What Are The Benefits of Seed Cycling?Sep 14, 2022
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is a smart way to consume nutrient-dense seeds, specifically flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower in a way that is in sync with the hormonal rhythms of a menstrual cycle. The beneficial hormonal influence of seed cycling can be extrapolated from the research showing the benefits of the numerous minerals, nutrients, and phytochemicals found in these super seeds.
- Flax seeds contain high levels of many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, most notably omega-3s, lignans, and fiber.
- Pumpkin seeds otherwise known as pepitas are packed full of nutrients most notably antioxidants (like carotenoids and Vitamin E), iron, zinc, tryptophan, and magnesium.
- Sesame seeds contain Vitamin E, zinc, iron, lignans, selenium, and manganese.
- Sunflower seeds contain many nutrients most notably Vitamin E, selenium, and antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids.
How does seed cycling work?
Starting on Day 1 through Day 14 (average day of ovulation), take 1 tbsp of each flax and pumpkin seeds daily.
From Day 15 through Day 28, take 1 tbsp of each sesame and sunflower seeds daily.
In cases of an irregular cycle, maintain the biweekly alternation of seeds in order to nudge the body into its natural rhythm. In cases of no period, use the lunar moon phases starting with the new moon as Day 1.
For the best results, it typically takes 3 months to see the most improvements.
So why rotate while seed cycling?
Just like ovulatory stimulation, natural or conventional techniques that are used in the first half of a cycle to help mature the follicles/eggs, the phytoestrogens/lignans of flax and pumpkin theoretically, are similarly used here.
In the 2nd ½ of the cycle, sesame seeds help reduce mental and physical fatigue and sunflower seeds have been shown to reduce inflammation which also can rear up in the luteal phase as well.
In full disclosure, while there’s research on the seeds and their nutrients, there are no clinical trials on the seed cycling method as a whole. There are, however, thousands of women who report anecdotal improvements and I see this method working brilliantly for people in clinical practice.
What are the benefits of seed cycling?
1) Regulates stool frequency.
Flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, and hemp seeds contain fiber that supports a healthy gut microbiome and regular stool frequency (relieve constipation and bind loose stools). When we have a healthy gut microbiome, we can keep our hormone levels more balanced.
Think of the gastrointestinal system as the drain in the bathtub; nothing can detox adequately if that aspect of our health is not working properly. We can do all the liver support in the world, but if our eliminatory pathways (urine, stool, sweat, and respiration) are not working well, we will recirculate what the body is meant to excrete.
2) Balancing effect on estrogen depending on what the body needs.
Phytoestrogens from flax, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, and nutrients such as zinc, selenium, and vitamin E generally work to balance estrogen and progesterone.
3) Antioxidants are important in reproductive health.
Sunflower seeds are packed with many nutrients most notably Vitamin E, selenium, thiamine, magnesium, protein, and linoleic fatty acids, as well as antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. Vitamin E and antioxidants in sunflower seeds may help to support progesterone levels in the luteal phase of a cycle.
4) Promotes more restful sleep.
Phytoestrogens from flax, pumpkin, and sesame seeds, and nutrients such as zinc, selenium, and vitamin E generally work to balance estrogen and progesterone which together can support restful sleep.
Sunflower seeds may help with progesterone levels during the second ½ of a cycle. Adequate progesterone levels support a calm mood and restful sleep. Pumpkin seeds may help with sleep as they are rich in magnesium and tryptophan both of which can support restful sleep. Tryptophan converts to serotonin and then melatonin and magnesium have a calming effect.
5) Supports healthy ovulation.
6) Supports healthy blood sugar and insulin.
Balanced blood sugar levels can reduce feelings of anxiety that often show up in PMS. Certain foods can also have a calming effect such as those with high fiber (available in all the seeds).
Pumpkin seeds are also an incredibly rich source of magnesium (1 tbsp = 78 mg). An analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of 2013-2016 found that 48% of Americans of all ages ingest less magnesium from food and beverages than what is recommended.
Diets with higher amounts of magnesium are associated with a significantly lower risk of diabetes, possibly because of the important role of magnesium in glucose metabolism. Low magnesium might worsen insulin resistance, a condition that often precedes diabetes or is at the root cause of PCOS.
7) Supports PMS reduction.
Balanced blood sugar levels can reduce feelings of anxiety. Certain foods can also have a calming effect such as those with high fiber (available in all the seeds) and magnesium (sourced from pumpkin seeds). Other calming foods include oats, berries, spinach, citrus, fish, and sauerkraut.
Sesame seeds may also support women with PMS due to their higher content of calcium. Women who have low dietary sources of calcium have been found to have a higher incidence of PMS.
8) Helps to reduce inflammation.
Sunflower seeds contain Vitamin E, selenium, thiamine, magnesium, protein, and linoleic fatty acids, as well as antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. Vitamin E and antioxidants in sunflower seeds may help reduce inflammation which in turn can have a hormone balancing effect.
A study found that consuming sunflower seeds with other seeds five times or more each week resulted in lower levels of inflammation, which also lowered risk factors for several chronic diseases. The thiamine and selenium may also help support increased levels of energy by way of increasing blood flow and oxygen to the body.
9) Reduces mental and physical fatigue.
Sesamin, a lignan found in sesame seeds is being studied to help reduce the effects of mental and physical fatigue which most notably occurs in the 2nd ½ of a menstrual cycle, during the luteal phase
How to start seed cycling:
Ready to try out seed cycling for yourself?
But…don’t want to measure out the seeds daily or keep track of which seeds go with each part of your cycle?
Then check out the superfood blend from Beeya Wellness — a company where I’m the Medical Advisor.
It was a dream to help create something that most all women could benefit from, that I would want most of my patients and myself doing on a daily basis.
I wanted it to be the PERFECT food as medicine…something:
- super delicious
Fast forward to the day Yasmin Nouri and Kaya Purohit reached out and asked if I wanted to help them start @beeyawellness
You know when you put something powerful out into the universe and then…there it is in front of you?
Well, it happened this past year.…and here we are!
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The feedback we’ve received in just a few weeks of launching our seed cycling line has been beyond what we could’ve hoped for AND that is because we’ve created something with:
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You can learn more about the product by heading to Beeya Wellness.
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