Estrogen and progesterone are two very important hormones for women’s health. These two hormones are closely related, and when one is out of balance, it often throws the other off. When estrogen levels are high, progesterone levels often get very low. These hormones not being in the right balance is often the cause of issues such as PMS, acne, cramps, heavy periods, irregular cycles, and more. In the Western world, it’s far too easy for a woman’s estrogen levels to become elevated due to environmental factors and dietary and lifestyle habits. There are many wonderful nutritional supplements that can help to bring estrogen levels down and progesterone levels up, however, food is often our most powerful medicine. We should always look to nature to address our health issues so we can heal in the most natural way possible. Consuming whole foods benefits the entire body, not just one aspect of it. Seed cycling is a wonderful way to balance hormones very inexpensively and naturally.
Seed Cycling is simply consuming different seeds during the different phases of your menstrual cycle. The lignans in seeds are responsible for getting rid of excess hormones, namely estrogen, and essential fatty acids help to create healthy levels of hormones.
Phase #1: Follicular Phase (days 1-14, or until ovulation)
You begin each cycle on day 1 of your period. The follicular phase starts on this day and lasts until you ovulate, which is usually day 14 of your cycle. Every woman ovulates at a different time each month but day 14 is the average day of ovulation for women (its okay if you regularly ovulate on a different day, and if you do, use this day as the end of phase 1). Most of us don’t know when we ovulate unless we are using the Fertility Awareness Method, so for those who do not track their ovulation, it is safe to say that the follicular phase is 14 days long. During this phase, estrogen levels are naturally higher than in the second half of the cycle. To support healthy hormone levels in the follicular phase:
Each day eat 1 tbsp of organic, raw, ground flax seeds and 1 tbsp of organic, raw pumpkin seeds. These seeds are high in Omega 3 fats. Flax seeds are phytoestrogens which block any excess estrogen from interfering with your body during this time. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which prepares for the creation and release of progesterone in the next phase of your cycle.
Phase #2: Luteal Phase (days 15-28, or until the end of your cycle)
After ovulating, we begin phase 2 of our cycles, which is the luteal phase (and usually begins on day 15). In this portion of our cycle, progesterone is more dominant than estrogen. Progesterone is key for healthy, glowing, and clear skin (acne is a huge sign that progesterone levels are low and that hormones are imbalanced). We want progesterone to be nice and high in this phase of our cycle but we are often lacking in the production of this important hormone. To support healthy hormone levels in this phase:
Each day eat 1 tbsp of organic, raw sesame seeds and 1 tbsp of organic, raw sunflower seeds. These seeds are high in Omega 6 fats. The lignans in sesame seeds help to block excess estrogen. The selenium in sunflower seeds helps to support healthy progesterone production and helps the liver detoxify excess hormones.
If you are currently not menstruating regularly, the Seed Cycling Protocol can help to get your period back! Begin phase 1 by taking the flax and pumpkin seeds on the first day of the new moon and begin phase 2 by consuming the sesame and sunflower seeds approximately 14 days later, when the moon is full. Then repeat!
It usually takes a few cycles to notice changes, so please be patient and also consistent. To see results even faster, focus on eating other foods to balance hormones as well.
Seed Cycling Tips
It can definitely be hard to remember to take your seeds! Here are some tips to help remember to take them and make it easier:
- Grind all of your seeds ahead of time and store them in a jar with a lid in the fridge with a spoon already in there, ready to go. When you open your fridge in the morning you can remember to take them.
- If your cycles are very irregular, you can print a calendar and write which dates you should take which seeds, them post it on your fridge.
- It’s helpful to get a period app to track your period so you know where you are in your cycle!