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An Introduction to Seed Cycling

Written by Michele Drake, FAE

Have you heard of seed cycling?

If you’re looking for a gentle way to promote hormonal balance, seed cycling might be a good choice for you.

What Is Seed Cycling?

In short, seed cycling is a rotation of edible seeds in your diet. Seeds eaten in the first part of your menstrual cycle are meant to help with lowering excess estrogen, and seeds eaten in the last part of your menstrual cycle are meant to help promote progesterone.  

seeds on a spoon

What's The Research Behind It?

Seed cycling (like so many natural treatments) is one of those healing modalities which has not been extensively researched. Most of the seed cycling research comes from people who suffer from PCOS.

What we do know is that many people report decreased intensity and longevity of cycle-related symptoms, such as: 

  • painful breasts,
  • bloating,
  • cramps,
  • acne,
  • mood swings,
  • fatigue,
  • and anxiety.

Who Should Use Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling can be used by anyone from puberty to post-menopause. (You should check with a healthcare provider before using seeds if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking hormone replacement therapy.)

Seed cycling works optimally when you can accurately identify the follicular and luteal phases (by measuring your sleeping temperature with Tempdrop, or as part of a fertility awareness method).

If you don’t have a cycle, or if your cycle is very irregular, you can follow the moon cycle (begin phase 1 on the new moon) or a 28 day pattern to get started.

woman looking at the new moon

What Should I Eat And When?

The seed cycling protocol from MoonCycle Seed Company:

FOLLICULAR PHASE

During the follicular phase (the first half of your cycle, before ovulation) consume ground pumpkin and flax to help reduce excess estrogen. The seeds help lower estrogen in the following ways:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids - they help maintain healthy cell membranes
  • Lignans - act on the liver to block excess estrogen 
  • Zinc (particularly high in pumpkin seeds) - helps play a role in setting up for progesterone
  • Flax (high in fiber) - helps to bind excess hormones and help your body get rid of them.

LUTEAL PHASE

During the luteal phase (after ovulation), enhance progesterone by eating sesame and sunflower seeds.

Eat about 2 Tablespoons (ground) by adding to your food once a day (oatmeal, smoothie, yogurt). It’s not advised to cook with seeds because the intense heat will melt fatty acids. The seeds help enhance progesterone because they contain:

  • Omega 3 and 6 - these help protect cell membranes
  • Lignans - block excess estrogen
  • Selenium - is high in sesame which helps assist your liver in detoxification.

You can definitely start seed cycling on your own, maybe set it as part of your 2021 health goals, but if measuring and grinding the seeds sounds like a hassle, MoonCycle Seed Company provides a service on a one-time or subscription basis. They also have a selection of other products that can make integrating this easier.

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Michele Drake offers one-on-one classes for natural birth control, conception, menstrual wellness, and achieving hormonal balance. She is also donation-based distance birth control doula support. You can find her through her website or over on Instagram.Michele Drake is a Fertility Awareness Educator and advocate with a passion for supporting people with their birth control choices. After witnessing many friends struggle to find their ideal method for avoiding pregnancy, balance their hormones, or achieve pregnancy, she was inspired to empower people with knowledge about their own bodies so that they may make informed choices about their health.

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