What is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is rotating seeds with the intent to balance hormones through your monthly cycle. Seed cycling is said to help with period cramps, PMS, mood and energy. All this in a little seed?
Can a perimenopausal woman, or a post menopausal woman for that matter, seed cycle?
The beauty of seeds are the Essential Fatty Acids and lignans in them. These components are said to modulate hormones and block excess estrogen. Essential Fatty Acids are found in seeds like flax*, sunflower and pumpkin. Seems easy enough, doesn’t it? BONUS: these fatty acids are good for our skin:)
Collectively, we see an imbalance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids in our modern diets. We have processed refined carbohydrate rich foods competing for our taste buds, and much of our salad and cooking oils contain Omega-6 fats. If you do eat animal products, factory farming practices have animals eating grains, not grazing on wild grass to increase Omega-3 composition.
Omega-6 fats can be inflammatory. Use oils like flax or olive for salads, olive oil, and coconut oil. Go for the least refined as possible.
The balance of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is crucial to proper prostaglandin metabolism. The term prostaglandin refers to a compound with hormone like effects and these compounds are important for pain regulation and inflammation as well as hormone synthesis.
I think we can all recall a painful period more than once, no?
There is no scientific evidence FOR or AGAINST seed cycling in the research, from my studies. Consider this: in most cases, we need more essential fatty acids, especially Omega 3’s.
You can start seeds on day 1 of your cycle. This is the first day you start your period and is called the Follicular Phase. (You count until the next day you start bleeding and that is your cycle.)
Phase 1: Day 1-15
This phase contains another phase, the ovulatory phase, where estrogen spikes, but for this purpose, lets just KISS it.
Keep It Simple Superwoman.
Estrogen is high in the first half of our cycles, and in the second half, it dips and progesterone starts to amp up. The imbalance of the two is said to be causing those pesky symptoms of PMS.
In this follicular phase, you would eat 1 tbsp of ground flax and 1 tbsp of ground pumpkin. You can also take an oil supplement that has Omega-3’s like a well sourced fish oil.
The lignans in the flax process estrogen, and pumpkin seeds have zinc. Zinc is important for more than 300 enzyme processes in the body, many of which involve your endocrine system.
Flax is also good for dry skin, and the fatty acids act as raw material for hormone making. This zinc in pumpkin seeds also supports progesterone for the next phase of the cycle.
Pumpkin seeds also have a good amino acid profile, as well as some magnesium. They are a great source of unsaturated fat. Cell membranes need fatty acids to be vital!
Phase 2: Days 15-10
This is the luteal phase. And again, this phase also contains the menstrul phase BUT we are KISS-ing it for this blog post!
In this phase,day 15 – 30 roughly, you will eat 1 tbsp of ground sesame seeds and 1 tbsp of ground sunflower seeds. The sunflower seeds are a source of selenium and have been used in quit smoking strategies, to replace that hand to mouth behaviour!
In fact the sunflower seed has a history of being used to ENHANCE energy. Just looking at a sunflower enhances my energy right? SO big, yellow and beautiful.
These little seeds, raw, not roasted, have beed used as a diuretic, and for constipation. We need to POOP properly to rid our bodies of toxins we ingest, breathe, and even our own waste the body makes, including excess estrogen.
Here you can add in an evening primrose oil supplement. This oil has Gamma-linoleic acid (Omega-6) and evening primrose is a building block of prostaglandins.
There you have it.
That’s a simple version of seed cycling, even though we have FOUR phases in our menstruyal cycle.
But wait… you don’t have a cycle? Don’t worry! You can do this without a cycle, all in tune with the moon! We are already co-ordinated with the waxing and waning of the moon.
Our bodies run in tune with the moon, copying the waxing and waning.
Waxing of the moon is new to full moon. This is Phase 1.
Waning of the moon is full to new moon. This is Phase 2.
Just apply the seed priciples in sync with the moon. It takes 3-4 months to feel any possible effects of the seed cycling process.
How to eat those seeds?
Sprinkle on salads, soups or cereals! Throw them in the blender with your smoothies!
Happy Citrus Smoothie!
2 oranges, peeled, seeds removed. Freeze segments ahead of time for a nice slushy texture.
2 large carrots, chopped (if you want you can give them a quick steam)
1⁄2 to 1 inch knob fresh ginger
1 cup water
Splash of Kefir for your gut
2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
* add water and/or ice if needed to desired texture
Oh, don’t have a cycle? Don’t worry! You can do this without a cycle, all in tune with the moon! We are already coordinated with the waxing and waning of the moon.
You can create protein balls and roll in seeds, or toss them into yogurt.
If you can, grind those seeds fesh, and freeze.
If you’re not grinding them, chew well! Part of mindful eating is to chew! This activates your salivary enzymes for better digestion. The flax seeds are really better ground.
If you are interested in learning more about Mindful Eating, and giving yourself Permission in Midlife to care for yourself and E.A.T., please download my 10 page guide!
Be well, and please, be HAPPY,
*Some people may need to seek professional advice if they are on any blood thinners and taking excessive flax as well. There is some anecdotal caution that if you suspect that you have a problem with estrogen sensitivity, seek professional advice. This article is for information purposes only. You know to ask questions from the right professional.
There is some scientific suspicion that estrogen sensitivity is a gut issue. The microbiota in the gut affects how someone responds to the phytoestrogens in flax. Someone sensitive to phyto-estrogens or phyto-progesterones may notice an increase in breast tenderness, period cramps and symptoms, and can just cut back on the flax seeds.