March 9, 2022

Seed Cycling 101

Have you heard about seed cycling, but not quite sure what it is or what it entails? Seed cycling is a practice believed to help regulate hormones by “cycling,” through specific seeds consumed at different stages of the menstrual cycle.

Who Can Do Seed Cycling?

Anyone! (So long as you don’t have an allergy or sensitivity to flax, pumpkin, sesame, or sunflower seeds).

Seed cycling can be beneficial if you:

  • Want to get off of hormonal birth control
  • Want to encourage fertility
  • Have PCOS
  • Have painful menstrual cramps, irregular periods or no period (amenorrhea)
  • Are peri-menopausal or post-menopausal

How To Start

First things first, consult with your midwives for proper guidance and medical advice to make sure seed cycling is right for you.

The next step is to get familiar with your cycle. You can use Natural Family Planning to help figure out when you ovulate and when your predicted menstruation is. After you have figured out your cycle changes, you can start seed cycling.

Sesame seeds can be ground into a fine powder and eaten during the luteal phase along with sunflower seeds.
Sesame seeds can be ground into a fine powder and eaten during the luteal phase along with sunflower seeds.

For the first stage of your cycle, you should eat one tablespoon of flax seeds and one tablespoon of pumpkin seeds every day until ovulation. Once ovulation occurs, switch to eating one tablespoon of sesame seeds and one tablespoon of sunflower seeds everyday until your period.

Let’s use a 28-day cycle as an example.

Days 1-14: Eat one tablespoon each of ground pumpkin and flax seeds

Days 15-28: Eat one tablespoon each of ground sesame and sunflower seeds

Not everyone has a 28-day cycle though, so adjust according to your cycle. This is when recognizing ovulation becomes important since it’s not always as obvious as a period.

For Irregular Cycles

For irregular cycles or a missing period (amenorrhea) you can use the moon as a guide for seed cycling.  An irregular period can be defined as a full cycle lasting longer than 35 days or menstruating longer than 20 days. Use the new moon as your cycle day 1, and the full moon as your cycle day 15.

The moon cycle guide is also recommended for women who are peri-menopausal and post-menopausal.

Keep a Journal

Sesame, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are believed to work in tandem to balance hormones.
Sesame, flax, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are believed to work in tandem to balance hormones.

When starting seed cycling, you may not notice immediate changes. Seed cycling can take a few months or cycles to really see the benefits. It can be helpful to keep a journal documenting the symptoms of each cycle to look back on.

Did you experience less painful menstrual cramps? Have you noticed an increase in cervical mucus, especially around ovulation? How are you feeling emotionally?

Taking notes of your symptoms will also help you get a better idea of when you ovulate and when to expect your next period. Knowing these will help you know when to switch seeds.

How Should I Eat Them?

Raw, ground seeds work best. Grinding the seeds before consumption makes the nutrients more readily available for the body to absorb. You can grind a few days worth of seeds and store them in the fridge or freezer to make it easier.

You don’t need special recipes, just incorporate them into your food. Try throwing them in with a smoothie, sprinkle them onto your oatmeal, toast, or yogurt. It’s really up to you!

Does It Work?

Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and zinc.
Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and zinc.

Truth be told, there isn’t much scientific evidence to back seed cycling. It just hasn’t been studied much and more research into this practice is needed. We do have a small study from 1993 that showed women who had consumed flax seeds had a longer luteal phase, compared to the control group who did not consume flax seeds. There was no significant increase in estrogen in either group.

If nothing else, we do know that these four seeds are beneficial to overall health and are high in fiber, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, omega-3’s and other healthy fats. So barring any allergies, incorporating them into your regular diet only stands to benefit.

Other Contributions to a Healthy Hormonal Balance

Eating seeds is not the only way to ensure a healthy balance of hormones though. Sleep, diet, and exercise can all contribute to making sure your body is getting what it needs. Meditation and practicing self-care can also have a positive impact on your hormones.

So do you want to give seed cycling a try? To help decide if it’s right for you, schedule a consultation with our midwives today!

Dakota Collins
Dakota Collins is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mother of two precious little girls who is passionate about freedom in pregnancy and childbirth.
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