Many women have trouble with their menstrual cycles, from menstrual cramps, back aches, PMS, low energy, irregular cycles, uterine fibroids and more. This is due in part to hormonal imbalances, in particular an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone.
The good news is that hormonal imbalances can often be helped with seed cycling. Seed cycling works to benefit the regularity and health of the entire cycle by supporting our hormone production, binding and metabolism. Different seeds contain different types and amounts lignans and essential fatty acids. Lignans help our body bind up excess hormones, whereas fatty acids help with hormone production. Together they work on balancing hormones throughout the entire menstrual cycle. But first a little about what is going on. The recipe for seed cycling is at the end of this article.
MENSTRUAL CYCLE HORMONE BALANCE
The female reproductive cycle involves an interplay of hormones that normally results in cyclical changes in the ovaries and uterus. Each cycle takes anywhere from 20 – 35 days, with the average being 28 days, to complete and involves the development and release of an egg from the ovaries and the preparation of the uterus to receive a fertilized egg.
If fertilization doesn’t occur, the endometrial (uterine) lining is lost through menstruation (day 1). Estrogen and progesterone are two of the key hormones that regulate this cycle. Estrogen levels increase during the first part of the cycle; whereas, progesterone levels increase while estrogen levels slowly decrease during the last part of the cycle. It is the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone throughout the cycle that contributes to the symptoms of PMS, menstrual cramps and irregular cycles.
THERE ARE TWO MAIN PHASES OF THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
From the time menstruation starts until ovulation is Phase 1. The production of estrogen is essential during this phase. Phase 1 begins on the first day of menstruation and lasts until you ovulate, which is around 14 days.
From ovulation until menstruating is Phase 2. Progesterone is being made and utilized during this 2nd phase. Phase 2 is from when you ovulate, day 14 until the say your menstruation starts.
HOW TO SEED CYCLE
- Day 1 to 14: 1 tablespoon freshly ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds daily. It is suggested in this phase to also add a high quality fish oil tablet to increase Omega 3’s.
- Day 15 to menses: 1 tablespoon freshly ground sunflower and sesame seeds daily. It is suggested in this phase to also take an Evening Primrose oil supplement daily to increase Omega 6’s.
SO WHY ARE THESE SEEDS SO GOOD??
- Flax and sesame seeds are full of lignans, which block excess estrogens.
- Sunflower seeds are high in selenium, a trace mineral that is essential for liver detoxification.
- Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which supports progesterone release.
It is important to grind the seeds to ensure the lignans are adequately available and can be absorbed by your intestines so the constituents can be used. The easiest way to eat them is on salads, on yoghurt or in smoothies, seeing that the raw aspect is so important. The consistency of ingesting the seeds daily is important, as we are going for balance here. Use a coffee grinder for the soul purpose of grinding seeds, you can usually pick one up second hand. Store ground seeds in an air tight container in the refrigerator so the integrity of the oils within can stay fresh and effective.
It usually takes about 3 months before you will start noticing the improvement in your menstrual related symptoms. So give it time.