Seed Cycling is a natural way to nourish hormones. It simply means to nourish yourself with 4 different types of seeds throughout a month. Similar to what we observe in nature, where seasons change and cycle through their own rhythm, women's hormones cycle throughout their monthly cycle, into per-menopause, menopause, and post menopause. We are all bio-individually different, and bodies need varying nutrients throughout a month and our life cycle, to support our longevity and vitality. Rotating food helps ensure optimal macro and micro nutrients for the body, supporting hormonal fluctuations and ensuring deep nourishment for a healthy and happy life.
WHAT YOU"LL NEED
Four (4) seeds for Seed Cycling are
HOW TO SEED CYCLE:
1-2 tbsp of ground flax seed (flax meal) and 1-2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds each day for two weeks.
1-2 tbsp of sesame seeds and 1-2 tbsp of sunflower seeds each day for two weeks.
WHEN TO START SEED CYCLE
1-14 days Follicular to Ovulation Phase or start the first day of the New Moon
15-28 days Luteal Phase to Menstrual Phase or the first day after the Full Moon
Flax seeds (must be in the ground form), otherwise when consumed whole, you'll poop it out whole. Truth!
"To ensure high bioavailability of its bioactive components, flaxseed should be consumed in the ground form." When you purchase organic whole flax seed, make sure to grind the seeds, either using your own spice grinder; or simply buy pre-ground organic flax meal at your favorite food store. That's it!
Consume 1-2 tbsp of ground flax seeds (flax meal) each day for two weeks. I like to sprinkle flax meal on freshly cut up seasonal fruit. Flax seeds contain monosaturated fats, which are healthy fats, that when consumed with complex carbohydrates like fruit, also help prevent a glucose spike. Cool - right? Watch this video to learn more.
Flax meal has a bit of a nutty flavor, it's not sweet nor savory, so it lends itself to any dish. You can dilute 1-2 tbsp of flax meal in 8oz water and drink it once a day, to relieve constipation naturally.
If you currently follow a whole foods plant based diet, you can substitute eggs for flax meal in your baking goods. Basically 1 egg = 1 tbsp flax meal diluted in 3tbsp of water.
Flax seeds are high in compounds known as lignans, which have been shown to positively impact women’s hormonal health from PMS to Menopause. Specifically, reduction of menopausal symptoms and improvement in the overall quality of life.
Flax meal is truly a 'superfood'. And the best part is that it's available in most grocery stores, it's affordable and a healthy way to support your hormones naturally, without nasty toxic side effects.
Pumpkin seeds (can be consumed whole or in ground form, my favorite are sprouted pumpkin seeds).
Consume 1-2 tbsp of whole pumpkin seeds each day for two weeks. I like to sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads, or in my morning oatmeal or eat them as a snack. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which is great for supporting healthy testosterone levels (needed for building muscle), while supporting both estrogen production and your metabolism. Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants that help boost your immunity and lower inflammation (think clear skin).
In my own coaching practice, women who've practiced seed cycling for minimum 3 months, will often report improved sleep. Pumpkin seeds may explain this, since they contain tryptophan, which the body uses to create serotonin and melatonin. This study is fascinating, because they reported that eating ground up pumpkin seeds along with carbs, had similar effect as therapeutic grade tryptophan for treatment of chronic insomnia. And we all know that poor sleep can create hormonal imbalance, so go ahead and enjoy 1-2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds a day for happy and healthy hormones, while you're catching zzz's.
Pumpkin seed extract has been studied as well, specifically on estradiol production and estrogen receptor/progesterone receptors. Basically in this study they looked at the effects of pumpkin seed extract on ER/PR expression. Findings showed that since pumpkin seed extract contains lignans and flavones it significantly downregulated ER and upregulated PR, highlighting positive effects of lignans (flax seeds contain lignans too!) in breast cancer prevention and treatment. Talk about using food as medicine!
Sesame seeds (can be consumed whole, my favorite are black sesame seeds).
Consume 1-2 tbsp of sesame seeds each day for two weeks. Switch from Flax Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds, to Sesame Seeds and Sunflower seeds after two weeks and rotate in that manner moving forward. I like to roast sesame seeds, and enjoy their roasted flavor on top of stir-fry.
Both sunflower and sesame seeds support progesterone levels, which is the calming hormone, and therefore key hormone for regulating those nasty mood swings. And yes, you guest it sesame seeds also contain lignans.
In this study they exclusively looked postmenopausal woman, and showed benefits of consuming sesame seeds on their improved lipid profile (lowered cholesterol), antioxidant status and sex hormones, along with anti-inflammatory properties of sesame oil.
Sunflower Seeds (can be consumed whole, my favorite are lightly salted and roasted sunflower seeds). Switch from Flax Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds, to Sesame Seeds and Sunflower seeds after two weeks and rotate in that manner moving forward.
Sunflower seeds are great during menstrual periods, since they're rich in iron. They're also rich in Vitamin E and Calcium both shown to reduce PMS. Sunflower seeds support estrogen detoxification, which can support healthy prostaglandin levels, which basically helps your muscles contract or relax, which may also reduce cramping.
In summary, seed cycling is an affordable and natural way to balance your hormones. It's a nutritional approach to help with the production and elimination of key hormones essential for healthy and happy life. While ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds help detoxify excess estrogen, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds help with progesterone production for happy and healthy hormones. If you are like me, and think of food as medicine, nutritional value of seeds is infinite and given to us by nature to support the body naturally.
Curious to try seed cycling for healthy and happy hormones, but not sure where to start, book a session with me and I'll guide you through it step by step.