Seed-Cycling - Ladies Can Balance Their Hormones Naturally with Seeds!
It is not uncommon for women, at some point in their lives, to struggle with their menstrual cycle. If youre facing any of the following complaints, a hormonal imbalance is likely the underlying issue:
- Menstrual cramps
- Back aches
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Low energy
- Irregular periods
- Uterine fibroids
- Cravings for sugar and/or excess carbohydrates
- Hair loss
- Diminished libido
- Acne, especially on the lower cheeks, jaw, and neck
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Bloating, irritable bowels, constipation
- Excess facial or body hair
Though many of these symptoms are typically brushed off as the common inconveniences of being a woman, it doesnt mean theyre normal or even necessary. In fact, these frustrations can be significantly reduced or eliminated by balancing our hormones naturally with a simple process: Seed Cycling.
Before we get into the specifics of seed cycling, its important to understand how the female reproductive cycle and hormones co-exist to develop a balanced body. Each cycle takes about 28 days to complete, which involves specific changes in the ovaries and uterus in order to prepare the body to receive a fertilized egg. If fertilization doesnt occur, the endometrial lining is lost and menstruation occurs. In other words, the day we begin menstruating is considered day 1 of our cycle.
Estrogen and progesterone are the two crucial hormones that regulate our 28-day monthly cycle. During the first phase of our cycle (days 1-14), estrogen levels increase and dominate. During the second phase of our cycle (days 15-28ish, or until you begin menstruating), estrogen levels slowly decrease while progesterone steadily increases. If there is an imbalance of these two hormones, abnormal symptoms such as those listed above can occur. The good news is that seed cycling may be able to help!
The Basics of Seed Cycling
The general idea behind seed cycling is quite simple. The hulls of seeds contain lignans, which are chemicals that help bind up excess hormones, while the oils of seeds contain essential fatty acids that provide the building blocks for making hormones. Together, they work on balancing hormones throughout the entire menstrual cycle. Different seeds contain variations of lignans and fatty acids, and when we rotate them according to our monthly cycle, we provide our body with a foundationto naturally make more of a needed hormone orblock excess hormones. After about three months of following the seed cycling protocol, we can begin to experience normal, healthy, and symptom-free cycles.
The Monthly Protocol
During the first phase of your cycle (days 1-14), also known as the follicular phase, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds should be used to help balance estrogen production and absorption within the body. Both seeds provide the body with omega-3 fatty acids, which promote healthy cell membranes. Pumpkin seeds are particularly high in zinc, which is important for progesterone release, while flax seeds contain lignans that block any excess estrogen.
- Duringthe follicularphase, take 1 tablespoon of raw pumpkin seeds and 1 tablespoon raw flax seeds. For optimum absorption, it is recommended that the seeds are ground prior to ingestion.
During the second phase of your cycle (days 15-menses), also known as the luteal phase, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds should be consumed to support the shift from estrogen dominance to progesterone production. Sesame seeds also contain lignans, which help prevent excess estrogen in the body. Sunflower seeds are high in selenium, which is important for liver detoxification during this phase. These seeds are alsoan excellent source ofomega-3s, which helpkeep our body balanced and healthy.
- During this phase, take 1 tablespoon of raw sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of raw sunflower seeds, which should also be ground prior to consumption for better absorption.
I personally eat the seeds daily in an afternoon smoothie consisting of about 2 cups of unsweetened almond milk, 1-2 tablespoons of maca (an excellent superfood for naturally balancing hormones), 1 teaspoon of bee pollen, a few drops of stevia or a little raw honey, and half of a very ripe banana. Blending the seeds as a smoothie eliminates the step of having to grind them in a coffee grinder, whichmeans one less tool cluttering our fruit- and veggie-covered kitchen countertops. Bonus!
Patience and Persistence
Like most natural treatments, using seed cycling to balance hormones takes time and consistency. Though you may see some improvements within weeks, it generally takes about three months before experiencing a remarkable decrease in symptoms. During this time, its important to eat (and drink)an abundanceof leafy greens and veggies,consume plenty of water, and avoid sugary snacks, processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Pay attention to the changes in your body, track your progress, and perhaps most importantly, remember tohave apositiveoutlook to promote a healingmindset throughout the process. Remind yourself that treating the underlying issue means true healing is occurring. When our hormones are in balance, we experience better health, an improved mood, a moresatisfying sex life, increased energy,andan overall sense ofcalmness and clarity.
Natural Med Clinic: Seed Rotation Plan