When your endocrine system is suffering due to any external or internal influences, irregular periods, insomnia, breakouts, anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, etc. are common. This is when Seed Cycling for Hormone Imbalance is helpful.
Seed Cycling for Hormone Imbalance
Lately, I’ve been reading about this naturopathic remedy that is claimed to balance hormones during the menstrual cycle. However, it must be noted that there is not enough scientific evidence to back this claim.
My aim here is to guide you through the dynamics of seed cycling and help you understand this method more clearly.
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is a practice of consuming specific seeds in accordance with the phases of your menstrual cycle to promote the healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone in the system.
Seed cycling is one of the easiest ways you can support your hormones in a gentle, yet effective way, according to NourishedbyNutrition.com
It is said that seed cycling can help to increase fertility, regulate periods, ease symptoms of menopause, and also support conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome, and endometriosis.
What seeds are used and how does seed cycling work?
Typically there are four kinds of seeds used at different stages – Pumpkin, Flax, Sunflower, and Sesame.
Seed cycling works by consuming the following:
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds + 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seeds during Phase-1 of your menstrual cycle (i.e. from day 1 to 14.) AND,
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds + 1 tablespoon of freshly ground sesame seeds during Phase-2 of your menstrual cycle (i.e. from day 15 to 28)
Phase-1 (Follicular Phase)
This phase begins on the first day of your menstrual cycle and generally lasts for 14 days. During this phase, estrogen levels are surged as eggs in the ovaries ripen. (Preparation for ovulation)
Flax and Pumpkin seeds promote a healthy balance of estrogen and are high in omega-3s.
Flax seeds – They contain phytoestrogens called lignans which blocks the excess production of estrogen.
Pumpkin seeds – They are rich sources of Zinc which promotes the production of progesterone for the next phase of the cycle.
Phase – 2 (Luteal Phase)
This phase begins on the 14th day of your menstrual cycle. During this phase ovulation occurs and once the egg is released the levels of progesterone rise steadily.
Sesame and Sunflower seeds promote a healthy balance of progesterone and estrogen and are high in omega-6s.
Sesame – Also contains lignans that regulate estrogen-progesterone levels.
Sunflower – Vitamin E boosts progesterone level and high selenium content also aids in hormonal balance.
What if my cycle is irregular or I’m menopausal?
If you’re experiencing irregular cycles or you don’t have a 28-day cycle then don’t worry, you can easily adjust seed consumption according to your cycle length. For instance, if your cycle is 32 days then divide it in 16 -16 days.
Also, for irregular and pre/post-menopausal women it’s recommended to follow the phases of the moon as a guide. Start consuming phase-1 seeds with the first day of the new moon and switch to phase-2, 14 days later.
How should you consume seeds?
You can mix them in smoothies, oatmeal, salads, yogurt, or you can be creative and develop your own recipe.
But, remember that all the beneficial components of seeds are present in their oils. So, the small seeds like flax and sesame which have indigestible hard outer shells must be ground before use to get optimum results.
Just make sure that you buy organic whole seeds and grind them later when needed. Also, many sources recommend that roasting the seeds reduces their nutritional value however there are no substantial studies to support this. But, make sure that you store them packed in an airtight container and in a cool and dry place, preferably in refrigerator or a freezer.
Also, remember that it’s ok if you forget to eat your seeds on a particular day. This method is like extra support for your endocrine system. Therefore, don’t stress if you miss any dose because that stress may further add in harming your hormonal balance.
Are there any side effects?
The simple answer is NO!
Though there is insufficient evidence to support the claims of seed cycling, including flax, sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds daily in your diet is really beneficial for maintaining overall health.
Additionally, they are loaded with dietary fibers, vitamins, healthy fats, minerals, and phytonutrients which provide numerous health benefits. For instance, flax, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds may protect against breast cancer, sesame seeds have anti-inflammatory properties.
So, even if Seed Cycling for Hormone Imbalance doesn’t work for you, the extra nutrients you consume will surely have some positive effect on your system.
How many cycles does it take to have a change?
Seed cycling is a powerful natural method to promote healthy hormonal balance in your body. But understand that, it’s not an overnight fix for anything nor it is meant to cure serious underlying conditions.
Usually, it takes 3-4 months to notice any substantial results. So, if you really want to adopt this technique, be prepared to make it a habit.
Should I try seed cycling for hormone imbalance?
As discussed, seeds are one of the most nutrient-dense foods which offer numerous health benefits.
However, the evidence claiming the benefits of seed cycling are weak, for instance, lignans found in flax and sesame seeds have very weak effects on hormone levels and also don’t have any major role reducing menopausal symptoms.
Nonetheless, consuming seeds on a daily basis will provide you with extra nutrients which greatly helps to improve your overall health.
Moreover, if you are feeling symptoms of hormonal imbalance then focus on changing your lifestyle, including only one type of food in your diet and hoping for the best probably won’t work.
Nonetheless, if you decide to go ahead with seed cycling, do it the right way by excluding highly processed, packaged, and sugary foods from your diet and adding other healthy options with some physical activity in your daily regime.
Does Seed Cycling Really Work?
Seed cycling is a popular naturopathic technique that claims to balance your hormones, regulate periods and probably boost your fertility. However, there are not enough scientific studies to prove this.
But, there aren’t any risks in including seeds in your diet. So, you can try this method and see if it works for you.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of PCOS, infertility, painful periods, over-bleeding, etc, it is advisable that you consult a physician just to be sure that you are not suffering from any underlying condition.