Written by Chelsea DeColle, CNP
Have you ever heard of seed cycling? Its popularity has grown in recent years as people are searching for more natural ways of supporting their bodies AND becoming more aware of the many benefits and the power seeds hold for supporting hormone health. While seed cycling is a very common practice in the Naturopathic and Traditional Herbal Medicine world it is only now making its way into the mainstream.
So, what is seed cycling and why should you consider trying it?
Seed cycling is the rotating (or cycling) of different seeds through your daily diet every month. It is a natural and easy way to support optimal hormone health and promote more balanced hormones throughout the different phases of a women’s menstrual cycle.1 Seeds like flax and pumpkin are tiny powerhouses of nutrients, providing healthy fats (Omega 3 and Omega 6) and minerals for our bodies.2 They also contain beneficial compounds like lignans aka phytoestrogens, which support healthy hormone detoxification.3
Our bodies need all of these components (and more) to function at their best, but far too often factors both internally and externally from the world around us can throw that balance off. Symptoms show up like changes to your cycle, mood swings, painful periods, breast tenderness, the list goes on.3 And hormonal imbalances are becoming far too common now, so this is where the superpowers of seeds can help to regain some of that balance.
Is seed cycling just for women with a period, or just for women?
No! Research suggests that women who are in menopause can still benefit from the many nutrients and beneficial properties of seeds for support of menopausal symptoms as well as continuing to support overall hormone health.1,4 And men can also seed cycle as they are not immune to hormonal imbalances and can also feel the effects of estrogen dominance.
How do I seed cycle?
Start by following your individual monthly menstrual cycle. If you don’t have a regular cycle or are going through menopause then simply use the moon phases as your guide! The first 14 days of your cycle, from Day 1 of your period to ovulation (Day 14), is known as the follicular phase. For these 14 days consume 1-2 tbsp of flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds (freshly ground is best).
The second half of your cycle from Day 15 to 28 is known as the luteal phase. During these 14 days consume a combination of 1-2 tbsp of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. You will continue to cycle through these two pairs of seeds every month. Give yourself and your body time to adjust as it may take a few months before you see some changes in your hormone balance. And get creative with how you use the seeds - they can be ground up and added to smoothies, breakfast bowls, baking, energy balls or even savoury dishes and salads.
- Fullscript. Seed cycling. Accessed Sept 20, 201 at: https://fullscript.com/blog/seed-cycling?utm_source=Adwords&utm_medium=PaidSearch&utm_campaign=DSA_Homepage&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5PDVjf2D8wIVDSCtBh0nzAd1EAAYASAAEgJdC_D_BwE
- Dutch Test. Seed cycling. Accessed Sept 20, 2021 at: https://dutchtest.com/2020/07/20/seed-cycling/
- Rietjens, I., Louisse, J., & Beekmann, K. (2017). The potential health effects of dietary phytoestrogens. British journal of pharmacology, 174(11), 1263–1280. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.13622
- Cetisli NE, Saruhan A, Kivcak B. The effects of flaxseed on menopausal symptoms and quality of life. Holist Nurs Pract. 2015 May-Jun;29(3):151-7. doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000085. PMID: 25882265.