SEED CYCLING- WHAT IS IT?
Seed cycling. Its a nice wee idea.
Eat a tablespoon of the seeds that promote oestrogen synthesis and balance everyday for the first 14 days of your menstrual cycle, before you ovulate; then eat a tablespoon of the seeds that promote progesterone production in the second half of your cycle. Why? - well its supposed to give your body a helping hand to keep hormone balance as it should be throughout your cycle. Although there are no studies to show that this is the case - there are plenty of anecdotal accounts of women saying that this practice has helped their hormonal woes. Which is amazing. It is so empowering to be able to implement one very basic daily ritual that honours the unbounded power of nature and our natural cycle and may even help us find hormonal balance. At the very worst, if it doesn't help with your PMS or your crazy ass cycles - all those seeds will give you an increased intake of essential micronutrients, fatty acids, protein and fibre. So even if it doesn't make your hormonal state more manageable, you might just feel a bit better or have clearer skin - win /win if you ask me and no bloody harm at all.
WHAT SEEDS AND WHEN?
Days 1-14 of a 28 day cycle, beginning on the first day of your period. In the follicular phase, oestrogen is the dominant hormone. Oestrogen is required for the maturation of the egg and starts the proliferative phase of the endometrium. Even if you are past all that baby making stuff, healthy oestrogen has many systemic actions such as maintaining blood vessel integrity and heart health, keeping your bones healthy and keeping you sharp and happy.
Follicular Phase Seeds
Linseeds - They contain lignans which act like phytoestrogens to modulate oestrogen levels. Very simply -this is how it kind of works lignans are a partial fit to our bodies estrogen receptors. So if we have too much of our bodies own super strong oestrogen floating around causing sore boobs and heavy periods then lignans can partially block the receptor reducing the action of our bodies own sometimes problematic oestrogen. Conversely- if you for some reason, have too little of your own oestrogen hanging around leaving you grumpy and hot flushy, then these phytoestrogens connect to the receptor and exert a weak ( but better than nothing) oestrogenic action. Flaxseeds also have a veritable swag bag of micronutrients in them alongside anti-inflammatory omega three fatty acids and fibre for a healthy gut microbiome - good gut bugs can actually detoxify toxic xeno-oestrogens!
Pumpkin Seeds - These are my personal favourite. They are high in zinc which certainly has a big role to play in hormone synthesis in general. Pumpkin seeds also contain EFAs, vitamin E and magnesium which all add up to just being more nutritionally replete.
Luteal Phase -
Days 14-28 of a 28 day cycle. After ovulation the corpus luteum. which is like the egg sac, releases progesterone which prepares the body for pregnancy. Alas (or yay) if the egg is not fertilised, the corpus luteum breaks down, the production of progesterone falls and a new menstrual cycle begins. Progesterone helps to oppose the actions of oestrogen so is pretty damn important. As you age and your ovulation slows down or skips- progesterone levels drop so even if you have low or normal levels of oestrogen, you might develop oestrogen dominance. What pray tell is oestrogen dominance? Well unopposed oestrogen can translate as heavy periods, headaches, weight gain, thyroid dysfunction, irritability and mood and sleep issues. So - good to keep the nutrients that aid progesterone production in surplus me thinks!?
Luteal Phase Seeds
Sesame Seeds - These are big little powerhouses of good stuff! Firstly, they contain a really decent whack of zinc and vitamin B6 - both needed for the production of progesterone. They also contain calcium and magnesium and essential fatty acids which support healthy sleep, mood and muscle relaxation during the premenstrual phase. Sesame also contains iron which is great to build from a safe food source prior to your moon time.
Sunflower Seeds Not only super tasty but also full of essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation. Also contains B6 to support progesterone production alongside vitamin E, a lipid soluble vitamin which may raise progesterone levels in some people.
WHAT ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THEM?
So the premise is to blend the two follicular phase seeds together and the two luteal phase seeds together and then eat 1-2 tablespoons of each blend daily depending on where you are at in your cycle.
Follicular Blend - Linseeds and Pumpkin Seeds - Days 1-14- day one is your period ( if you have a 28 day cycle)
Luteal Blend - Sesame and Sunflower Seeds - Days 14-28 ( if you have a 28 day cycle)
If you are not menstruating then start the first 14 days from the new moon and then go from there.
I have made two freaking amazing seed and herb blends for seed cycling and the recipes are here -