Written by Kate Morton, MS, RDN & Sydney Mulroy, RDN
Is there a connection between what we eat and our fertility?
The short answer is yes - and it’s never too early to start thinking about both your nutritional status and your fertility. Having regular ovulatory cycles is a key indicator of health for people in their reproductive years and many doctors refer to the menstrual cycle as our 5th vitamin sign. When it comes to nutrition and fertility there still needs to be a lot more research but there are a few key dietary patterns that research shows may have positive impacts on fertility.
- Fiber & whole grains
- Omega 3 - fatty acids
- Fruits & vegetables
- B Vitamins (specifically folic acid and Vitamin B-12)
- Overall healthy diet patterns (like the Mediterranean Diet)
To date, a majority of the research shows to support fertility, an overall healthy diet and lifestyle is key to help keep your hormones in balance and your overall body supported.
If you are looking to add fiber, omega 3’s and more good fats to your diet (all important parts of the Mediterranean Diet) seed cycling could be an easy way to boost your nutrients!
Seed Cycling and Fertility
With a strong link between diet and fertility, let's introduce a natural way to meet those nutrient needs to support balancing those critical hormones. The process of seed cycling involves consuming ground organic seeds daily at different stages of your menstruation cycle to support fertility and decrease PMS symptoms. It's important to note there is only one study on seed cycling at the moment but it's a food based practice with little to no risk in trying! The seeds involved with this practice include:
Flax: Flax seeds contain lignans, which aid in estrogen release, meaning they bind excess estrogen and help eliminate it to support estrogen levels. Healthy estrogen levels may support a decrease in inflammation for the optimal environment for hormonal signaling. Mentioned above, a diet high in unsaturated fat is linked to fertility, both flax and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fats, which support uterine blood flow and maintain healthy cell membranes. Additionally a small study found consuming flax seed for three months reduced the occurrence of an anovulatory cycle from 3 to 0 in a group of 36 women. (An anovulatory cycle is when an egg is not release during normal cycle.)
Pumpkin: Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which aids in progesterone production and supports testosterone levels. They’re also rich in antioxidants, which help protect your ovaries, eggs, and reproductive system as a whole.
Sesame: Sesame seeds are rich in zinc, which aids in progesterone production as listed above and zinc has also been found to support dysmenorrhea/painful periods. They also contain lignans and omega 2 fatty acids (like flax), which help block excess estrogen, and they have a slew of other benefits, including the ability to potentially lower inflammation and create a fertility promoting environment.
Sunflower: Sunflower seeds contain selenium, which helps improve liver function and remove excess estrogen. They also contain Vitamin E, which may help support progesterone production and overall antioxidant protection. There's new research also showing that the combination of selenium and Vitamin E together may be beneficial for improving ovarian reserves and fertility.
How to Seed Cycle
It’s simple to get started with this holistic, food-based fertility promoting practice of seed cycle. Follow this schedule and seed ratio:
Period - Ovulation: You eat a tablespoon of organic pumpkin + flax seeds from the first day of your period until you ovulate.
Ovulation - Period: Once you confirm ovulation until you start your next period, you eat organic sesame + sunflower seeds.
Have your Tempdrop handy? It is the perfect tool to help you know exactly when to switch your seeds!
Add these seeds to your grocery list, grind them up, and start including them into the meals you are already consuming! Even more convenient is to get the seeds in the ideal ratio already grounded and mixed based on your time of month. Check out Funk It’s seed cycling kits to make this new habit easier to start incorporating in your day.
Now you see there are natural and simple ways you can improve your diet to promote fertility. It is never too early to improve your menstruation health, especially if fertility is something that is important to you now or will be in the future. And it’s as easy as two scoops of seeds per day to start reaping the benefits!
Want to learn more about seed cycling or give it a try? Check out https://funkitwellness.com/