Before menopause, I used seed cycling to help boost certain hormones and even out my menstrual cycle. It seemed like an easy way to ensure that my hormones were being balanced. All I had to do was eat some seeds every day. What could be easier than that?
And it was totally worth it. My PMS was reduced and I felt more balanced. But, I was not very consistent with it and sometimes fell out of the habit. Once I entered menopause, and I started having all kinds of hormonal symptoms, seed cycling seemed even more critical. Since restarting the practice, my hormones have been leveling out and my symptoms receding.
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is a traditional practice using certain kinds of seeds, to balance hormones. For hundreds of years women have used pumpkin, flax, and sunflower, and sesame seeds to affect their physical and emotional wellbeing. For pre-menopausal women, estrogen is produced in the first half of the menstrual cycle (phase one) and progesterone in the second half (phase two). However, seed cycling can also be used to increase hormones in menopausal and post-menopausal women as well.
Women who are still menstruating start phase one and consume pumpkin and flax on the first day of the period and switch to phase two with sunflower and sesame on day 14. Women who are no longer menstruating can start phase one on the first of the month or ignore the phases. Because I need to increase both estrogen and progesterone, I use all four seeds in my regular diet without alternating.
How does it work?
During the first 14 days of a woman’s cycle (the follicular phase), estrogen is produced. Flax and pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrogens called lignans, which mimic the effects of estrogen. Lignans also remove excess estrogen.
Flax seeds have been linked to enhanced hormone metabolism, fewer hot flashes, lower vaginal dryness, and better overall quality of life in menopausal and postmenopausal women. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, women who ate a diet high in flax seeds had decreased joint pain, better hormone status, and reduced hot flashes after menopause.
During the second half of the cycle, (the luteal phase) progesterone levels increase. Eating sesame and sunflower seeds throughout the luteal phase allows us to naturally produce greater progesterone. During the luteal phase, lignans in sesame inhibit estrogen levels from increasing too much. Meanwhile, the vitamin E in sunflower seeds helps boost progesterone levels.
How they are taken
The seeds can be mixed right into smoothies without changing the flavor or texture. They can also be baked into breads or added to salads. Another way to consume the seeds is to add them to soups or sprinkle them on casseroles.
The seeds can be combined into a seed mixture and saved in a jar. Afterward, they can then simply be spooned out as needed.
Considering seed cycling? (Three Reasons to Try It)
Seed cycling is like an insurance policy. One can easily balance hormones in case the body does not produce enough of them. Because there are no side effects to eating seeds, there is very little risk involved. And in comparison with other hormone treatments, seed cycling is relatively inexpensive. If you would like to try seed cycling, here are some links to try.
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