The AMAZING benefits of seed cycling

The AMAZING benefits of seed cycling

Have you heard of seed cycling before?

Well, lets deep dive into some of the AMAZING benefits that seed cycling has to offer. 

Basically, seed cycling uses different seeds during the different phases of your cycle to help balance and regulate your menstrual cycle. It is a fantastic, relatively cheap health hack that you can use to super charge your hormonal health. 

Imbalanced hormones, particularly those that influence your menstrual cycle like oestrogen and progesterone can lead to wide range of health concerns such as irregular/absent cycles, painful and heavy periods, PMS symptoms, vaginal dryness, low libido, breast tenderness, infertility and even constipation. 

Now it's important to stress, that cycling seeds will not be your fix all cure for everything- but it is a step in the right direction to support and reduce your symptoms. If you believe you are struggling with your hormonal health it's a great idea (highly recommended actually) to reach out to Meagan our founder and Clinical Nutritionist here. 

OK- back to seed cycling! 

Overview of your Cycle

During your follicular phase of your cycle you will begin with relatively low levels of oestrogen and progesterone, this triggers the bleeding (typically every month). As your bleed stops, your ovaries will once again begin to produce follicles and your oestrogen levels will gently rise, reaching their peak just before the start of your luteal phase. Although your ovaries produce several follicles, only one (typically) will produce an egg, which continues to develop throughout the rest of the follicular phase. 

This is egg is then released during a very short ovulatory phase which is triggered by a big surge in lueteinizing hormone, releasing the egg typically between 16-32 hours after this surge. After the egg is released, your oestrogen levels will drop dramatically and your progesterone levels will begin to rise. This signals the start of the luteal phase. 

During the luteal phase, your progesterone levels will start to rise and work to prepare the uterus incase fertilisation did occur, thicken the lining of the uterus and create thicker cervical mucus to prevent bacteria and sperm from entering. Levels of oestrogen will also rise during the luteal phase to help thicken the lining of the uterus in case of possible fertilisation. 

If fertilisation did occur, then your body will begin to produce a hormone called "human chorionic gonadotropin" which is what a pregnancy test measures and progesterone levels will continue to rise. 

However, if fertilisation did not happen then this triggers a drop in both oestrogen and progesterone stimulating the start of the follicular phase and your next bleed.

How to seed cycle 

During your follicular phase, which is days 1-14 of your cycle you want to eat:

  • 1 tbsp of ground pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed every day. 

During your luteal phase, which is days 15-28 of your cycle you want to eat:

  • 1 tbsp of ground sesame seeds 
  • 1 tbsp of ground sunflower seeds every day. 

How seed cycling works 

During your follicular phase, oestrogen is the main hormone. However, oestrogen excess can occur resulting in symptoms like heavy & painful periods, tender breasts, and blood clotting. Flaxseeds contain a nutrient called lignans, which has a small oestrogen promoting effect. Flaxseeds are also rich in omega-3 which can help reduce inflammation and pain. 

Pumpkin seeds which are rich in zinc work synergistically with flaxseeds to help prepare the egg for release as well as promote a healthy rise in progesterone after the ovulatory phase. Together, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds work to promote a balanced rise in oestrogen. 

During your luteal phase, it is important to have a healthy rise in progesterone to support thickening of the tissue in the uterus. Sesame seeds contain zinc and calcium which works to promote the production of progesterone. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E and selenium which helps support progesterone levels and healthy development of the embryo if fertilisation occurred. 

No Period? No Worries! 

If you don't have a period as your in your postpartum period, breastfeeding, just come of the pill or heading into menopause- thats ok! You can follow the cycles of the moon. On the first day of the new moon start eating the pumpkin & flaxseeds, then as the moon turns full, eat the sesame and sunflower seeds. 

Incorporating seed cycling 

You don't have to eat the seeds straight off the spoon- that wouldn't be the most enjoyable thing to do.. So here are some ideas of how to get creative with seed cycling: 

  • Add the seeds into your smoothie 
  • Mix into bliss balls or homemade protein balls 
  • Make homemade pesto by blitzing up the seeds into your favourite pesto recipe
  • Sprinkle on top of avocado on toast 
  • Mix into chia puddings or overnight oats 
  • Blend to make a smooth seed butter to enjoy on a slice of sourdough

 

Written by: Meagan, Clinical Nutritionist & Founder of Maternal Essentials. If you would like to work 1:1 with Meagan, click HERE 

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