Ladies, we’ve got a problem.
Far too many of us are suffering from PMS, irregular menstrual cycles, debilitating cramps, bloating, infertility, and a host of other “lady issues” that all point a big red arrow at hormone trouble.
The fact that so many of us think these symptoms are normal shows that we’ve got a downright epidemic on our hands.
While a lot of this trouble starts with chronic stress, most of your monthly woes can actually be resolved by adjusting your diet and lifestyle to compliment the phases of your cycle.
Your body needs different nutrients throughout the month to support the key hormones that are needed at different phases of your menstrual cycle, and your overall physiology benefits from different activity levels depending on the phase as well.
I’ll get into those details in future posts on the blog, but for now let’s keep things simple.
The food you eat has a direct impact on your hormones.
And if you’re eating a mostly healthy diet, the simple addition of a couple tablespoons of seeds can be the key to supporting the hormones that make a world of a difference to your menstrual health.
Because your body needs different nutrients before and after ovulation, the seeds that will make the most impact on your health switch halfway through your cycle, which is why this technique is called “seed cycling”.
Seed cycling is one of the most highly recommended protocols that naturopathic doctors prescribe to female patients, and with good reason.
Seed cycling can help balance your hormones and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany menstruation.
The idea behind it is pretty straight forward.
You want to encourage different nutrients and essential fatty acids (EFA’s) at different points in your cycle to support the right hormones at the right time of month.
During the first half of your cycle you want to have proportionally more omega-3 fatty acids, lignin and zinc.
Lignin decreases the amount of excess testosterone and estrogen that are floating around in your system and helps your body reduce inflammation, and zinc promotes a healthy balance between estrogen and progesterone.
Lucky for you, flax and pumpkin seeds are chock full of exactly these nutrients.
In the Luteal phase (the second half of your cycle) you want to emphasize zinc and selenium.
These will support your body in progesterone production and detoxification of any unwanted hormones that may be floating around.
In the second half of your cycle sesame and sunflower seeds help to give your body the appropriate boost.
Here’s how you do it:
During the first half of your cycle (menstrual and follicular phases):
Eat 1 tablespoon flax seeds + 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds per day
During the second half of your cycle (ovulation and luteal phases):
Eat 1 tablespoon sesame seeds + 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds per day
Seeds should be organic, raw, soaked & dehydrated (if possible), and ground for maximum absorption.
If that seems like too much hassle don’t worry about it, so long as you’re eating the right seeds you’ll get some benefit!
If you want to prepare them ahead of time, store ground (and if they’ve been soaked, dehydrated) seeds in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Have an irregular menstrual cycle? No problem.
You can also start with the flax and pumpkin seeds on the new moon and switch to sesame and sunflower seeds when the moon is full and begins to wane.
And have patience!
Hormones need some time to adjust.
Follow this protocol for at least 3-6 months to really feel the impact on your cycle.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
Do you have any favorite recipes that feature these seeds?
Share in the comments below so you can help make seed cycling easier and more fun for other women!
‘Til next time,
Love, Hugs, and Granola Bars,