Seed Cycling for Optimizing Hormones
– by Dr. Robyn Land, ND
Looking for overall ways to support your health? Seed Cycling can be a fantastic, food-based way to support your hormonal balance. It works so well because the hulls of the seeds contain compounds called lignans which help modulate the hormonal pathways of the body while the seed oils are comprised of essential (or omega) fatty acids that provide the building blocks for for making hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
When we look at a hormonal cycle for women, there are two main phases:
- Follicular Phase: from the 1st day of your cycle until you ovulate. This phase is dominated by the hormone, estrogen.
- Luteal Phase: from ovulation until your next menstrual cycle. This phase is dominated by the hormone, progesterone.
In a perfect world, these cycle back and forth, making for a hormonal cycle that has very little (or is free of) the common hormone concerns, such as PMS, pain with your cycle (called dysmenorrhea), or too heavy/too light of periods. However, when we add in stress, along with other environmental and physical factors, the levels of these hormones can shift, creating a hormonal cycle that is out of balance. Seed cycling is a wonderful way to help nudge the body back into a better rhythm.
Cycling Plan for Women:
- From Day 1 (first day of bleeding or from the new moon if you don’t have a regular cycle) to Day 14 (Estrogen-supportive days): 1 tablespoon of ground flax and/or ground pumpkin seed (you can do either of these individually or blend them together)
- Day 15 to Day 27 (Progesterone supportive portion): 1 tablespoon of ground sesame and/or sunflower seed (you can do either of these individually or blend them together)
Cycling Plan for Men:
Men: feeling left out? You can seed cycle too (it’s just the reverse of the women’s plan):
- From the new moon to the full moon have 1 Tablespoon per day of a mixture of ground sesame and sunflower seeds.
- From the full moon to the new moon have 1 Tablespoon per day of a mixture of ground flax and pumpkin seeds.
Make Seed Cycling easy:
While you can grind up the seeds and add them to virtually anything (oatmeal, sprinkle of salads, eat straight as a gruel if you are going hardcore!). I, personally, think the easiest way to incorporate seed cycling into your daily routine is making Power Balls. These are easy to make once a week and store in the fridge. Eat one ball per day:
Check out this recipe Luteal Phase Powder Balls from https://www.thelittlestoat.ca/blog/2020/4/26/maple-tahini-energy-balls:
Maple Tahini Energy Balls
from The Littlest Oat
- Makes 7 balls
- Keep in the fridge in an airtight container
- 3/4 cup raw sesame seeds
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 6 dates
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1-3 tbsp water
- In a food processor, combine sesame seeds and oats for about 30 seconds
- Add the dates and process again until well incorporated
- Add tahini, maple syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon, process again until a dough begins to form
- The dough should stick together when you press it. If not, add water 1 tbsp at a time (processing to combine) until it does. I used 2!
- Line a plate with parchment paper. Using a spoon, scoop the dough and roll into 7 balls using your hands
- To firm them up, place balls in the fridge for 20-30 minutes! Of course, you can eat one right away if you can’t wait, it’ll just be a little soft