Seed cycling is a safe and natural method of rotating seeds at different times of your menstrual cycle to support production, detoxification, and elimination of hormones to support clear skin. It’s easy to do and can help bring your body and hormones into balance.
This post was initially published on March 5, 2019, but has been updated as of September 17, 2019 with new information, a modified recipe and FAQ’s answered.
Since going off of the birth control pill in July 2018, my hormones have been ALL over the place. Until recently, my skin was a mess, my hair was falling out, my periods were nonexistent, and even my sleep and mood were affected. UGH!! I knew a certain degree of imbalance was inevitable, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as bad as it was. Things are thankfully on the mend, so I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me along the way!
I had been off and on the pill for about 8 years, and really wanted to figure out a way to naturally balance my hormones and prevent these symptoms from occurring. After all, imbalanced hormones are a symptom that something isn’t working properly within your body.
What is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is a safe and natural method of rotating certain seeds at different times of your menstrual cycle. There are four specific seeds that support hormone balance. Flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds.
These seeds provide various oils, vitamins, minerals, and phytoestrogens that help stimulate production, detoxification, and metabolism of estrogen and progesterone.
As a result, these seeds can help alleviate hormone related symptoms like acne, amenorrhea, heavy bleeding, insomnia, infertility, fatigue, cramps and irregular periods.
Your Menstrual Cycle and Which Seeds To Use For Each Phase
There are four phases to your menstrual cycle- the menstrual phase, follicular phase, ovulatory phase, and luteal phase. During the menstrual and follicular phase, your body needs support producing and metabolizing estrogen.
This is when flax and pumpkin seeds come into play. They contain the phytoestrogens, vitamins, and minerals to produce estrogen AND excrete any excess from your body so it doesn’t build up and lead to symptoms.
Having a proper balance of estrogen to progesterone is key to prevent symptoms like painful periods, irregular periods, acne, and more.
How and why to use seed cycling
Aside from the imbalances that result from hormonal birth control, many women experience what is known as estrogen dominance as a result of xenoestrogens in our environment. Xenoestrogens are a category of endocrine disruptors that specifically have estrogen-like effects (source).
We are exposed to these endocrine disruptors from pesticides, plastic, cosmetic products (chemical sunscreens are known endocrine disruptors), food preservatives, food dyes, and more. While it is incredibly difficult to avoid all of these harmful substances in this day and age, we can take steps to help mitigate some of the damage they may cause.
Seed cycling is one way to help nudge your hormones in the right direction. Here’s how it works: Day one of your cycle is the first day you get your period. A healthy cycle will vary in length, but somewhere between 25-35 days is optimal.
How does seed cycling work?
Essentially, through the lignans, minerals, vitamins, and phytoestrogens found in certain seeds seeds, your body’s endocrine and detoxification systems are supported which in turns helps to balance your hormones. Here’s how to seed cycle!
Days 1-14 (the first day of your period through ovulation): eat 1 tbsp daily of both flax and pumpkin seeds to support estrogen production and metabolism.
- FLAX & PUMPKIN– Contain necessary nutrients for estrogen production. Also contain lignans, which help to bind excess estrogen so that it can be eliminated from the body and prevent estrogen dominance.
Days 15-28: eat 1 tbsp daily of both sesame and sunflower seeds to boost progesterone production and metabolism.
- SESAME & SUNFLOWER: High in selenium and vitamin E which are known to stimulate progesterone production.
Note: If you know you ovulate on day 17 of your cycle and not day 14, adjust the days of cycling so you switch to the sesame and sunflower phase right after you ovulate.
Can seed cycling help with acne?
Yes! In addition to helping with acne, seed cycling can be helpful if you have any of the following symptoms or conditions:
- Irregular periods
- Absent periods
- Heavy flows
- PMS (bloating, mood swings, pain, changes in energy, headaches)
- Painful and tender breasts
- Hair loss and brittle hair
- Water retention
I recommend giving your body at least three full cycles to adjust before determining whether or not this method has been helpful for you. I noticed a difference in the first month, but not everyone will. Listen to your body and give it time!
This method is not a “cure all” by any means. However, coupled with proper diet and lifestyle changes, your hormones will be well on their way to balance!
Can I use seed cycling if I don’t know what phase of my cycle I’m in?
Absolutely! This may sound odd to you or like some sort of weird voodoo, but if you don’t know where you are in your cycle, you base it off of the moon. The New Moon would be day 1 of your cycle where you would start with the pumpkin and flax seeds. The Full Moon would mark ovulation, when you switch to sesame and sunflower seeds.
Alternatively, if your most recent period was only a few months ago, you can calculate where you would be in your cycle based upon your last period and start based upon that.
Additionally, this would be a great method to use if you are thinking about transitioning off of hormonal birth control. This can help mitigate any of the side effects you experience as a result, and get your hormones back into balance (source).
How to incorporate the seeds for seed cycling
I love getting these seeds in through some energy bites, bliss balls, whatever you call them. They basically taste like dessert but are packed with skin loving healthy fats and hormone balancing properties to get you glowing.
Alternatively, you can grind up a bunch of seeds ahead of time and sprinkle them on things like yogurt, oatmeal, salads, or blend them right into smoothies. There is no right or wrong way to have the seeds, but these energy bites make it easy to stay on track!
Seed cycling tips, tricks & FAQ’s
- I recommend storing the seeds in the fridge or freezer to prevent them from going rancid.
- You do not need to soak your seeds first. In fact, this will make them harder to grind up and turn them to mush, so I recommend NOT soaking your seeds at all. Grinding them will make them easy to digest and more bioavailable anyway! However, you definitely DO want the seeds to be ground for seed cycling.
- While you can buy pre-ground flax seeds at the grocery store, I recommend buying all of the seeds whole and raw and grinding them yourself. This way you can ensure they are as fresh and potent as possible and work as intended.
- You can use either black or white sesame seeds for this method.
- This method is not an exact science, so it’s ok if you miss a day, only eat one of the recommended seeds, or incorporate the seeds from the other phases into the current phase you’re in. If you’re menstruating and are therefore having flax and pumpkin seeds but you want some tahini, go for it! Just try to have the focus stay on the particular seeds for that phase.
- I don’t recommend you start seed cycling mid cycle. Wait until your next period and start seed cycling on day 1 of your next cycle.
- I personally buy my seeds from Thrive Market to save money.
- I recommend using a high quality food processor to grind the seeds, but a high speed blender will also work.
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Be sure to follow along on instagram for more recipes and leave a comment and rating below if you try out seed cycling!Print
Easy and delicious, these seed cycling energy bites are a simple way to nudge your hormones back into balance.
- Add the seeds you are using to the food processor or high speed blender and process until they are finely ground.
- Add the oats and pulse a few times until they are broken up.
- Add all remaining ingredients and process until a dough forms.
- Taste the mixture and add in any additional flavorings if desired. If the mixture is too wet, add more oats, if it is not wet enough, add more maple syrup or almond butter.
- Use a spoon to scoop out dough and form into even size balls.
To save a little money, you can buy your seeds in bulk from Thrive Market!
You can use any nut butter for this recipe such as peanut butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter.
Once prepared, these energy bites will store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for 1 month.
You can use either black or white sesame seeds for this method/recipe.
- Serving Size: 1 energy bite
- Calories: 143
- Fat: 8.9g
- Carbohydrates: 12g
- Fiber: 2.9g
- Protein: 4.2g
Keywords: seed cycling, seed cycling hormone balance, energy ball recipe