Have you heard of seed cycling?
It’s a holistic approach to balancing female hormones involving flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds. Many use seed cycling to support PMS, boost fertility, and stimulate menstruation in the case of amenorrhea. The idea is that this combination of seeds, when consumed at certain phases of the cycle, promote healthy levels of estrogen and progesterone. The seeds can be added to your morning smoothie, sprinkled on oatmeal, or mixed into a trail mix.
The menstrual cycle is made up of four phases, but seed cycling just focuses on two: the follicular phase and the luteal phase.
The first day of menstruation to day 14 is referred to as the follicular phase. At this point, a hormone called follicle stimulating hormone prompts the ovary to produce around 20 follicles, which house immature eggs. Estrogen levels are rising and the uterus thickens in preparation for a possible pregnancy.
During the follicular phase, it’s advised to consume 1-2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and 1-2 tablespoons of flax.
In days 14-28, the follicles transform into a structure called the corpus luteum, according to BetterHealth.org. A combination of hormones maintain the thickness of the uterine wall to prepare for a fertilized egg. This is called the luteal phase.
During this stage of the cycle, aim to consume 1-2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds and 1-2 tablespoons of sesame seeds.
It’s best to use freshly ground seeds for this practice, if you can. Grind them in a coffee grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Grinding them daily is ideal, but if that won’t work for you, just store your ground seeds in the refrigerator between uses. Check out this post by Nourished by Nutrition for additional information on seed cycling.
*These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. Check with your doctor before trying seed cycling. Do not go against your doctor’s advice.*