Seed cycling is a simple, delicious, and effective way to bring some balance back to your menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is comprised of two major phases, the follicular phase and the luteal phase. Your hormones dictate how your body responds during each phase. If your menstrual cycle happened to be 28 days in length, and you ovulated on exactly day 14, the first 14 days starting from day 1 of your period would be considered the ‘follicular phase’. The follicular phase is predominated by the hormone estrogen. Estrogen continually increases in the first half of your cycle until a threshold is reached and a LH surge is sparked. An LH surge causes an egg to be released from a follicle in the ovary in a process called ovulation. The second half of your cycle (in this case: days 14-28) begins at ovulation and is called the ‘luteal phase’. It is predominated by the hormone progesterone. When these hormones become imbalanced we see things like irregular cycles, PMS, cramping, hormonal acne, anovulation, breast tenderness etc. Seed cycling can promote a healthy balance of hormones and help to regulate and improve menstrual issues.
What is seed cycling?
Specific seeds are ground up and then integrated into the diet at different times during your cycle. When seeds are ground up we expose the portion of the seed known as the lignans, which are phytoestrogenic. The phytoestrogenic lignans increase or decrease estrogen levels in the body based on what is needed. Seeds are also rich sources of oils, vitamins, and minerals.
How do I seed cycle?
1. Learn how to track your menstrual cycle. It’s helpful to know how long each cycle is so you can have a better estimation of when your follicular and luteal phases are. Understanding your ovulation signs will better pinpoint ovulation and when to transition into phase
2. Invest in a grinder. Grinding seeds closer to the time you will be consuming them helps to preserve their nutrients. It is also cheaper to buy full seeds than ones that have already been ground for you.
3. Buy your seeds organic, raw and unhulled.
4. Consume the seeds according to the phase of your cycle, and feel free to get creative. You can add them to smoothies, oatmeal, salads, soups, grains, toast, or shoot them mixed in water.
Irregular or absent period?
If you are not getting your period or if it is always irregular, seed cycling is done according to the moon phases. You can check online for your local moon calendar.
-Phase 1 will start on the first day of the new moon
-Phase 2 begins approximately 14 days later on the full moon
Seed cycling protocol:
FOLLICULAR PHASE (PHASE 1)
This is the first half of your cycle. Start on day 1 of your period through to ovulation (~day 14).
-1 tbsp of ground flaxseed
-1 tbsp of ground pumpkin seeds
LUTEAL PHASE (PHASE 2)
This is the second half of your cycle. Start on approximately day 14 (or the middle of your cycle/ovulation) until the end of your cycle.
-1 tbsp of ground sunflower seeds
-1 tbsp of ground sesame seeds
Once you have completed an entire cycle, continue the next cycle according to the same guidelines. For best results, seed cycling should be combined with a whole foods diet, and often requires at least 3 months for significant changes.
Dr. Michelle Hislop ND