"I think I have a hormone imbalance", a common complaint I hear among women and something that I have struggled with myself on and off over the years. Hormone imbalances can be tricky because we have over 5o different hormones in our bodies and they can be affected by things like stress, poor diet, the birth control pill, over exercising, under exercising and ingesting too many toxins from food and our environment.
Seed cycling has been around for quite some time and has been used to help women who are menstruating or going through menopause, balance out their hormones naturally. If you struggle with PMS symptoms like sore breasts, cramps, heavy or irregular bleeding, you might want to consider trying this natural method.
What is seed cycling?
Basically it is rotating different seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower) throughout the the different phases of your menstrual cycle. It helps to boost estrogen during the follicular phase (first part of your cycle) and progesterone levels during the luteal phase (second part of your cycle).
This method is helpful for women who experience estrogen dominance and low estrogen as well. These seeds act as phytoestrogens and contain lignans that mimic estrogen in the body. During the first 14 days of your cycle, the follicular phase, estrogen levels are low and our bodies prepare us for ovulation. Estrogen levels fluctuate throughout our cycle and if they are too high or too low, this can cause an imbalance and lead to uncomfortable PMS or menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
How to Seed Cycle:
To start, you will need to track your cycle and figure out what the first day of your cycle is, typically the day your period finishes or the start of the new moon.
Consume one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and one tablespoon of pumpkin seeds per day. Top your cereal, oatmeal, smoothies or yogourt with the seed mixture. Make sure they are organic and freshly ground. Store them in your refrigerator.
One tablespoon of sesame seeds and one tablespoon of sunflower seeds per day.
That's it! Super simple. If you decide you want to try seed cycling, I would suggest following the protocol for minimum 3 months.
I think all too often we resort to quick fixes when we are feeling discomfort. I remember being younger and going to the doctor as I suffered with severe cramps. I was put on the pill with no questions asked. I wish someone had taught me about proper nutrition and offered me a more holistic alternative. I find it's like this with a lot of doctors, which is why I like to work with naturopaths who get to the root of the problem, not just provide a coverup.
I haven't actually tried this method myself but do believe in the power of incorporating omega 3 fatty acids into the diet, especially ground flaxseeds and evening primrose oil. I am all about convenience and balance. If this seems too daunting a task to track your cycle and rotate the seeds, try to just incorporate them more into your diet each day. Add ground flaxseeds to your smoothies or oats, top your salads with pumpkin seeds.
Do you suffer with hormone imbalance? I would love to hear your stories and any challenges. I think the more we talk about it, the more we learn.
Always here for questions.