What is Seed Cycling and How Does It Work?
Seed cycling is a food-based approach to hormone balance that involves eating two sets of seeds during each phase of the menstrual cycle.
The first phase of the cycle* (days 1-14) is called the follicular stage. At this time, you would ingest 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and 1 tablespoon of flax seeds. The goal is to prevent wild hormonal fluctuations, stabilize estrogen levels, and prevent excess estrogen. Flax seeds contain lignans which bind to excess estrogens. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc which help support progesterone production. You can never go wrong with a boost of Omega 3s when it comes to reducing inflammation, along with boost in production of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), sex hormones, and adrenal hormones.
The second phase of the cycle is called the luteal phase (days 15-28). At this time, you would ingest 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds. Because estrogen and progesterone levels naturally rise at this time of the cycle, the goal is to maintain a healthy ratio between the two hormones. Both seeds contain zinc which is a progesterone booster. Again, more progesterone!
Lack of scientific evidence slots seed cycling into a category of anecdotal. While there’s no real data to support seed cycling, as long as you have no allergies to seeds and can afford to purchase them, there should be little risk in including seeds in your daily diet. I like the idea of using seeds and other foods which may influence hormones as a first step in balancing hormones before turning towards synthetics.
*assumes you have a 28-day cycle