Have you heard about seed cycling before? It’s an inexpensive, down to earth and holistic way to regulate and support hormones. Its been around for a while but is the latest trend for hormonal health.
In case you haven’t heard, healthy ovulation and menstruation is critical and important to women’s health and I’m not just talking about making babies! The information that you are about to receive can be beneficial for both ovulating and menopausal women.
Seed cycling is used to maintain a regular menstrual cycle and restore balance to hormones including oestrogen and progesterone. Sex hormones such as these have specific requirements for essential fatty acids and minerals for both their structure and function.
What you need to know about your cycle: Oestrogen - Is essential for maintaining healthy bones and muscles - Is involved in serotonin balance for a happy mood and restful sleep - Is required for libido (sex drive) and reproduction Progesterone - Is needed to promote relaxation and sleep - Helps to regulate energy and metabolism - Is important for clear skin - Is vital for pregnancy Seed cycling works by rotation of different seeds during the different phases of your cycle to provide the body with a timely dose of essential fatty acids and nutrients. Take a tablespoon of each seed and blitz in a coffee grinder to break down the seeds effectively. (I saw a coffee grinder at office works for $20 which would be perfect if you don’t have the tools yet!)
The ground seeds can be added to your morning smoothie, on top of your oats, avocado, yoghurt, or as a garnish on soups and curries. Adding the ground seeds once daily is ideal.
The cycle Day 1-14 (Follicular Phase) + Flax seeds (linseeds) Flaxseeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids which combat the inflammation that can contribute to cramping pain before or during your period. This is also a great source of phyto-nutrients which help to modulate the activity of oestrogen- increasing activity when its deficient and competing with oestrogen when there is excess production + Pepitas seeds (Pumpkin seeds) Another source of fatty acids, pepitas are a wonderful source for zinc, which is required for progesterone secretion as well as for regulating androgen levels.
Day 14-28 (Luteal phase) + Sesame seeds Similar to flax seeds, sesame seeds contain lignans, which can assist with modulating hormone levels in menstruating and menopausal woman. Sesame seeds are also mineral dense containing magnesium, zinc, calcium and selenium. These minerals in addition to fibre are required by the liver for healthy detoxification and excretion of hormone metabolites. + Sunflower seeds Sunflower seeds not only yield minerals but contain essential fatty acids which can be converted into gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA has been shown to be effective in alleviating pre-menstrual breast tenderness.
Seed cycling tips: Buy organic, whole seeds rather than pre-ground seeds. Flax seeds, in particular, are very sensitive and the fatty acids within can oxidise quickly on exposure to too much heat or light. Once ground, store any excess in an air tight container in the fridge to preserve the anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids and prevent them from becoming pro-inflammatory.
If you are experiencing painful periods, PMS or other symptoms whilst on the pill, chat to your naturopath here at SJM (me!) for further professional advice.
Balancing hormones can be a lengthy process and I recommend you allow 3-4 cycles before expecting changes. In the mean time, talk to me about your diet and lifestyle to identify potential causative or exacerbating factors that may speed up your healing time and get your menstrual cycle at its best!
By Ashleigh Iredale (BHSc)