Before we talk about how seed cycling works, let’s do a simple review of the phases of the menstrual cycle.
Estrogen and progesterone are the two main hormones that influence your menstrual cycle throughout its different phases. Estrogen rises during your follicular phase which includes the time from when your period starts to when you ovulate. There is an estrogen surge, which promotes egg release, then estrogen dips while progesterone begins to rise and then plateau throughout your luteal phase. Your luteal phase is the 10-16 days (on average) between ovulation and menstruation. Both hormones decline before your period where they remain low until estrogen rises again and restarts the cycle.
Seed cycling is a gentle means of helping your body naturally balance and align with this rhythm explained above through your diet. Imbalances in your hormones can cause amenorrhea (lack of period), mental and physical PMS symptoms, irregular cycles, and more. The goal of seed cycling is to consume seeds that encourage the production of estrogen during your follicular phase (days 1-14) and seeds that encourage the production of progesterone during your luteal phase (days 15-30). Seeds also contain fatty acids and vitamins like selenium and zinc which are all important for balancing your hormones.
Seeds to use for cycling:
Follicular Phase, days 1-14: consume 1-2 tbsp each (in equal amount) of ground pumpkin and flax seeds
Luteal Phase, days 15-30: consume 1-2 tbsp each (in equal amount) of ground sesame and sunflower seeds
What if I don’t have a period and am trying to regain my cycle?
We recommend following the pattern of the moon if you do not have a cycle of your own to guide you! Let the next new moon day be your cycle day 1 and consume the estrogen support seeds for 14 days. At day 15– full moon– switch to the the luteal phase seeds. Continue cycling in this pattern.
Can this help me get my short or long cycle to 30 days?
Because we are human, our cycles will be sure to vary. By following the Day 1-14 and 15-30 rotation of seed cycling, you may be able to either shorten or lengthen your cycle, depending on what your goal is!
How can I easily integrate seed cycling into my diet?
The nutrients from the seeds are best absorbed when the seeds are freshly ground. This can be done using a blender, food processor, or even a coffee and spice grinder! Try putting the seeds in smoothies, oatmeal, sprinkle on salads, yogurt — the options are really limitless! Remember to use freshly ground seeds as pre-ground seeds can become oxidized. You can make large batches of seeds by grinding the seeds and combining in a 1:1 ratio for storage in a glass canister. Make sure to store the ground seeds in the fridge! Scoop out the seeds on the daily.
Happy seed cycling!
Authored by Ellen Davenport