Estrogen and progesterone are two of the key hormones that help regulate your menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels rise during the first half of the cycle, whereas progesterone levels rise (while estrogen levels slowly decline) during the second half of your cycle. An imbalance between estrogen and progesterone through- out this cycle, can contribute to emotional and physical PMS symptoms, menstrual cramps, acne, short luteal phases, anovulation and irregular cycles to name a few.
Seed cycling is a technique that helps your body naturally re-balance it’s hormone levels, namely estrogen and progesterone, by including different seeds during the different phases of your men- strual cycle. The concept is fairly simple: The seed hulls contain lignans, which are chemicals that help bind up excess hormones, while the seed oils contain essential fatty acids that provide the building blocks for making hormones.
HOW TO USE SEED CYCLING
This protocol should be done according to your menstrual cycle if it is regular, or according to the phases of the moon cycle if your own cycle is irregular or absent. For instance, you would start with Phase 1 of the protocol on the first day of the new moon and begin phase 2 of the protocol approximately 14 days later when the moon is full.
PHASE 1 (FOLLICULAR PHASE)
DAYS 1 – 14 OF YOUR CYCLE
Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of your period and the two weeks that follow make up the follicular phase. This is the estrogen-dominant phase of your cycle.
Every day take:
- 1 tbsp of ORGANIC, RAW, and GROUND FLAX seeds.
- 1 tbsp of ORGANIC, RAW and GROUND PUMPKIN seeds.
These seeds are both rich in omega 3 fatty acids which promote healthy cell membranes. Flax seeds contain lignans, which will block excess estrogen in the first phase of your cycle. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which supports progesterone production and release for the second phase of your cycle.
- Every day take a fish oil supplement that contains at least 1500mg combined total of EPA/DHA
- RECOMMENDED BRAND: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Fish Oil
PHASE 2 (LUTEAL PHASE)
DAYS 15-28 OF YOUR CYCLE
Ovulation marks the beginning of Phase 2 of your cycle where your body shifts from estrogen production to progesterone production. This is known as the luteal phase
Every day take:
- 1 tbsp of ORGANIC, RAW, and GROUND SESAME seeds.
- 1 tbsp of ORGANIC, RAW and GROUND SUNFLOWER seeds.
These seeds are high in omega 6 fatty acids. Sesame seeds, which also contain lignans, help to block excess estrogen. Sunflower seeds provide the body with selenium, a trace mineral that assists the liver in its detoxification process and thus overall hormonal balance.
- Every day take 500mg of Evening Primrose Oil (EPO). EPO contains gamma linoleic acid (GLA) which inhibits the production of inflammatory prostaglandins that can cause menstrual pain.
It is best to purchase the whole seeds (raw, organic and unhulled) and use a coffee grinder, high-powered blender or food processor to grind them.
Only prepare a 2 day supply at a time as the ground seeds are susceptible to oxidation and can go rancid. Store the ground seeds in an airtight container or jar and keep in the refrigerator to maintain maximum freshness.
HOW TO CONSUME
They can be taken however is easiest for you. I would recommend throwing them in smoothies, salads, soups, oatmeal or sprinkling them on veggies. You can also simply consume them on their own as if they were a supplement.
While you may notice changes within the first month, it usually takes about 3-4 cycles to see significant improvement. Be patient with your body and be consistent.
To make it super simple to get started, I’ve put together two “power ball” recipes that incorporate these seeds in a simple way! All you’ve gotta do is snack and forget about it!
FOLLICULAR BLISS BALLS
SERVINGS: 24 balls
TIME: 20 minutes
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp whole flax seeds
- 5 pitted dates
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 2 tsps maca powder (optional)
- 2 tbsps unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsip sea salt
- Mix together pumpkin seeds & flax seeds
- Add ¾ cup of this mixture to the food processor and process for 5 minutes or until smooth
- Add remaining ingredients and process again until smooth.
- Roll mixture into balls and dredge in additional coconut flakes or cacao
- Refridgerate for at least 1-2 hours to et them set before eating.
NOTES: For seed cycling, eat 2-3 per day for best results. These can be stored in an air-right container in the fridge for two weeks, or freeze up to three months.
LUTEAL ENERGY BITES
SERVINGS: 16 balls
TIME: 20 minutes
- 1 cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup sesame seeds
- ½ cup pitted dates
- ¼ cup cashew or almond butter
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/8 tsip sea salt
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (for rolling – optional)
- Add the sunflower and sesame seeds to a high-powered blender or food processor and process until it forms a flour. Move to bowl for later use.
- Place the pitted dates, cashew or almond butter, and coconut oil into the bowl of a food processor. Puree until mostly smooth and creamy.
- Add the ground seeds, unsweetened coconut, coconut flour, and a pinch of sea salt. Process, scraping down the sides, until a chunky mixture forms.
- Roll the dough into balls, a little smaller than a golf ball. The batter should easily roll into balls, but if it seems too dry, add 1 tbsp of almond milk. You should end up with about 14-16 balls.
- Roll each ball in toasted coconut flakes if desired, then refirdgerate in a sealed container for at least a couple hours before consuming.
NOTES: For seed cycling, eat 2-3 per day for best results. These can be stored in an air-right container in the fridge for one week, or freeze up to 3 months.