Let’s talk hormone balance. There are two key players here: estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are like a seesaw, shifting rhythmically back and forth during the course of your menstrual cycle.
It is the balance of the two that will make you feel less moody, less bloated, more energized and pain-free. You will even experience clearer skin, better sleep and more regular flows.
Are your hormones imbalanced?
If you experience PMS, irregular periods, acne, PCOS, thyroid disorders, chronic fatigue, endometriosis, infertility issues and/or amenorrhea, a hormone imbalance could be the underlying issue.
Your hormones may also be imbalanced if you recently stopped birth control, are on medication, have high stress levels or have recently given birth.
More and more women are struggling with hormone imbalances that could be due to diet, exercise, stress, sleep, or environmental toxins.
As a holistic nutritionist, I like to recommend gentle, effective, and natural ways to balance hormones. Seed cycling, in addition to other diet and lifestyle changes, is an easy way to support your hormones, while getting vital nutrients in your diet.
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed Cycling involves incorporating four types of seeds into your diet during different phases of your menstrual cycle in order to mimic your natural estrogen and progesterone levels.
There are two main phases of your menstrual cycle: the follicular phase (Day 1-14) and the luteal phase (Day 15-28). Estrogen is dominant during the follicular phase, and progesterone levels rise around Day 14.
To help keep your hormones balanced during this cycle, you can incorporate these seeds into your diet during your follicular and luteal phases.
Day 1-14 of your cycle (begins on the first day of your period)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh ground flax
- 1 tablespoon of raw pumpkin seeds
Ground flaxseed and pumpkin seeds are the building blocks needed to create healthy estrogen levels. Flaxseed contains lignans, one of the major classes of phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are estrogen-like chemicals that also act like antioxidants. Flax binds to excess estrogen, and naturally balances their levels. Somehow, flax knows when and how it is most needed to bring balance. Flax also contains omega-3 fatty acids which have numerous health benefits.
Day 15-28 of your cycle (when ovulation begins)
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Sunflower and sesame seeds play an important role in natural progesterone production, which is crucial to further support the estrogen/progesterone balance (remember the seesaw). These seeds also contain lignans and EFAs. If estrogen is dominant and progesterone is low, we experience unwanted PMS like bloating, mood swings and insomnia.
Don’t forget, it is common to not have a 28-day menstrual cycle, so adjust the seed combinations to suit your cycle! I recommend first syncing your cycle to an app (I like Flo); then calculate based on your own cycle.
Tips and Best Practices
- Freshly grind your seeds before consuming (if you have the time)
- Use raw organic seeds
- Store seeds in the fridge or freezer
- Stay committed! It can take at least 3 months to notice benefits
- Do reduce stress, prioritize sleep, eat well, hydrate and get daily movement
Golden Smoothie Recipe
Now that you are a seed cycling expert, try this hormone balance smoothie. It is beyond delicious!
Disclaimer: this content is for educational purposes only. Always consult with a healthcare practitioner if you have concerns about your hormone balance.