It is important to strike a right balance between hormones as they govern every function in our body and slightest imbalance may cause several health problems. On an average, every tenth women have either hormonal imbalance, infertility or Poly cystic ovary disorder (PCOD). Medications taken to regularise hormones may lead to certain side effects. So, what can be done? Seed cycling, which involves inclusion of seeds as per your menstrual cycle is a growing trend which claims to balance hormones, boost fertility and ease menstrual pain.
What is seed cycling?
It is a naturopathic remedy that may help balance hormones, regularises oestrogen in the first half of the menstrual cycle and progesterone hormone in the second half. It involves eating specific seeds to support the key hormones of each phase.
The health benefits are as follows: -
• To regulate periods
• Reducing acne
• Treating PCOS
• Endometriosis and infertility
• Night sweats, fatigue
• Hot flashes and mood swings
How does it work?
It helps provide specific nutrients to build your hormones and women struggling with post birth control syndrome which involves symptoms like acne, irregular periods, or else new onset of PMS.
How to follow it?
Follicular phase - Ovulation (Day 1-14): 1-2 tablespoon of raw and fresh ground flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds.
Ovulation- Luteal phase (Day 15-28): 1-2 tablespoon of raw and fresh ground sunflower and sesame seeds.
There are certain things one needs to be careful off, as the seed rotation depends upon the phase of menstrual cycle. Day one of your periods, is the day when you begin the follicular phase seeds and one needs to continue through ovulation or day 14. Furthermore, if you ovulate at a different time then switch the seeds accordingly, since it is not a “one size fits all” approach.
Seed Cycling during Follicular phase
Estrogen is the main hormone that spikes to trigger ovulation during the first half of the cycle. Pumpkin seeds being rich in zinc, selenium and antioxidants, are protective of our ovaries, eggs and reproductive system. On the other hand, flaxseeds have weak estrogenic properties, helps eliminate excess oestrogen to help maintain optimal oestrogen levels.
Pumpkin seeds are good sources of tryptophan which creates serotonin which makes you happy.
Seed cycling during Luteal Phase
Sesame and sunflower seeds offer good amount of lignans and fatty acids that helps benefit women’s hormones. Sesame seeds help lower inflammation and are rich source of calcium. Sunflower seeds are good source of iron, Mg, vitamin E and support healthy prostaglandin levels which may reduce period cramps. Seed cycling aids to balance oestrogen as well as progesterone due to the presence of phytoestrogens, zinc, selenium, calcium and vitamin E.
In conclusion, including seeds in our daily diet which offer various nutrients is a good way to improve health. The practice of seed cycling is believed to balance certain hormones, ease symptoms of PMS cycle or menopause and boost fertility among women. However, evidence-based studies are needed to claim its role in hormone regulation but eating seeds is a great way to gain on overall health.