Seeds happen to provide the body with specific nutrients necessary to build your hormones in sync with fluctuations in hormone levels.
Want the geeky facts?
Studies show that:
Vitamin E and omega 3- and omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in flax seeds, sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds are essential for hormone production and ovarian follicular function.
Zinc, present in meaningful concentrations in pumpkin and sesame seeds, helps to improve the formation of the corpus luteum, progesterone levels, and gets the endometrium prepped for implantation.
Lignans, which flax and sesame seeds are especially rich in, are converted to enterolactones in the presence of healthy gut flora, which help keep your estrogen levels healthy.
While one of the most popular techniques used to be to consume specific seeds at specific stages within your menstrual cycle, clinical studies are indicating it is actually the consistent consumptions of seeds that make the most impact.
THE BENEFITS OF [CONSISTENT] SEED CONSUMPTION
decrease in breast tenderness: cyclical breast tenderness is a common complaint among women. It typically comes on right before your period. There have been studies showing improvement in symptoms when flaxseeds are included regularly in the diet.
painful period relief: The cause of those painful periods is rooted in excess prostaglandins, estrogen dominance and inflammation. Because these seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids they can help lower inflammation and the effects of prostaglandins. The lignans and nutrients support the elimination of estrogen in the body so you don’t run into issues with estrogen dominance. While seed cycling can be excellent for alleviating period pain, I also typically encourage my clients to combine their seed cycling with magnesium, and fish oil, while the seeds work their “magic."
PCOS support: Seeds are a great source of zinc which supports healthy testosterone production. Testosterone is an androgen and in PCOS, androgens are responsible for the hair loss, acne, and hirsutism [hair growth on the face, chest and abdomen] that are commonly experienced by women with PCOS. Research has shown that women consuming flaxseeds have more favorable levels of androgens and the fibers help with estrogen elimination while also supporting gut health. These seeds are also rich in essential fatty acids, which support healthy oil production and decrease inflammation. Other nutrients, like zinc, found in these seeds are important for skin health and acne management.
clear skin: While acne can be due to a number of factors including excess testosterone, estrogen dominance, poor gut health, inefficient liver detoxification, and lack of quality nutrients in the diet, acne is also common when women come off of birth control due to what is called an androgen rebound, an increase in testosterone production after stopping birth control. Consuming seeds with zinc will help offset the dark side of this rebound working to recalibrate levels of hormones more efficiently.
CREATIVE SEED CONSUMPTION IDEAS
make a fresh seed butter to enjoy with fresh fruit
mix seeds into a smoothie
make a raw seed based granola
sprinkle seeds on salads
include seeds in a no-bake energy bar or bite recipe
enjoy a homemade raw pumpkin seed pesto
whip up a fresh tahini butter
add seeds to oatmeal or yogurt
GO PRO BY TRACKING THE IMPACT:
In order to fully capitalize on this new flex "seed" move, you will want to be tracking your cycle daily. What you don't track you don't change. And knowing the impact this new consistent addition has on your cycle will enable you to evaluate if it is a keeper.
As you track your cycle, remember, day one is the first day you experience your period. Notice the impact seeds have on the first 1/2 of your cycle, ovulation [if still ovulating] and the second 1/2 of your cycle. In peri-menopause or menopause? Even better, this addition is going to be an even more impactful.
HOW LONG DO I NEED TO PRACTICE THIS?
You'll want to give yourself three full months / cycles to note any changes. Typically, seed cycling needs to be coupled with other hormone supportive practices to have a noticeable effect. In other words, you can't expect to seed cycle and continue to dodge vegetables and skip sleep and create any real change to your hormones.
You don't have to be dogmatic about it, but it is a simple tool to support your hormone health and leverage food to create better hormones.
A WORD OF WARNING:
As you work to incorporate seeds in your diet, be sure to consume them in whole form only. Seed oils happen to be very fragile and have an inflammatory impact on the body. Taking strides to store your seeds in the fridge and avoid packaged goods with seed oils in them will protect you from the more negative and inflammatory side effects of damaged seed oils.