26 Jun Help Support Your Hormones Naturally with Seed Cycling
Chances are, if you’re a woman, you’re well-acquainted with all the discomforts associated with the menstrual cycle. From the cramps and breast tenderness to mood swings and night sweats, it’s never easy. Not all women experience the same measure of discomfort; for some, the arrival of ‘Aunt Flow’ means extreme pain, wild rollercoaster emotions, headaches and severe anxiety.
While many women believe they have no choice but to suffer once a month, there could be a completely treatable hormonal imbalance at the root of it all. Of course, the best way to establish this is to seek the opinion of a medical professional.
Once you’ve done this, you may want to consider supporting your system even further with a natural remedy or two. If you’re looking for something really easy to incorporate into your daily routine, seed cycling might just be it.
WHAT IS SEED CYCLING?
As the name suggests, it’s all about ingesting different types of seeds during the two different phases of your cycle – the follicular and the luteal phase. Apart from the fact that these seeds are all rich in Essential Fatty Acids, they also contain lignans, which help balance oestrogen activity in the body. Certain seeds have a more potent effect than others, which means their intake should also be balanced – i.e. taken in cycles – to get the best results for hormonal health.
WHICH SEEDS TO CYCLE AND WHEN
The seeds in question are:
- Flax and pumpkin – to be consumed during the first phase of your cycle, known as the follicular phase
- Sesame and sunflower – to be consumed during the second phase, known as the luteal phase
During the follicular phase of your cycle, your body produces more oestrogen. Flaxseeds are the most potent source of lignans and assist in ridding the body of any excess oestrogen. Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, are high in zinc which supports progesterone production and release for the second phase of your cycle.
Add one tablespoon of both flax- and pumpkin seeds to your diet daily. The best way to do this is by grinding the seeds and sprinkling them into your smoothie, porridge or soup.
During the luteal phase of your cycle, progesterone is the dominant hormone as you start ovulating. For this reason, you can switch from flaxseed’s the more potent oestrogen binding abilities to the gentler balancing act offered by sesame seeds. With their natural selenium content, sunflower seeds also offer good liver support and further hormone regulation during this phase.
Add one tablespoon of both sesame- and sunflower seeds to your diet daily. Same as above, simply add them to your smoothie, porridge or soup.
HOW TO DETERMINE WHICH PHASE YOU’RE IN
If you have a pretty regular 28-day cycle, your follicular phase starts on the day you start to bleed and lasts about 14 days.
This is followed by your luteal phase from day 15 to 28.
If you have an irregular or absent cycle, no need to despair! You can actually follow the cycle of the moon to reap similar benefits. Start with flax and pumpkin seeds on the first day of the new moon, then switch to sesame and sunflower seeds about two weeks later, on the full moon.
This is rooted in the belief that, before our cycles were interrupted by artificial light, the natural cycle for women’s bodies was to ovulate on the full moon and menstruate on the new moon.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM SEED CYCLING?
While introducing these seeds into your diet could certainly have a positive effect on almost anyone’s health, it can be particularly beneficial to women who suffer from any of the following:
- Irregular and/or painful periods
- Extreme PMS (includes mood swings, bloat, headaches)
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and insomnia
- Anyone coming off the pill or other hormonal birth control
- Symptoms of PCOS, Endometriosis and Fibroids
Note: as with all supportive natural treatments, seed cycling will take between three and four months to have any sort of effect on your system. Be patient and, if you like, take some notes about any differences you may notice.
Have you tried seed cycling? Share your experience with us!