When it comes to the intricacy of hormone balance, seed cycling is one of my favorite ways to effectively [yet gently] shift hormones back into balance. Seed cycling is the practice of eating specific seeds to support the key hormones of each phase in the menstrual cycle. The seeds used include flaxseeds, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. I use seed cycling to support women at any stage in a woman’s life and find it especially helpful for women coming off of birth control or struggling with post birth control symptoms like acne, irregular periods, or new onset of PMS.
HOW DOES SEED CYCLING WORK?
Seed cycling provides specific nutrients to help build your hormones in sync with fluctuations in hormone levels.
To use seed cycling you need to know a few things. You’ll be tracking your menstrual cycle and changing your seeds to match the phase you are in.
Day one is the first day you experience your period. That will be the day you begin the follicular phase seeds and you’ll continue through ovulation or day 14. Following ovulation you will switch to luteal phase seeds.
A STEP BY STEP TUTORIAL
Beginning the first day of your cycle you’ll eat 1-2 tablespoons of fresh ground flax seeds and or raw pumpkin seeds, which support both estrogen production and metabolism. It’s a great way to create balanced estrogen, which is key during the follicular phase. Fresh ground flaxseeds in particular are an excellent way to balance estrogen without pushing you towards estrogen dominance, a common cause of heavy periods and PMS. Flaxseeds are also rich in lignans, which have a weak estrogenic effect. Research has shown these lignans to be beneficial in improving estrogen and progesterone ratios.
Following ovulation, which can vary for each woman, you will switch to 1-2 tablespoons each of raw sunflower and sesame seeds. Sunflower and sesame seeds support progesterone levels, which is the key hormone during the luteal phase [the phase following ovulation until your next period].
If you are unaware of when you actually ovulate simply switch to your luteal phase seeds day 15 of the cycle, but if you’re tracking ovulation then you can switch seeds the day following ovulation.
If you’re like me you’re a visual learner. So let’s look at this charted out…