True or False: The power of food can help you balance your hormones?
We have a lot of evidence to say… it just may be true! Seed cycling is a method of using food, specifically seeds, during different phases of the menstrual cycle to help balance your hormones, more specifically, estrogen and progesterone. There are two phases of the menstrual cycle: the follicular phase and the luteal phase.
The follicular phase starts on Day 1 (first day of your menstrual period or bleeding) this is when estrogen should be the primary hormone for 14 days. During days 1-14 take 1 tablespoon of flaxseed (ground flax seed is okay but don’t use flax oil) and 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds daily until day 14.
If pregnancy does not take place, on Day 14 is when the luteal phase starts. This is when progesterone should be the primary hormone from Day 15 to Day 28. During this next phase take 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds and 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds daily until day 28 to prevent estrogen dominance.
Meet the seeds
Flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, magnesium and potassium all of which help to regulate hormones. Their high fiber content helps with the elimination of excess estrogen.
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc and help support progesterone production and the release of the egg – which is the goal of the follicular phase.
Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, which is necessary for estrogen metabolism in order to increase progesterone.
Sesame seeds have phytoestrogens known as lignans, which are known to block estrogen. If estrogen is higher than progesterone during the luteal phase, estrogen dominance can occur which could lead to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and endometriosis.
Research suggests that positive hormonal changes have been noted after just a few months of seed cycling.
Notes about seeds
It’s best to consume seeds raw rather than roasted or seasoned. Keep them in the fridge or freezer to prevent them going rancid and ideally, grind your seeds immediately before consuming them.
Feel free to sprinkle them on salads, museli or add them into a smoothie or make a delicious seed butter or tahini.
(Also, when possible, buy organic seeds, most non-organic seeds contain xenoestrogens)
Also! All info here is meant for some health inspiration only and is not intended as medical advice. Ask your naturopath if you should incorporate seed cycling into your treatment plan if you think this is something you might need. Book your appointment now if your periods are causing you problems. Pain free periods are possible!