Seed Cycling 101
If you follow anyone in the wellness sphere on social media, you’ll no doubt have heard mention of the concept of Seed Cycling. Today, guest post author Sarah Michelle shares a super simple breakdown of this practice and why it might be right for you.
So what is Seed Cycling anyways?
It is a gentle way of supporting your body’s natural hormone production throughout your monthly menstrual cycle. Basically, by consciously consuming certain seeds throughout the two distinct phases of your menstrual cycle (follicular and luteal) you can encourage your body’s production of two main hormones – estrogen and progesterone. Over time, this can potentially help regulate hormone fluctuations during your cycle and help correct hormonal imbalances and cycle irregularities. It is simple and easy to follow, and results are usually seen within the first three months. And most importantly, it doesn’t involve any synthetic chemicals or pharmaceuticals which may cause side effects. Before we dive into the details, let’s take a look at the phases of your menstrual cycle. Your cycle can actually be considered in four distinct phases, but for the purpose of Seed Cycling we will focus on the two main phases it effects:
Phase 1 – Follicular Phase
Begins on the first day of your menstrual cycle and ends the day of ovulation. During this phase, estrogen levels increase to produce ovulation
Phase 2 – Luteal Phase
Begins the day after ovulation and ends when your period begins. This phase begins with a drop in estrogen levels, followed by a rise in the hormone progesterone
Why does this matter?
This delicate balance of hormones is what determines the health of your menstrual cycle as well as overall mood, energy levels, and fertility. When the balance of these two hormones is out of whack it can cause any of the following: short or long periods, fatigue, food cravings, hormonal acne, water retention, weight gain, irritability, anxiety, PMS, or trouble conceiving. Likewise, by supporting your body’s hormone fluctuations you can balance these hormones naturally and relieve a lot of these issues.
So, how do I do it?
The fundamentals of seed cycling are simple – consume certain seeds during the follicular phase, and certain seeds during the luteal phase. These seeds can be eaten raw, put into smoothies, sprinkled on salads or oatmeal, however you want to enjoy them. Just make sure they are raw (not roasted) and unsalted. Here are the basic principles:
Phase 1 (Follicular) – 1 tbsp each of flax + pumpkin seeds
Phase 2 (Luteal) – 1 tbsp each of sesame + sunflower seeds
How does it work?
Essentially, the seeds recommended for Phase 1 have a different fatty acid and nutrient profile than the seeds recommended for phase two.
Flax seeds are high in lignans which help bind excess estrogen so that it can be eliminated from the body
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which supports progesterone secretion
Phase 2 Seeds:
Sesame seeds are also high in lignans which modulate the production of both estrogen and progesterone
Sunflower seeds are high in Selenium, which supports healthy hormone balance
The Bottom Line
Seed cycling can be a great option for those dealing with hormonal issues, or anyone who wants to nurture healthy hormone balance. It’s incredibly easy to work into your daily life and is easy on your wallet. Let me know below if you’ve ever tried seed cycling and what your experience has been!
Disclaimer: if you’re struggling with irregular menstrual cycles or other hormonal issues there could be a number of reasons why – please contact your care provider or health representative before implementing this program.