When my naturopath suggested that I start seed cycling to help balance my hormones, I had no idea where to start

If I told you that tiny, little seeds had the power to help restore and balance your hormones throughout your cycle, would you believe me? It’s true.

Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that I am no professional when it comes to understanding women’s health and hormones; I’m only passionate about learning all that I can. My journey with finding hormonal bliss started when I removed my Skyla IUD and opted for the natural fertility tracker, Daysy.

I was inspired to write this blog post because when I googled “seed cycling” and “seed rotation,” all of the blog posts I found felt extraordinarily confusing and not quite to-the-point as I had hoped.

seed cycling benefits

AN INTRODUCTION TO SEED CYCLING

Also known as seed rotation, seed cycling can help to bring balance back to your hormones. Chances are, you might not even be aware that your hormones require balance in the first place!

When I was on hormonal birth control, I was so out of touch with my cycle and didn’t understand the delicate process that my body was flowing through every month. Since the removal of my IUD and the incorporation of seed cycling, I’ve gotten more in touch with my body’s natural cycles than ever before.

Seed cycling is simply rotating different seeds throughout your cycle. There are specific seeds to be eaten during the first phase aka the menstrual/follicular phase (CD 1-CD 13) and the second phase aka the ovulatory/luteal phase (CD 14-CD 28) of your cycle, all aiming to help create hormonal balance.

Women are turning to seed cycling as a natural option to support an increase or balance in estrogen in the follicular phase (CD 1-CD 13) and an increase or balance in progesterone in the luteal phase (CD 14-CD 28).

I turned to seed cycling to help boost my fertility and help to increase my progesterone levels during my luteal phase. My naturopath had suggested seed cycling to help with the spotting I was experiencing the week before my period due to a drop in the hormone progesterone.

In addition to supporting fertility, seed cycling (or seed rotation) can assist alleviating symptoms associated such as:

  • Irregular periods
  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • Heavy cramping
  • PMS symptoms
  • Endometriosis
  • PCOS

HOW TO SEED CYCLE

The how on seed cycling is the part that confused me when I first started digging into seed cycling. For some reason, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around all the different phases, seeds, and requirements. I share more on what I’m doing now to support my seed cycling habit below.

A FEW IMPORTANT NOTES:

Not all women follow a regular 28-day cycle; some women’s cycles can range from 21 days up to 35 days. The factors that influence the length and regularity of our cycles include stress, diet, hereditary predisposition, etc. Seed cycling can aim to alleviate the irregularity and allow our bodies to fall into a more natural rhythm.

Also, if you’re experiencing extreme hormonal imbalance, I suggest working with a naturopath or holistically-minded gynecologist to find the best course of action for your individual needs.

PHASE ONE | MENSTRUAL + FOLLICULAR PHASE | DAY 1-13

When is your follicular phase? 

Your follicular phase starts on the first day of your menstrual cycle. That means, start counting your cycle on the first day of a full bleed, not the spotting that can happen at the end of your luteal phase.

Seeds to use daily during phase one:

Flax seeds (ground): 1 TBSP

Pumpkin seeds: 1 TBSP

Continue cycling ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds (no need to grind these, our teeth do that for us!) until you have confirmed ovulation, or around day 14.

PHASE TWO | OVULATORY + LUTEAL PHASE | DAY 14-28

Ovulation typically occurs on cycle day 14 and lasts, on average, for about six days. The luteal phase lasts around ten days, and anything significantly shorter could be a sign of hormonal imbalance.

Seeds to use daily during phase two

Sesame seeds (ground): 1 TBSP

Sunflower seeds: 1 TBSP

Continue consuming sesame and sunflower seeds until the first day of your menstrual period which indicates that you are back in phase one of your cycle.

sesame_seeds_seed_cycling

I STARTED A FEW MONTHS AGO

Like I mentioned above, I started seed cycling to help boost fertility and to balance out my hormones in the second phase of my cycle.

My naturopath mentioned that it would take a full four to six months to experience a shift in my body and how I felt during my cycles. I’ve been patient and tried my best to stick with the seed cycling regimen!

Side note: I found the idea of keeping track of what seeds to eat, buying them, grinding them (if needed) and incorporating them into my meals pretty overwhelming. Thankfully, a friend of mine introduced me to Food Period and my seed cycling has become a seamless part of my day.

Update: Food Period has graciously offered a 20% discount for first-time orders! Use code CARLEY20 at checkout.

Over the past few months, I’ve felt a decrease in my typical PMS symptoms, most notably my cravings and breast tenderness. I’m curious to see how (and if) the seed cycling protocol indeed will support my lower levels of progesterone in my luteal phase. Only time will tell!

flax seeds for hormone balance

THE SCIENCE OF SEED CYCLING

So, how does seed cycling make an impact on our body’s overall health and hormonal balance? The four seeds – flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower – are high in EFAs (or, essential fatty acids) that help to bind and rid the body of excess hormones or regulate hormone production. Learn more about the science behind seed cycling.

Check out the benefits of each of the four seeds used for seed rotation:

FLAX SEEDS

There is scientific evidence that flax can positively impact a woman’s menstrual cycle, mostly due to the lignans found in flax seeds. It’s important to grind the flax seeds before ingesting.

Lignans help to control excess estrogen production and are high in omega 3s.

PUMPKIN SEEDS

Naturally rich in zinc which can help the body to prepare for progesterone production in phase two. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in omega 3s.

SESAME SEEDS

Like flax seeds, sunflower seeds are high in lignans to help regulate cycles. Sesame seeds also contain magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and zinc. Make sure to grind these prior to consuming!

SUNFLOWER SEEDS

These little seeds contain high levels of Vitamin E which have been shown to stimulate the production of progesterone.

OTHER HELPFUL TOOLS I USE TO LEARN ABOUT AND SUPPORT MY CYCLES

I was on birth control for just about thirteen years, so when I finally went off, the learning curve was real. Here are some helpful tools, in addition to seed cycling, that I’ve discovered on my hormone-free journey.

BOOKS

Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler

Woman Code by Alisa Vitti

Beyond the Pill by Jolene Brighten

APPS

MyFlo

Daysy (only beneficial if you have the Daysy device)

LIFESTYLE

Daysy Fertility Monitor | I use this small device daily to take my basal body temperature (BBT) to determine my fertility status for the day and track my cycles

Modern Fertility | an at-home fertility test that I used to test my hormones and uncover a snapshot of my current fertility status and hormone levels

Sakara plant-based meal delivery | having a diet rich in plants, healthy fats, and fiber is so important when it comes to supporting your body’s natural cycles

Evening Primrose Oil | the omega 6s found in evening primrose oil can help to regulate hormone levels

Magnesium | can help to support hormonal imbalance and I take it at night to help with regular AM bowel movements (it’s a game-changer!)


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CARLEY

Carley Schweet once worked in the corporate fashion world of New York City, spending her workdays people pleasing and her nights and weekends reeling with sleepless anxiety.

Over time, she realized her stress arose from being afraid to say No —whether out of reluctance to hurt others’ feelings or due to her crippling anxiety and lack of self-care. She then quit her corporate job and graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. Today, she is a self-care coach and author of the book Boundaries with Soul.

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