What do you know about your cycle!? Did you know you have more than one? There are a few cycles that happen in a woman’s body each month that has a few different phases .. and to be honest, I didn’t even know all the differences until I took a gynecology class in medical school, so let me simplify.
Each month there are 2 cycles that have 3 phases each:
- The ovarian cycle
- Follicular phase
- Luteal phase
- The menstrual cycle
- Proliferation phase
- Secretory phase
A typical cycle is 28 days but they can range anywhere from 21-35 days and still be considered normal. There are several factors that can cause the cycle to vary in length with STRESS being the main culprit. However, seed cycling can be a great option that can help to regulate your cycle allowing you to be better in tune with your body. Seed cycling uses a variety of seeds and oils to help support the hormone production during each phase of the cycle.
If you are interested in the specifics of the menstrual and ovarian cycle… look out for my post in the next few weeks!
Conditions That Can Benefit From Seed Cycling
Seed cycling is good for anyone that experiences hormone imbalance. It is especially good for women that are experiencing estrogen dominance symptoms including irregular periods, heavy menstruation, water retention, breast tenderness + PMS. However, seed cycling can also benefit women that have lower estrogen levels such as those in peri-menopause or menopause with symptoms such as mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats + fatigue.
How It Works
The seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower) contain lignans. Lignans are fiber compounds that are found in oily seeds. Lignans help to modulate the hormonal pathways in the body as they are phytoestrogens. Flaxseeds are the most abundant dietary source of lignans in the diet. When oily seeds are consumed (like flax) they are converted to enterolignans, enterodiol, and enterolactone by bacteria in the body. These phytoestrogens can then help to bind excess estrogens and strengthen the production of good estrogens.
The oils (fish oils + gamma-linolenic acid ) provide the body with the building blocks that it needs to build steroid hormones. This allows the body to be able to modulate the production of estrogens and progesterones.
Seed Cycling Protocol
Day 1-14 (follicular phase; new moon to full moon)
- Ground flax seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Fish oils
Day 15-28 (luteal phase; full moon to new moon)
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Gamma-linolenic acid (evening primrose oil is a good source)
Tips for Seed Cycling
- Always use raw, unsalted seeds
- Store seeds in a cool, dark place to prevent oxidation
- When seeds are ground (like flax) they can oxidize quickly, which then causes them to go rancid
- Try to grind the seeds fresh each day or grind a small batch and store in the freezer to prevent them from spoiling
- Enjoy seeds in food — add to a smoothie, salad, or topping to any meal 😊
- ¼ C flax seed (ground)
- ¼ C pumpkin seeds
- ¼ C nut butter
- ½ C rolled oats
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 8 dates (pitted)
- 1 tbsp cacao nibs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- In a food processor, add flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, nut butter, rolled oats, coconut oil, dates and mix until well incorporated (should be sticky and powder like)
- Add cacao, vanilla, + salt and pulse a few times
- Roll into 1-2 inch balls
- Freeze for 30 mins
- Store in a glass airtight container
Note: To turn these balls into luteal phase balls sub the pumpkin + flax seeds in the recipe for equal parts of sesame + sunflower!