If you’ve never heard of seed cycling, you’re in for a treat. Seed cycling is the practice of cycling or rotating certain seeds in your diet throughout the month to align with the two main phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle (follicular and luteal). The nutrients in particular seeds help to promote healthy levels of estrogen and progesterone during the different phases, when they’re needed the most. This practice can balance hormones, which in turn helps to boost fertility, regulate periods, reduce PMS symptoms, clear up acne, and promote overall hormone health.
How does it work? Aside from the bleeding and ovulatory phases, the menstrual cycle can be divided into two phases, Phase 1 (follicular) and Phase 2 (luteal). Identify your Phase 1 & 2:
Phase 1, the follicular phase, starts on the first day of your period, lasting 14 days, until ovulation. During this phase, estrogen rises. It’s during this phase that you’ll want to incorporate chia, ground* flax, and pumpkin seeds into your diet, all of which promote healthy estrogen levels. Ideal dosing is 1-2 tablespoons of each seed per day. *(flax seeds should be ground).
Phase 2, the luteal phase, is the 14 days starting at ovulation lasting until your next period. It’s during this phase that estrogen slowly drops, while progesterone rises. Incorporating sesame and sunflower seeds during this time can help boost progesterone. Ideal dosing is 1-2 tablespoons of each seed per day.
What if your period is irregular and you don’t know when you’re in each phase? How will you know which seeds to eat when? Not to worry!
If your period is irregular or absent, you can line up seed cycling with the phases of the moon instead. Here’s how:
Phase 1 – Starts with the new moon, lasting 14 days until the full moon. Go ahead and enjoy those chia, ground flax, and pumpkin seeds starting with the new moon!
Phase 2 – Starts with the full moon, lasting 14 days until the next new moon. This is the sesame and sunflower seed phase.
Seed cycling is generally considered safe and healthy, as seeds are packed with protein, fiber, omega-3’s, vitamins, and minerals, plus they’re easy to incorporate into salads, smoothies, oatmeal, etc. Any woman at any age can seed cycle, though those with hormone imbalances may benefit most from it. It may take a few months to see results, so be patient and stick with it!