What is seed cycling and how does it work?
One of the best things about seed cycling is that it can be beneficial at any stage in a woman's life, but is especially great for 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 naturally.
Women struggling with symptoms of PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), post-birth control syndrome (PBCS), irregular periods, acne, and breast tenderness benefit from adding seed cycling to their routine.
How to start seed cycling.
Day 1 of your cycle is the first day that your period begins. And days 1 through to 14 of your cycle are considered the follicular phase. During the follicular phase, your oestrogen is increasing and an egg is maturing in preparation for ovulation. Ovulation, which typically occurs on day 14 for women with a 28-day cycle and is characterized by the release of an egg, marks the end of the follicular phase. On day 15, you enter the luteal phase. In this phase, the now-empty follicle turns into a structure called the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone and helps thicken your uterine lining to prepare for a pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, you will get your period. The lining of your uterus, also known as the endometrium, will shed during your period, and then your body will begin building it again in order to prepare for a fertilized egg. So how do you seed cycle thought this 28-day series of events? Let's start with the follicular phase:
When your period arrives, eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds and raw pumpkin seeds through day 14. These seeds can help naturally increase your oestrogen while also providing fibre to support healthy oestrogen metabolism. It's an excellent way to create a healthy level of oestrogen without leading to excess levels, also known as oestrogen dominance. Seeds are rich in essential fatty acids and nutrients, like zinc and selenium, which are the building blocks needed to create awesomely healthy hormones.
Flax seeds in particular are rich in lignans, which have a weak estrogenic effect and have been shown to be beneficial in preventing osteoporosis, improving oestrogen and progesterone ratios, and heart disease in women. Research has also shown that women with PCOS who consume flax seeds may also experience a positive shift in androgens, which are what cause hair loss, acne, and hirsutism for women with this condition.
Following ovulation, or on day 15 of your cycle, eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh ground sunflower and sesame seeds. The second half of your cycle is your luteal phase, when your progesterone levels rise and peak. Progesterone is the hormone that is responsible for easing unwanted PMS symptoms like bloating, mood swings, and insomnia.
Sesame seeds have been shown to be beneficial for women's hormones, even through menopause. Sesame and sunflower seeds also contain lignans and essential fatty acids that support the hormones that carry us through the luteal phase.
What if I don't get periods?
For postpartum mums, postmenopausal women or those who are experiencing amenorrhea (no periods), seed cycling can be done by following the moon cycle. Use the new moon as your day 1 and eat flax seeds and pumpkin seeds. When the full moon arrives, switch to the sunflower and sesame seeds.
Source: Seed Cycling For Hormone Balance: Benefits & How To Do It (mindbodygreen.com)