By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
We all know that some women may feel that everything crashes leading up to their period. The immune system drops, so they get that cold that was lingering or a cold sore. They feel easily irritated, sensitive, overwhelmed, bloated and they may want to eat anything and everything in the fridge or pantry.
All of these symptoms relate to hormonal health.
What we eat, how we sleep, how much we exercise and even how much stress we experience each month can all have an impact on our hormones.
A women’s hormonal balance plays a vital role in her over all well-being.
A healthy balance of hormones is vital for:
Seed cycling is something I heard about recently. I’ve certainly used and recommended seeds to support healthy hormones due to their naturally occurring phytonutrient content and fiber, which helps support both balance and detoxification of hormones.
The idea of including certain seeds at certain times is intriguing and worth considering. Sounds good, right?
Seed Cycling 101
It includes consuming 1 tablespoon of each of these seeds freshly ground:
During your Follicular Phase
Day 1* of your cycle to day 14 or until ovulation consume:
*Note: Day 1 is the first day of your period
1 Tb of flaxseeds and 1 Tb of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) daily
During your Luteal Phase
From Day 15 or from ovulation to Day 28 or until you get your period you consume:
1 Tb of sesame and 1 Tb of sunflower seeds
These seeds can be added to juices, smoothies, chia puddings, salads, stir-fries, sprinkled on any meal or taken directly in water.
The reasoning behind these recommendations lies in the natural phytonutrient ingredient list. Lignans in the flaxseeds and sesame seeds help the body bind and excrete excess estrogen in the body, therefore balancing the progesterone to estrogen ratios. They can also offer a supportive benefit to PMS and other hormone-related issues.
The seeds also contain phytoestrogen-like compounds that bind to estrogen receptor sites and inhibit excess estrogenic effects and support balance. They can also offer a small increase if the natural levels of estrogen are low, which is why they are often referred to as estrogenic modulators.
The omega-3 and GLA content in the seeds supports healthier reproductive cycles due to the anti-inflammatory benefits and hormone balancing properties.
Seeds are also high in magnesium, selenium and zinc, which are hormonal-balancing minerals.
Sesame and sunflower seeds are both high in vitamin E that supports progesterone production.
Flaxseeds are high in alpha-lipoic acid, a supercharged antioxidant that is helpful to reduce oxidative stress and to help balance blood sugar levels, working to relieve many symptoms during the pre-menstrual phase.
Including ground seeds in your diet also supports bowel regularity which helps to detox toxins, naturally occurring hormones and xenoestrogens (artificial environmental estrogens, which are in our environment contributing to hormonal imbalances in a very big way).
It is recommended to purchase organic seeds when possible, store them in the fridge and grind them as close to consumption as possible.
Although seeds cycling has not been researched specifically, there are plenty of studies that demonstrate the benefits of seeds for hormonal health.