Does Seed Cycling Really Work? Nutrition consultant digs deep
At Camille Styles, we don’t shy away from a holistic approach to wellness. In fact, it is the foundation. From adaptogens to Ayurveda, we love a daily routine crafted with ancient wisdom. After all, these habits lead to better sleep, stress management, and hormone health. Admittedly, some things are more appealing than others. But being open to what does – and doesn’t – work with your body is the beauty of biological personality. There’s no better time to experiment, be curious, and be inspired.
Today, we bring you a new routine to add to your repertoire: seed biking. This hormone booster is one of the top trending wellness practices. Does it live up to the hype? Let’s dive into both sides of the story.
This simple practice is touted to support hormone levels, reduce PMS symptoms, and boost fertility. In this tutorial you will learn what seed rotation is and how to combine it. While it lacks rigorous scientific research, seed cycling is a way to synchronize your menstrual cycle with your life—a practice worth exploring.
Featured image of Sara Prince.
What is seed rotation?
Seed cycling is a growing dietary trend that is said to balance hormones, boost fertility and ease symptoms of menopause. It involves eating flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds at different times of the month. Theoretically, the grain cycle could enhance or inhibit the production of estrogen and progesterone in the body. In turn, balance and optimize your hormones.
Cycling nuts is also known to relieve symptoms caused by hormonal imbalances. At any rate, for the seeding cycle to work optimally, your seeds must be ground. Whole seeds don’t break down completely in your gut, so grinding them helps your body get more nutrients out of the seeds.
Overview: Menstrual cycle
Before we go any further, let’s break down the menstrual cycle. Although most menstruating women believe they are “on” or “off” their period, it’s more complicated than that. In fact, a woman’s menstrual cycle has four distinct phases: menstruation, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal. The whole cycle lasts from 25-32 days.
• period: menstruation begins
• follicle: 7-10 days before ovulation
• Ovulation: 3-5 days ovulation
• corpus luteum: 10-14 days before period
Your cycle may be longer or shorter than the number of days listed above. Every woman’s cycle is different. However, most experts agree that cycles of less than 22 days or more than 40 days are considered abnormal. Consult with your healthcare provider — or let’s work together! We can improve your cycle, naturally.
What happens during the menstrual cycle?
Each month – during the years from puberty to menopause – a woman’s body goes through a number of changes. In essence, to get ready for a possible pregnancy. This sequence of hormone-driven events is known as the menstrual cycle. During each menstrual cycle, an egg develops and is released from the ovary. This happens during the follicular phase (estrogen rises). During the second half of the cycle, the lining of the uterus will form. Progesterone is increased. If there is no pregnancy, the lining of the uterus will shed. In turn, you start getting your period. First day of bleeding = start of a new cycle.
How does seed cycling help with hormonal balance?
There are natural fluctuations throughout your cycle (i.e., estrogen rises and falls). But what happens when your hormones aren’t working properly? Hello, imbalance. This manifests in a variety of symptoms: PMS, cramps, irregular periods, low sex drive, etc. Enter: cycling seeds.
The seeds contain two hormone helpers – lignans and essential fatty acids. Research shows that lignans can help bind to excess hormones, helping to secrete too much estrogen in the body. And the fatty acids are essential for both hormone production and balance. When you cycle seeds, your body works to optimize the nutrients in pumpkin, flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds.
Seed cycling benefits
A woman’s hormones are a complex, delicate system. They are greatly influenced by diet, exercise, sleep, stress levels, and environmental toxins. This means that any of these factors can cause a hormonal imbalance. In turn, a mild hormone imbalance can become the basis of a number of health concerns: irregular periods, acne, PCOS, thyroid disorders, and chronic fatigue.
All that said, riding a seed bike can aid your monthly cycle, aiding PMS symptoms — moodiness, cramps, food cravings, breast tenderness, and hormonal acne. Seeding cycles can also help reduce ovulation, irregular periods, and amenorrhea.
What research says about seed cycling
Although there are many anecdotes about the usefulness of seed cycling, scientific evidence is still lacking. As someone with PCOS, it has been an integral part of my healthcare routine. I’ve found – along with other hormone-balancing routines – that seed cycling has helped regulate my cycle. It takes about three months to notice the changes. I have also seen positive results from my health coaching clients.
Women experience fewer PMS, fewer cramps, and/or a positive change in the length of their cycle. I often recommend seed cycling for women who are on hormonal birth control. It’s a natural way to help them get their cycle back by improving hormonal health through food.
How to start riding a seed bike
To get started, find out where you are in your menstrual cycle. You can follow this! Are you in the follicular phase (currently menstruating or ended your period less than 10 days ago)? Or, are you in your luteal phase (you just ovulated or you ovulated recently)? Depending on what stage you’re at, skip to the section below to see which seed combinations you should start with. If your period is irregular, don’t worry. You can still effectively plant seeds.
Can I follow a grain cycle if my periods are irregular?
Right! To keep things simple, follow the phases of the moon. In this case, day 1 of your cycle will begin with a new moon. Day 1-14 (from new moon to full moon), eat pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. 15/28 (full moon to new moon), eat sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Whether you have regular cycles or not, a few months of cycling should be enough to start seeing the benefits. Remember, consistency is key.
Seed cycle: Follicle phase
When: Days 1-14 of your cycle. During this phase, you need a balanced amount of estrogen to build the lining of your uterus.
What seeds: Ground pumpkin and ground flaxseed.
PUMPKIN granules are rich in zinc, which helps support progesterone production and support healthy testosterone levels. They are also rich in antioxidants, which help protect your entire ovaries, eggs, and reproductive system.
FLAXSEEDS contains lignans, which help release estrogen. That is, they bind to excess estrogen and help get rid of it. This process supports ideal estrogen levels. Both flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fats, which help encourage blood flow to the uterus and maintain healthy cell membranes.
Seed cycle: luteal phase
When: Days 15-28 of your cycle. During this phase, the corpus luteum begins to secrete progesterone, a sex hormone that helps thicken the lining of the uterus and prepares it for implantation.
What seeds: Ground sesame and ground sunflower seeds.
Porcelain seeds are rich in zinc, which helps support the production of progesterone. They also contain lignans, which help block excess estrogen, and they have a host of other benefits, including their ability to reduce inflammation.
Sunflower seeds contain selenium, which improves liver function and eliminates excess estrogen. They also contain vitamin E, which helps stimulate progesterone production.
Where can I buy seeds for sowing?
Over the years, I’ve found that the easiest way to cycle seeds is through a pre-ground seed carrier. Enter: Beeya Wellness and Funk It Wellness. If you prefer coarser seeds, choose Beeya. They just grind their seeds in small, local batches! This helps to maintain the nutritional structure of the seeds. As soon as my seeds arrived in the mail, I put them in the fridge. You can also buy in bulk and keep the seeds in the freezer.
For finer particles, Funk It has you covered. Regardless, both companies do all the hard work for you. No need to grind seeds at home! Plus, the seeds are packaged for ease of use. No need to remember which seeds to get – the bags are clearly labeled. If you choose Funk It, I’ll give you a discount: use ‘EDIE15’ at checkout.
How to incorporate seed cycling into your diet
The sky is the limit! You can add them to your breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack(s). Think: cereal, yogurt, salad, chia pudding, smoothie bowl, tapioca, roasted veggies, overnight oats, hummus, etc. Other creative ways to use your grain cycle:
Again, with seed cycles, consistency is key. Hopefully you’ll notice a difference in your menstrual cycle within three months of cycling daily.
This newspaper only gives true information. It is not, nor is it intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and we recommend that you always consult your healthcare provider.