Seed Cycling – Better Hormones

Seed Cycling_AURA_Nutrition_Blog

In most cases, when someone talks of hormone imbalance concerns, the first and most common go-to treatment plan is birth control pills, HRT, hormone creams and other related avenues. Not so common is encouraging consuming seeds as a method of estrogen-progesterone balancing as there is little to no scientific evidence supporting its use. However, there are many anecdotal and case studies throughout the alternative therapy practices recommending this method. 

What is Seed cycling? 

It is a food-based method involving the rotation of 2 pairs of seeds throughout the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. Simply stated, it is used to boost estrogen levels in the first part of your cycle and progesterone levels in the second part. This method is effective for any lady who suffers from PMS symptoms like acne, amenorrhea, heavy bleeding, fatigue, infertility, insomnia, mood swings, cramps and more. Not limited to those with a cycle though, as it is also linked to lessening hot flashes and ease our way through the stages of menopause.

The alternating seeds include flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. These seeds provide various essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that help stimulate the production, detoxification, and metabolism of estrogen and progesterone. Seeds can be easily incorporated in raw or ground form into your daily routine in smoothies, yogurt, topping on salads, or energy bites (recipe included). The goal is to consume 1 tablespoon of each seed based on which phase you are in. Within each phase, the 2 seeds do not have to be consumed at the same time, but certainly each day. 

I have been using this method with my clients as well as personally. Most will see a change in symptoms within the first month of seed cycling. You can continue to follow and incorporate this method for as long as you wish in order to achieve your health goals.

Seed Cycling – Better Hormones

The method involves:

Phase 1, the follicular phase, starts the first day of your cycle. We need more estrogen in to build up our uterine lining. Seeds such as flaxseed and pumpkin seeds can naturally increase your estrogen levels. 

Flax seeds are high in phytoestrogens that promote estrogen production as well as lignans that help detoxify excess estrogens along with fiber, to eliminate them properly. Together, they work to harmonize optimal estrogen ratios.

Flax seeds and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that fight inflammation and work to regulate your follicle-stimulating hormone levels for ovulation support. Bonus, these also support healthy skin, hair and nails!

Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which prime and support the production of progesterone in the next phase (the luteal phase).

Seed Cycling – Better Hormones

Phase 2, the luteal phase, starts at day 15. This is the second rotation designed to support progesterone levels with sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. The corpus luteum releases progesterone. This sex hormone thickens the uterine lining and prepare it for implantation. The high content of zinc in sesame seeds and Vitamin E in sunflower seeds have been shown to stimulate progesterone production.

Sesame seeds are high in lignans as well, which remember help harmonize estrogen levels. They’re also rich in magnesium and calcium, to ease PMS cramps and provide an immunity boost.

Both sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are high in omega-6 fatty acids that help reduce PMS-related inflammation while also supporting progesterone levels.

Sunflower seeds are rich in selenium which is essential for liver function, important here for proper detoxification and elimination of excess hormones.

In Summary: 


Phase 1: 
1 tbsp Flaxseed (ground) + 1 tbsp Pumpkin Seed • Day 1 – Day 14

Phase 2: 1 tbsp Sesame Seed + 1 tbsp Sunflower Seed • Day 15 – Day 30

Tips:

  • Store seeds in glass containers in the fridge (or freezer). They are delicate and can go rancid quickly. 
  • Ground flaxseeds are ideal for best absorption (otherwise they will come out whole on the other side).
  • If you are grinding seeds, do not soak them first–they will just turn into a wet mess!
  • For pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds, you can eat them one of three ways: raw, raw and soaked, or raw and ground.
  • Seeds should always be eaten raw, unroasted, unsalted. 

The Recipe

Phase 1 Seed Cycling Energy Bites (Serving: 14 days’ worth) 

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flax seeds
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
10 Medjool dates (1 cup)
3/4 cup AURA Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon almond milk
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
pinch of sea salt

Seed Cycling – Better Hormones

 

Phase 2 Seed Cycling Energy Bites (Serving: 14 days’ worth)

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
10 Medjool dates (1 cup)
3/4 cup AURA protein powder
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon almond milk
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons maca powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Instructions

Grind your seeds. Add to a blender and blend until ground into a flour-like consistency. If needed, do in a few batches to ensure they are evenly ground.

In a food processor, add dates and pulse a few times to break down. Add in ground seeds and remaining ingredients. Pulse until dough-like consistency forms. The batter should look slightly crumbly, but stick together when you press on it. If too dry, add a bit more almond milk. If too wet, add a bit more protein powder or spices.

Using a tablespoon as a spoon, form into either: 

  1. 28 equal-sized balls (makes for eating 2 per day). 

  2. 14 larger seed cycling balls (eating one ball a day).

Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Once finished, make the next phase!


Cara  Janzen, H. BSc. RHN is an AURA Community member with a belief to help make you rich – nutritionally! As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, she is equipped with a B.Sc. and have a background in Biological Sciences and Psychology.

Sources:

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-seed-cycling-help-balance-hormones/ 

  2. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/lignans

  3. https://www.stamfordhealth.org/healthflash-blog/integrative-medicine/seed-cycling/

  4. https://drbrighten.com/seed-cycling-for-hormone-balance/ 

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