What is Seed cycling – Is it worth the hype?
Seed cycling is a popular holistic approach to balancing hormones. However, there are few studies to show it is a credible way to cure painful periods, hormonal acne, and PMS symptoms. I implemented seed cycling into my day when I was struggling with heavy bleeding and painful cramps due to my copper IUD. Did it work? or is it another gimmick I read on the internet…In this post I am going over the science behind seed cycling and whether or not it I would recommend it to my readers (that’s you!).
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
What is Seed cycling
It is rotating pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds through the 2 different phases of your cycle. Women have 2 distinct phases:
The follicular phase: starts the first day of bleeding and ends on the day of ovulation (around day 14 of your cycle) At this time, Estrogen levels rise and when the egg is released, progesterone will take the lead as the dominant hormones in the,
Luteal phase: Also known as the “high hormone phase” and the time in which PMS symptoms will occur. Progesterone will start being produced when the egg is released from the martyred follicle and will drop to its lowest levels when your period begins again.
The idea of seed cycling is to balance the dominate hormones for each phase. In the follicular phase you will eat 1-2 tbsp of freshly ground raw flax and pumpkin seeds a day to support the production of estrogen and boost metabolism.
Then, in the luteal phase you will eat 1-2 tbsp of freshly ground raw sunflower and sesame seeds per day to support healthy progesterone levels.
“How do I know when to rotate?” I suggest switching seed rotation either on day 15 of your cycle or if you track ovulation, switch the day after ovulation occurs. Do you know how to track ovulation? Find out how you can start here!
Why raw and why ground seeds?
Raw and ground seeds will be absorbed by the gut far better than whole seeds would be. This is because the gut has a hard time breaking the shell around the seed down and therefore, doesn’t get much of the nutrients. Thats why you can see whole seeds in your poop occasionally!
I personally would grind whole seeds in a blender each week to keep in my fridge. This keeps them fresh rather than buying pre ground seeds.
Important note: It is not advised you cook with seeds because it can melt the fatty acids they contain. Fatty acids are one of the factors that play a role in their hormone balancing qualities!
How to start seed cycling
Track your cycle: Firstly, you would need to have some idea of what your cycle look like in terms of length. You can chart your cycle to know exactly when you ovulate OR just use a general app that can predict when your period will be starting. This will help you determine when and what seeds to take!
In the follicular phase grind up your pumpkin and flax seeds and take 1-2 tbsps of each daily!
In the luteal phase grind up your sesame seeds and sunflower seeds and take 1-2 tbsp daily!
I also suggest tracking progress! Keep note if your PMS symptoms are improving.
You may be wondering how you can eat ground up seeds because I will admit, they are hard to fit into recipes. Here are a few of the ways I fit seeds into my daily diet.
Seed cycling recipes
Below are some seed cycling recipes to try out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
- Granola clusters Top on oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies!
- Seed cycling energy balls
- Seed cycling parfait
Sprinkle the seeds needed at your time in your cycle on the following hormone healthy recipes! You won’t even know they are there. I promise!
Need more recipe inspiration? Check out my healthy recipe page
The Science behind Seed Cycling
The science lies in what these particular seeds contain. Flax and pumpkin seeds contain Lignans, omega 3s, fibre and zinc. These are shown to have estrogen eliminating effects which is important in the follicular phase (pre ovulation)
Omega 3’s: Help maintain healthy cell membrane and reduce inflammation
Lignans: Help the liver block excess estrogen
Zinc (high in pumpkin seeds): In some cases is shown to help set up for progesterone
Fibre: helps with excess estrogen excretion.
In the latter half of your cycle, When you consume sunflower and sesame seeds. The following properties of these seeds are shown to help with the production of progesterone.
Omega 3 and 6: Protect cell membranes
Lignans: Block excess estrogen (helps your body produce progesterone)
Selenium (sesame): Helps with liver detoxification
I tried seed cycling – Here are my thoughts
Though I do not know what happened on a cellular level in my body, The month that I tried seed cycling did benefit me to some extent.
Prior to getting the copper IUD I had no reason to seed cycle. My cycle was regular and healthy, no cramping, no spotting or ovulation pain. I was living the dream! However, after I got the copper IUD, my daydream was over. It gave be horrible cramps, heavy bleeds, and mood swings despite it being non-hormonal. This is because increased copper levels also increase estrogen.
With that in consideration and the estrogen excreting properties of these seeds, I decide to give it a go! I did notice a slight difference in cramping the month after I tried seed cycling but the copper IUD was just not for me so I removed it. (not me, my doctor obviously)
I also preach holistic approaches to problems before turning to medicine (within reason) and I honestly think seed cycling makes a lot of sense! I would pair it with cycle syncing to truly eat in accordance to my hormone profile if I were have painful periods.
For me, I don’t have a. problem so I ain’t gonna fix it!
The bottom line
Should you or should you not try seed cycling. Well, that depends if you are willing to sick to the regimen of eating raw seeds everyday. If you do deal with intense PMS symptoms I would definitely try it, there is no harm in eating seed everyday. They have other benefits than just hormone balance!
Would you give it a try? why or why not > let me know in the comment section! Or DM me on my socials! Id love to hear your thoughts on this.
I have to admit that I have never heard of seed cycling, but I find this extremely interesting. I am pinning this to share with my daughters. Thank you for such wonderful information for PMS symptoms.