By Lindsay Chandler, PCOS Food Advocate
Seed cycling seems to be a hot topic all over the internet, so I wanted to share some of the true benefits for women with PCOS. It may seem strange that small seeds could have such a big impact on hormone health, but seed cycling has many healing benefits and it’s so simple to add into your daily routine.
This old naturopathic therapy has been used for centuries to support the production of hormones as well as metabolism and detoxification. Seed cycling utilizes four different seeds during two phases of your menstrual cycle. Flax and pumpkin seeds are used during the first half of your cycle, while sesame and sunflower seeds are used in the second.
During days 1-14: Day 1 is the first day of your period. Incorporating 1 tbsp of ground flax seed and ground pumpkin seed can help regulate estrogen, which tends to be more dominant during this phase of your cycle. This prepares your body for progesterone production as well. Many women struggling with PCOS have also been found to be estrogen dominant (but estrogen is still often not optimal). Weight gain, fibroids and ovarian cysts are symptoms of this imbalance. When you incorporate these ground seeds during the first half of your cycle they will help to balance and rid your body of excess estrogen.
During days 15 – 30: Begin incorporating 1 tbsp of each ground sesame seed and sunflower seeds into your daily routine. Both of these seeds help to promote progesterone production and ovulation. Signs of low progesterone levels are similar to estrogen dominance but can also include insomnia, anxiety and migraines. It is important to consume these seeds ground because whole seeds can sometimes be more difficult to digest. Also, crossing these seeds over during your cycle will not be beneficial. Instead try incorporating other nuts and seeds during the month like chia, almonds and hemp for added nutrients.
What is so special about each of these seeds?
- Flax Seeds: Helps stop excess production of estrogen because of the omega 3 and lignans they contain.
- Pumpkin seeds: These are loaded with omega 6 fats and zinc which support a healthy immune system and reproductive function.
- Sesame seeds: High in omega 6 and vitamin E – both are essential for ovulation.
- Sunflower seeds: Similar to flax, these are high in omega 3 and lignans. They continue to work on keeping estrogen balance during the second half of your cycle.
Now you may be wondering where to you begin when you are missing your period, and curious if adding in seed cycling to your routine will help support you even without a period. The answer is YES! Incorporating seed cycling can help get your period back on track. Use the new moon as day 1 of your cycle if you are missing your period or in menopause. It’s not advised to seed cycle during pregnancy but during the postpartum period it can help to regulate your hormones.
Get cycling ladies! These little seeds can help your hormones in a big way.
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