Seed Cycling

The trendiest tool for better hormone balance

It is one of the best tools for getting your cycle back on track, balancing your hormones, and making those period problems disappear.

I frequently suggest seed cycling to my patients and even do it myself.

Here is what it can do for your health

One of the best things about seed cycling is that it can be beneficial at any stage in a women’s life, but I often suggest it to women who are going through the process of coming off hormonal birth control as a way to get their natural cycle back and start improving their hormonal health in a natural way.

Seed cycling can help women who struggle with PMS symptoms, poly-cystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), post birth control syndrome, irregular periods, and acne as well as breast tenderness.

To guide you through, I am going to reference a 28 day cycle. Please note that only a small percentage of women have 28 day cycles, your cycle may be longer or shorter, so please don’t stress, just adapt the cycle to fit your cycle.

How can certain seeds, at a certain time of the month, benefit your hormone health?

It simply uses food medicine as the healing modality, alleviating the need for any other therapies, medications, supplements or herbs. Cycling refers to the rotation of different seeds between our menstrual phases, which helps to regulate hormone secretions in the body.

Keep in mind that change takes time and we need to honour the delicate balances and sensitivities of your body. It can take three to four cycles before you begin to see noticeable changes, it will take time, but be patient and allow the power of food to heal your body.

Consult with a holistic practitioner if you have severe hormonal imbalances and need individualized support

The natural solution

The easiest and healthiest way is seed cycling. A low risk way to potentially improve your menstrual cycle with real foods. These include, flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds. These seeds are tiny powerhouses that may be able to improve symptoms relating to irregular periods, moods, cramps, etc.

For postmenopausal women or those experiencing amenorrhea (no periods), seed cycling can be done by following the full moon cycle.

Why seed cycling?

Day 1 to 14

You will consume one tablespoon of each of the specific freshly ground seeds per day in equal parts (two tablespoons in total). This is where a period tracker or a calendar can help.

When your period arrives, eat one tablespoon freshly ground flax seeds and one tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds till day 14.This is known as your follicular phase.

The flax seeds and pumpkin seeds can naturally help to increase your estrogen levels and providing fibre to support estrogen metabolism. Don’t worry you won’t be getting excess levels of estrogen leading to estrogen dominance.

Along with seed cycling, fish oil supplementation during the follicular phase can be a beneficial addition as it’s a powerful anti- inflammatory and another great source of omega 3s.

If your follicular phase lasts longer than three weeks, this is a sign that you may have some imbalances.

Flax seeds

  • High in lignans that can prevent osteoporosis, improve estrogen and progesterone ratios as well as heart disease and women
  • High in omega 3s

Pumpkin seeds

  • Rich in Zinc (Helps the body to prepare for progesterone secretion in the next phase)
  • High in omega 3s

Day 15 to 28

After ovulation, on day 15 of your cycle, eat one tablespoon of fresh ground sunflower seeds and one tablespoon of sesame seeds. This is known as the luteal phase. In this phase of the cycle your progesterone levels rise and peak.

The sunflower and sesame seeds boost the progesterone hormone that is responsible for easing unwanted PMS symptoms like bloat, night sweats and insomnia.

Sesame seeds

  • High in lignans to modulate estrogen and progesterone levels
  • High in omega 6 (Which converts to GLA that helps to reduce inflammation in the body, relating to PMS)

Sunflower seeds

  • High in Selenium (Which helps to support the liver and prevent clogging of excess hormones)
  • High in omega 6 (Which converts to GLA that helps to reduce inflammation in the body, relating to PMS)

Points to remember

  • Always use raw (unroasted, unsalted/ seasoned) seeds to ensure they have their medicinal properties in full.
  • Keep the seeds in a cool, dark place, preferably the fridge as the seeds can oxidize when left in sunlight and warmer temperatures.
  • Seeds begin to oxidize roughly 15 minutes after being grounded, so fresh grinding is best. If this becomes an inconvenience, keep the grounded seeds in the freezer and take the portion as needed.
  • The seeds don’t have to be eaten on their own. I like to get creative here, add them to your salads, soups and smoothies.

About the author

Qualified chef, Health Coach and Nutritionist based in Johannesburg & Cape Town, South Africa

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