Balance your Menstrual Hormones with Seed Cycling
or many women, the menstrual cycle can be a difficult process, punctuated with hormonal swings that cause fluctuations in mood, body temperature, emotional regulation and general wellbeing. Seed cycling is a simple and natural technique that helps your body to rebalance its hormone levels throughout the different phases of your menstrual cycle, using natural chemicals found in seeds.
What is seed cycling?
Oestrogen and progesterone are the two primary hormones that help regulate your menstrual cycle. During the first half of your cycle, osetrogen levels rise, while during the second half of your cycle, oestrogen levels recede while progesterone levels rise. Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, such as emotional fluctuations, cramps, acne, anovulation and more, occur when the delicate balance between oestrogen and progesterone levels is disrubted.
Seed cycling helps your body naturally re-balance its hormone levels by including different seeds during the different phases of your menstrual cycle. The concept is very simple: The seed hulls contain 'lignans', which are chemicals that help bind up excess hormones, while the seed oils contain essential fatty acids that provide the building blocks for making hormones.
How to practice seed cycling
This protocol should be followed according to your menstrual cycle if it is regular, or according to the phases of the moon cycle if your own cycle is irregular or absent. For instance, you would start with Phase 1 of the protocol on the first day of the new moon and begin phase 2 of the protocol approximately 14 days later when the moon is full.
Phase 1 (follicular phase) - Days 1 to 14 of your cycle
Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of your period and the two weeks that follow make up the follicular phase. This is the oestrogen-dominant phase of your cycle. Everyday take:
- 1 tablespoon of organic, raw and ground flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon of organic, raw and ground pumpkin seeds
These seeds are both rich in omega 3 fatty acids which promote healthy cell membranes. Flax seeds contain lignans which will block excess oestrogen in the first phase of your cycle. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which supports progesterone production and release for the second phase of your cycle.
Phase 2 (luteal phase) - Days 15 to 28 of your cycle
Ovulation marks the beginning of Phase 2 of your cycle where your body shifts from oestrogen production to progesterone production. This is known as the luteal phase. Everyday take:
- 1 tablespoon of organic, raw and ground sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoons of organic, raw and ground sunflower seeds
These seeds are high in omega 6 fatty acids. Sesame seeds, which also contain lignans, help to block excess oestrogen. Sunflower seeds provide the body with selenium, a trace mineral that assists the liver in its detoxification process and thus overall hormonal balance.
It is best to purchase the whole seeds (raw, organic and un-hulled) and use a coffee grinder to grind them. Only prepare a 2-day supply at a time as the ground seeds are susceptible to oxidation and can go rancid. Store the ground seeds in an airtight container or jar and keep in the refrigerator to maintain maximum freshness.
The easiest way to consume the seeds is in smoothies, salads, soups, sprinkled on cereal or porridge and added to vegetables or grains. Or you could just eat them on their own. The important thing is that you remain consistent and achieve your quota every day, so why not set a reminder in your phone, or make a check-mark in your diary every evening to make sure you don't miss a day. If you do miss a day, don't worry! Just pick up where you left off the next day. The effect of seed balancing is cumulative so missing a day ocasionally isn't a disaster. Here is a great seed cereal recipe to get you started.
Many people who begin to practice seed cycling do notice changes within the first month, but on average, it can take 3 - 4 cycles for any significant and lasting change to occur, so be patient and consistent with this and allow the improvements to happen in their own time. If you decide to try seed cycling, please do get in touch via the comments section below and let me know how you get on, or why not join my free, private Facebook group, Your Health is in Your Hands , where you can discuss your progress and a whole range of other current health and nutrition topics with like-minded people.