I am sooooo excited to finally be writing this post!
Seed cycling is probably something you have heard me talk about before if you follow me on my instagram account @pcos_to_wellness, but I have never actually explained what is, or why I love it so much!
So to put it VERY simply, seed cycling is basically just the process of eating specific seeds at specific times. This is done throughout the month to help balance hormones - it's completely safe, natural and EFFECTIVE!
I have been on the seed cycling bandwagon for around four months now, and I can honestly say that I think it has been one of the main reasons I have been able to regulate my once non-existent periods.
To join the seed cycling fan club you will need to become very well acquainted with the following seeds:
In the right combination, and at the right time of the month these little seeds are going to help support your body by binding and eliminating excess hormones whilst also increasing any hormones that you are deficient in. YES, THESE SEEDS ARE MIRACLE WORKERS!!
So How Does Seed Cycling Work?
Essentially these seeds contain nutrients that our bodies need to balance our hormone production. Seed cycling works by using two combinations of seeds:
Flax and pumpkin: these help to support your body during the estrogen dominant time of the month. Both are full of omega-3s (which help hormones move around the body), and flax seeds also contain phytoestrogens (called lignans) that help block excess estrogens.
Sesame and Sunflower: both these seeds contain omega-6s and zinc, which help to stimulate the production of progesterone and regulate hormones. Sunflower seeds are also high in selenium which is crucial for liver detoxification and thyroid hormone conversion.
Seed cycling isn't just for gals like me that have PCOS; it's also incredible for those who suffer from any sort of hormonal imbalances and symptoms such as acne, light bleeding, heavy bleeding, fatigue, infertility, sleep issues, PMS and irregular periods.
Now for all my ladies with a regular 28-day cycle, you will want to consume the first set of seeds during the follicular phase of your cycle (the first half), and the second set of seeds during the luteal phase (the second half.)
However, if you're like me and don't have a perfectly "regular" 28-day cycle, don't worry, because it can still work for us too… In fact, it's kind of cool because we are going to use the moon to help us get regular, yes that's right I said THE MOON.
I only recently came to learn about how powerful the moon is when it comes to women and our cycles. Sadly over the years, we have become more and more distant from this natural phenomenon, leaving many of us with irregular menstrual cycles. Having a regular menstrual cycle, synchronized to the lunar cycle allows women to go much deeper into the intuitive wisdom of rhythm and connectivity.
So, if you're like me and are now on a mission to sync up your cycle with the moon, you will want to start ingesting the first set of seeds when the next full moon occurs, and 14 days later switch to the second set.
So how do you seed cycle?
To begin, you will first need to identify your ‘follicular phase’ which starts on the first day of your period and ends with ovulation.
During this phase of the cycle, your cycle is running mostly on estrogen. The estrogen builds up through ovulation; however, in order to ovulate, we need progesterone to kick in. In a textbook 28-day cycle, this phase would last from Day 1 to Day 14.
SO MANY women have hormonal imbalances, often due to an excess of estrogen and too little progesterone. This can be caused by endocrine-disrupting chemicals, diet, cosmetics and more.
So to help us through this phase, we are going to focus on ingesting seeds that have properties to bind excessive estrogen and encourage progesterone to release after ovulation, hello Flax and Pumpkin seeds!
The second half of the menstrual cycle is called the ‘luteal phase’. This phase begins at ovulation and lasts through to the end of your cycle.
During this phase, you will want to ingest sesame seeds to increase omega 6s and stimulate the production of progesterone, whilst the sunflower seeds which are high in selenium will help liver detoxification and hormone balance.
So to keep this simple:
Start seed cycling on the first day of your menstrual cycle. If your cycle isn’t regular or you don’t have a cycle, use the days corresponding to the phases of the moon.
From Day 1-14 of the menstrual cycle (or new moon to full moon)
1 Tbs. per day of ground flax seeds
1 Tbs. per day of ground pumpkin seeds
From Day 15-28 of the menstrual cycle (or from full moon to new moon)
1 Tbs. per day of ground sesame seeds
1 Tbs. per day of ground sunflower seeds
Grind your seeds! This is actually a really important one because whole seeds often pass right through our digestive systems, which means we don't absorb their nutrients. Grinding seeds allows for greater absorption.
Seeds do go rancid fairly quickly, so I recommend grinding your own seeds daily. (I use a coffee grinder.)
Soak your seeds. If you're prone to any type of digestive issues, make sure you soak your seeds before consuming them. This reduces the naturally-occurring phytic acid in the seeds, which can cause digestive stress and issues with absorption.
Get creative! Add your seeds to smoothies, salads, soups, curries, breakfast, raw treats etc!!
Happy cycling cysters!!