit of modern girl woo-woo. My perfect blend!
Each menstrual cycle, you simply alternate between having 2 different kinds of seeds for the first half (14 days) and second half. The idea is also to time it with the cycle of the moon (from new moon to full moon and back again), as we are celestial beings who are indeed impacted by forces beyond this Earth.
If you want the science behind that, think about it this way— the moon creates the tides, right? Well, as humans, we are 90% water. You can’t deny, then, that the moon has an impact on us, too.
OK back to seed cycling. If you don’t have a cycle currently, you can simply start your seed cycling with the new moon (usually around the beginning of the month). Otherwise, start on day 1 of your cycle. For 14 days, you will have 1 tablespoon each of freshly ground raw, organic flax seed and pumpkin seed. Then, with the full moon, you’ll switch to having sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. Simple!
Not only do these seeds contain healthy amounts of fiber, nutrients like zinc and selenium, and omega-6 and omega-3 (key for managing inflammation in the body), but they also contain lignans which which help bind to estrogen and progesterone in our body to help restore them to a balanced ratio.
It doesn’t matter what time of day you consume them, or what you consume them with. The only “rule” is that they should all be raw, organic, and freshly ground. Raw, because cooking them breaks down their beneficial properties; organic, because pesticides are icky; and freshly ground (don’t buy flaxmeal) because grinding them makes them more bioavailable to the body and if you they are ground ahead of time, their natural oils will begin to oxidize and won’t be effective.
Here’s an adorable little graphic I found from Leefromamerica you can keep on your phone!
This may sound like a nuisance, but it’s really not. The easiest way to do this each day is to throw them into a smoothie and they’ll get grounded right up in the blender. Alternatively, you can buy a coffee grinder (I have this one) and grind enough for a few days at a time and store them in an airtight glass jar in the freezer (I use these). I then add them to my morning oats or sprinkle on salads, soups, anything. Super easy!
Will you see a difference right away? Maybe, maybe not. Everyone is different, but most importantly, we need to shift away from this instant gratification mindset that we’re so entrenched in. It could likely take a minimum of 3 months for noticeable changes to occur, so have patience. I’m still playing the waiting game, myself, but it certainly helps to also have faith in the process!