So many of us have or still do take the pill to deal with hormonal-related symptoms like acne, migraines, and more. And if we deal with those symptoms, one of the culprits might be due to our natural rhythm being out of balance.
Our natural hormones ebb and flow all month long, and the levels are different on any given day. This can explain why we feel and think differently at different times of the month.
The best way to illustrate that is through the graphic below, which is an illustration of our hormone levels throughout our monthly cycle:
As you can see, during the first half of the cycle, estrogen increases pretty quickly until it peaks mid-cycle (this is around the time that we ovulate).
As it starts to fall, progesterone increases and eventually peaks halfway through, and then both hormones start to fall until we get to our period, where the cycle starts itself over.
A lot of the women I work with experience something called estrogen dominance, where there is an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone…where estrogen levels are much higher than progesterone. One of the jobs of progesterone is to balance estrogen out, and if our progesterone is weak or our estrogen is too strong, estrogen gets out of balance.
Estrogen dominance can also mean that the body is having a difficult time processing the estrogen out…so it hangs out in the body and causes a lot of the symptoms.
It also can lead to copper toxicity, because estrogen raises copper in the body, and copper, in turn, raises estrogen.
One of the simplest, most inexpensive, natural ways to support this imbalance is through seed cycling.
When I first heard the term, I’m afraid to admit that I kind of scoffed at it. Really? Seeds are powerful enough to help restore balance back to my hormones.
But in fact, they are!
What exactly is seed cycling?
It’s strategically eating specific seeds at different parts of the month. The seeds you eat will either help promote estrogen production or progesterone production.
During the first 14 days of your cycle (day 1 is the first day of your period), it’s recommended to eat 1 tbsp each of flaxseed and pumpkin seeds each day.
>>These seeds naturally support estrogen production (by containing lignans and zinc), but can also help in clearing excess estrogen, also known as estrogen dominance.
Starting at day 15, it’s recommended to change over to 1 tbsp of sesame and sunflower seeds each day. Continue this through the end of the month until your period starts.
>>Sesame seeds (high in zinc) and sunflower seeds (high in vitamin E) help with progesterone production.
Even if you don’t have an exact 28-day cycle, it’s recommended to stay on this pattern, because over time the seeds will naturally help shift things into balance.
Seed cycling works best when the seeds are raw and ground, as grinding the seeds increases the surface area for absorption. Here are some suggestions on how you can incorporate these into your daily routine:
- Blending seeds into smoothies (my favorite way to do it!)
- Making fresh seed butter (to enjoy with fruit or toast)
- Making a raw seed-based granola
- Putting them in baked goods
- Sprinkling seeds on a salad
- Mixing seeds into salad dressing
- Adding seeds to chia pudding, oatmeal, or yogurt parfaits
I’ve never had any issue finding ground flaxseed at my local grocery store. So I usually buy that there and then purchase the other 3 seeds on Amazon. Here are the brands I use (these are NOT affiliate links):
- Ground pumpkin seeds
- Ground sesame seeds
- Note that these are not ground. The ground sesame seeds I used to buy have been out of stock for a while. If you find ground sesame seeds – please let me know!
- Ground sunflower seeds
Keep in mind that our hormones only reset once per month…so it may take a few cycles to really see results. I saw results after just one month, and each month got better and better.
Just be consistent every single day, be patient, and track your symptoms daily. See how they improve over time.
Tracking is key — because what we track improves. Paying attention gives us clues as to what’s going on.
A question that I often get is – can I do this even on birth control?
Yes, absolutely. Remember that this supports the natural hormonal production. Think of it as biohacking – you’re using micro- and macro-nutrient therapy to enhance the performance of your hormonal system.
I also created a printable download for you that you can refer as a reminder about which seeds to eat when. Click the image below to download it.
Give seed cycling a try and let me know how it goes for you!!
All my best,