December 17, 2018

Should You Be Seed Cycling?

A new trend has hit the scene that may be a simple way for women to achieve better hormonal balance, and it’s called seed cycling. If you’re looking for a way to naturally support hormonal balance, seed cycling may be for you!

What is seed cycling?
Seed cycling involves introducing a rotation of seeds high in specific nutrients into your diet during certain times of the menstrual cycle. While every woman has her own bio-individual needs during her cycle, this method could be beneficial for balancing the hormones that keep the cycle running optimally. Advocates say that seed cycling can support mood, energy levels, and overall health.

Stefanie Kleinburd, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in hormone health and fertility, shares, “Seed cycling is another wonderful example of how we can use food as medicine. Emphasizing specific seeds that are known to boost levels of estrogen and progesterone during the cycle can help strike the right balance of these two hormones, which play a major role in our menstrual and reproductive health.”

How do you seed cycle?
Generally, the menstrual cycle can be broken down into two main phases (follicular and luteal) over a 28-day period; however, women’s cycles can range widely depending on the individual. To seed cycle, you add either flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds to your diet based on which phase you’re in.

Follicular phase
The follicular phase refers to the first 14 days of the menstrual cycle. During this time, Kleinburd explains, “we want to work toward healthy estrogen levels.”

In the follicular phase, 1–2 tablespoons of flaxseeds or pumpkin seeds daily to help boost estrogen production is recommended.

Luteal phase
The second half of the menstrual cycle (days 15–28) is referred to as the luteal phase. At this point, your period has finished and you’re no longer ovulating.  Your ovaries begin to produce progesterone, which helps thicken your uterine wall. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds both help stimulate progesterone production.

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During this phase, 1–2 tablespoons of sesame seeds or sunflower seeds daily to boost progesterone production is recommended.

Kleinburd notes, “The seeds should be raw, ideally soaked, and ground. The possibilities are endless when it comes to how to include them in your diet. For example, they can be sprinkled on salads, soups, or steamed veggies.”

The Takeaway
While there isn’t much research on seed cycling at this point, seeds are healthful foods to include in the diet nonetheless.

What are your thoughts on seed cycling? If you’ve tried it, what was your experience like? Share your thoughts with us!

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