A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SEED CYCLING: HOW TO BALANCE HORMONES NATURALLY

#SHEeats

Did you know that eating a combination of different seeds throughout your menstrual cycle has been shown to improve hormone balance? This practice is known as seed cycling. You rotate different seeds depending on where you are in your cycle. You can start this at any time just as long as you are choosing the correct seed combo for where you are in your cycle. 

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SEED CYCLING TO SUPPORT HEALTHY CYCLE:

Week 1-2 (Day 1-13 (or until ovulation):
During these weeks women need more estrogen in order to build up the endometrium (uterine lining). It is also called the follicular phase. Eating pumpkin and flax seeds during the first two weeks of your cycle helps balance estrogen production and absorption in the body. They both provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids, which promote healthy cell membranes, allowing hormones to reach their destinations within the body.

  • Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which aids in the release of progesterone.
  • Flax seeds contain a chemical compounds called lignans that help block excess estrogen.

Week 3-4 (Day 14-28 (or until period):
Around day 14 of your cycle your body shifts from estrogen production to progesterone production. This is known as the luteal phase. During this phase, your corpus luteum begins to release progesterone. You should switch from eating flax and pumpkin seeds to sesame and sunflower seeds. Sesame and sunflower seeds support the natural balance and production of hormones in the body.

  • Sesame seeds, have a high zinc content to help stimulate progesterone production.
  • Sunflower seeds contain selenium, a trace mineral that assists the liver in detoxification to clear hormones. They also contain vitamin E that can help with progesterone production. 

WHAT TO DO:

On Day 1-14 of your cycle, take 1 tablespoon each freshly ground raw, organic pumpkin and flax seeds daily the first 2 weeks into your cycle.

From Day 15 to the start of your period, take 1 tablespoon each of freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds daily.

Have fun blending them into smoothies or sprinkling on top of salads, organic-pasture-raised yogurt, almond or coconut yogurt, chia pudding, and more. I'll even occasionally stir them into soups or put them on wraps. 

Ideally your choice of seeds should be raw, and then soaked and sprouted (except flax seeds, they do not need to be soaked or sprouted). Ideally choose organic as well. But the most important aspect is getting RAW seeds, otherwise the trace nutrients are not present and destroyed by commercial roasting. Roasted seeds will NOT help you regulate your hormones. If the trace minerals are not there, you will not get the desired results.  

Have you tried seed cycling? Let us know in the comments below! 

Taste the Joy,

 Jennifer Klotz, MS, RD, LDN

Jennifer Klotz, MS, RD, LDN

Jennifer Klotz, MS, RD, LDN

As a holistic nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s of Nutrition and Wellness, Jennifer is dedicated to helping people live a healthy life by looking at the whole picture (their stress levels, sleep, physical activity, work environment, relationships and nutrition collectively). We love her passion for healing the body through nutrition (and the new recipes she’s always passing around!). She provides educational awareness regarding the knowledge and understanding of food sensitivities and nutritional issues, and offers guidance and the tools needed to help everyone lead a healthier, more balanced life!

References:
Menstruation: The Sacred Cycle: Redefining our menstrual cycle and PMS, a must-read article by Gina Cloud

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, the classic guide to living well in a woman’s body by Christiane Northrup, MD

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 77(5):1215 – 1219

Goss, P.E., Li, T., Theriault, M., Pinto, S., Thompson, L.U. (2000). Effects of dietary flaxseed in women with cyclical mastalgia. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 64:49

Gossell-Williams, M., Hyde, C., Hunter, T., Simms-Stewart, D,. Fletcher, H., McGrowder, D., Walters, C.A. (2011). Improvement in HDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women supplemented with pumpkin seed oil: pilot study. Climacteric, 14(5):558-64.

Zaineddin, A.K., Buck, K., Vrieling, A., Heinz, J., Flesch-Janys, D., Linseisen, J., Chang-Claude, J. (2012). The association between dietary lignans, phytoestrogen-rich foods, and fiber intake and postmenopausal breast cancer risk: a German case-control study. Nutrition and Cancer, 64(5):652-65.