On my hunt for finding ways to bring back my period I came across the concept of seed cycling. Initially I thought ‘urgh that sounds like effort’ but it’s actually really simple and I’ve been doing it for almost a year now. Since then I have managed to get my period back after losing it for 3 years
(I have been implementing other methods alongside it, so I can't say it's all down to seed cycling). But I do feel like it has had a part to play, or at least in regulating my hormones.
What is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is a method that balances the body’s hormones by rotating four different seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds) at 2 phases of the menstrual cycle (follicular and luteal).
It helps with the following:
- PMS symptoms
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- PCOS and endometriosis
- Hormonal acne
- Sleep issues
It is required to consume one tablespoon of the seed for the phase you’re in, each day (two tablespoons in total) Each phase lasts about 14 days depending on how long your cycle is, meaning you might have to adjust the amount of days you’re taking the seeds in each phase, if your cycle is longer or shorter than 28 days.
It is recommended to consume your seeds raw and freshly ground, this is to prevent oxidisation of the seed and increase the absorption of nutrients to get the full benefits. Also opt for organic seeds as the nutrients will be richer and more beneficial.
FOLLICULAR PHASE (days 1-14 /beginning of your period)
Take 1 tbsp each of the following
FLAX SEED - High in omega 3s and lignans to prevent excess estrogen
PUMPKIN SEED - High in omega 3s and zinc to prepare the body for progesterone production in luteal phase.
The follicular phase is where estrogen starts low and slowly rises to prepare for ovulation. It’s important to keep estrogen levels balanced as too much or too little can have a domino effect on our other hormones which causes problems in the body.
Flax and pumpkin seeds contain phytoestrogens which are plant-based sources of estrogen. These balance estrogen levels due to the lignans they contain.
LUTEAL PHASE (days 15-28)
Take 1 tbsp each of the following
SESAME SEED - High in lignans to regulate estrogen and progesterone levels
SUNFLOWER SEED - High in omega 6 and selenium which balances hormones
The luteal phase comes from the drop in estrogen after ovulation. During this time progesterone levels slowly rise as it is needed to help with egg implantation. Estrogen levels also rise, but if they rise too much we experience PMS symptoms and other issues during menstruation. Progesterone regulates estrogen levels and by consuming sesame and sunflower seeds, it stimulates progesterone production while reducing PMS related inflammation.
How I take my seeds
I generally find the seeds easy to incorporate into my diet. I either add them to my meals, or as
My favourite way to have sesame seeds is in the form of raw tahini and drizzling it over bowls of porridge, toast, in smoothies or salad dressings.
I ground small batches of flax seeds in a mini food processor and store it in an airtight glass jar in the fridge to prevent oxidisation. So again, I sprinkle them on salads and bowls, in smoothies or blend into homemade dips.
Although it's recommended to ground your seeds in order for the body to absorb the nutrients, I find that because sunflower and pumpkin seeds are easily broken down when chewed, they’re okay to snack on whole. I also would consume them with food the same way as I do the flax and sesame seeds, it all depends on the day or what I’m feeling.
You can also make seed butters out of any of the seeds if you fancy it.
Sometimes if I forget to have the seeds during the day, I’d make a small yogurt bowl with them and include something like sautéed fruit, nut butter, cinnamon, cacao nibs, bee pollen.. etc and it will be like a tasty little night cap. I used to do this a lot when I first started out and was getting used to having them.
I’ve seen people baking the seeds into cakes and breads but this doesn’t really work as it’s emphasised to have the seeds raw to get the benefits. You can however blend them into raw energy balls, cookies or bars and store them in the fridge or freezer to have as a snack on the go.
Tips and stuff
To start seed cycling, you can begin on the first day of your period with phase 1 (follicular) or after you ovulate with phase 2 (luteal).
If you’re starting out while suffering from amenorrhea or an irregular cycle you can start on the first day of the new moon. This is because our cycles are actually meant to be synced with the moon - SO cool.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t consume the right seeds on the right days or miss a couple of days. I have forgotten to do it when I’ve been super busy or while traveling, but I don’t stress about it because we all know what stress does to our hormones, am I right?!
On the whole, I have found it easy (and enjoyable) to follow and stick to.
If you don’t already, I suggest for you to get a period tracker app like Clue or Flo. This makes it easier to know where abouts you are in your menstrual cycle and when you’re ovulating to know what seeds you should be having at what time.
If you have any suggestions or any have questions, do get in touch!