Seed cycling for hormone balance is one of those things that seems far too simple to ever work, but work it does! It’s very gentle nutritional support that encourages your cycle to follow it’s natural rhythm and gives the hormones gentle nudges in the right direction. Best of all, it’s done with whole foods, not with supplements or drugs, so it’s entirely natural, simple, inexpensive and gives you a whole different way to keep in contact with your body. Not only that, it can be helpful in situations that you might not think of right away – like for women post menopause, and for men looking to boost fertility. Yup, men.
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is a gentle way to help your body balance your hormones naturally by adding different seeds into your diet at different phases of your menstrual cycle. Simply adding seeds like flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds to your diet at different times in your cycle can promote healthy hormones by encouraging your body to either produce or detoxify certain hormones. It is literally using foods to either promote estrogen detoxification, in the first half of your cycle, or to increase progesterone production in the second.
Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance – What Does That Actually Help?
Seed cycling for hormone balance helps your body to smoothly find it’s way to a more normal balance and therefore can help with almost any symptom related to hormones including:
- Irregular Cycle
- Infertility or sub-fertility
- Too light or too heavy bleeding
- Post-menopausal hormone symptoms like low libido or depression
- Irregular cycle
Now – having said that, seed cycling for hormone balance is NOT a quick fix – you’re working to re-establish the rhythms of your body and that takes time. Typically you will start noticing changes after 3-4 months (3-4 cycles) but the great news is that because this is simply using foods it is safe to combine with other therapies and can help to enhance their actions. If you have one of the more serious hormonal issues like PCOS, then probably seed cycling isn’t going to fix it, but it can certainly help other measures to work better and help your body to find it’s rhythm.
Quick Review of Your Cycle and The Moon (And Why Those Two Things Go Together):
At heart, you are all wild animals. You love to pretend to be civilized and to wear a veneer of the tame, but truly and deeply your body belongs to the forest. In the “wild state” of being you wouldn’t have been exposed to artificial light and so very powerful signals were sent to your brain by the changing light of the moon, and this was one of the ways your body kept rhythms, including your hormone rhythms. Women’s typical hormone cycles are 28 days, which happens to be the length of a full lunar cycle as well (actually 28 and a fraction days). This is not a coincidence! You are designed to be at peak fertility, meaning ovulation, at the full moon (coincidentally when nights are brightest and you’re more likely to enjoy the sight of a partner). Fertility is lowest, meaning menstruation, at the new moon when nights are darkest. Men’s fertility follows women’s in this scenario so that we’re all most fertile at the same time – it works best that way for the baby-making.
How Do I Seed Cycle?
This is literally eating different seeds for different parts of your monthly rhythm because they help to restore your body to balance. You’ll recall that for women our hormones change in a predictable way with our cycle. Men have fewer hormone fluctuations through the month, but their peak fertility still should match with women’s – and everyone’s peak fertility is typically at the full moon (we are wild animals underneath it all).
Day 1 – 14 (Follicular phase):
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Day 15 – 28 (Luteal phase):
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Eat your 2 tablespoons of mixed seeds every day according to your cycle. The seeds should be ground in a mortar and pestle, coffee grinder or vitamix and added to smoothies, soups, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, salad or however else it’s easy to get them into you. Also of those four seeds try not to add them in other times as snacks because it makes things confusing- so snacking on sunflower seeds on your flax/pumpkin days is probably not going to help your body to find it’s rhythm.
If you feel like you need a little extra push in the right direction, then you can also add supportive oils to this picture. Fish oil, about 1500 mg combined EPA and DHA can be added to Days 1 – 14 and Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) can be added to days 15 – 28.
Why These Seeds?
The pumpkin and flax seed combo is a potent one to help your body detoxify the extra estrogen that can plague this time of the month (the lignans especially from the flax seeds bind to excess estrogen and help your body to eliminate it) High zinc levels in pumpkin seeds prevent the estrogen from converting to harmful forms of testosterone and also prime your body for progesterone production which will happen in the second half of the cycle.
The sunflower and sesame combo used in the luteal phase of the cycle has a much lighter dose of lignans from the sesame seeds, but is rich in zinc and selenium which helps progesterone production. These seeds are also a rich source of linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid which can convert to gamma linolenic acid, which also helps the balance between progesterone and estrogen.
The seeds should be organic and raw if possible and ground fresh every day or two just because the oils in the seeds can go rancid if they’re ground for too long. You can add the seeds in anywhere that it’s easy for you and if you completely hate eating seeds you can mix them into a small glass of juice and gulp it down.
If you’re working on getting pregnant and need more information about how seed cycling and pregnancy go together then read this post – seeds are a tremendous support to your own little sprout. 🙂
The Big Picture of Seed Cycling
If you want a handout form – it’s right here: Seed Cycle for Hormone Balance
Also – if you don’t know the moon’s current phase, here’s that info. Thanks reader Zahra for reminding me that this isn’t here!