Seed cycling is the practice of eating specific seeds during the two phases of your menstrual cycle to help promote balanced estrogen and progesterone levels. These hormones have specific requirements for essential fatty acids (EFA’s) and minerals for both their formation, structure and function.
This Food as Medicine approach is a natural way of addressing conditions including PCOS, PMS, hormonal acne, irregular, painful menstrual cycles and infertility.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone!
Vitamin D also plays a vital part in hormone regulation as well as immune function, and many other protective factors including cancer.
Research has also shown us that in women who are vitamin D deficient, supplementing with vitamin D resulted in a significant reduction in period cramps.
The best way to get your D is via the Sun! Slip Slop Slap has a lot to answer for! The majority of Australians are Vitamin D deficient and we live in the land of the surf, sea and sun!
Understanding your cycle
The menstrual cycle has two main ovarian phases – This picture is based on a 28 day cycle* Note the increase in temperature – this is the way to establish ovulation is occurring.
*Approximately 15% of women have a 28 day cycle, but it is normal for cycles to be between 21 – 35 days.
Phase 1 is the Follicular phase – it begins with menstruation (cycle day 1 – 14).
During thefollicular phase, estrogen starts at its lowest point on the first day of your period. Estrogen remains low for the first few days of the cycle before it begins to rise rapidly and peak just prior to ovulation in response to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The peak in estrogen is what signals the luteinizing hormone (LH surge) to occur which precedes ovulation by approximately 36 hours.
phase 2 is the The luteal phase – this starts after ovulation (cycle day 15 – 28).
Ovulation signals transition into the luteal phase. This phase is named after the corpus luteum that is formed from the follicle that ovulates. This takes a lot of energy to occur.
The corpus luteum produces progesterone which is the dominant hormone in the second half of the menstrual cycle (it’s the happy hormone). Estrogen levels will drop after ovulation, and increase again in the luteal phase but not nearly as much as progesterone.
Being aware of your body’s own cycle is essential for the concept of seed cycling and understanding your overall reproductive health. If you would like more info on charts please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Phytoestrogens are plant-derived compounds that have a weak estrogen and anti-estrogen effect in the body.
Both flax seeds and sesame seeds contain phytoestrogens.
Lignans are another plant-derived compound that has weak estrogenic activity, but Lignans also help to bind up excess estrogen. Flaxseeds are the richest dietary source of lignan precursors, but sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds contain lignans too.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for hormone production and follicle function. There’s also evidence that omega-3s promote blood flow to the uterus and increase progesterone secretion https://sci-hub.st/10.1097/01.ogx.0000140038.70473.96
All cycling seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and flax seeds – are great sources of plant-based omega fatty acids
Eating Seeds for your cycle
During the Follicular Phase consume 1 tablespoon of pumpkin and 1 tablespoon flax seeds daily.
During the Luteal Phase consume 1 tablespoon of sesame and 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds daily.
Get those seeds in ‘ya belly
- Add to smoothies, yogurt, porridge or chia seed pudding
- Sprinkle on your sardines/egg on toast, breakfast/nourish bowls, salads or soups
- Make Nurturer Raw Muesli (that has all of the good stuff in it!)
- Make protein balls with the appropriate seeds for the phase, add in some greens powder for the First phase and some beetroot powder for the second (colour coded hormone bliss balls! Make in batches and Store in the freezer)