What is Seed Cycling and Does it Really Work?
I heard about seed cycling for the first time a couple months ago and was immediately both interested and skeptical of its effectiveness. For those not in the know, seed cycling is where you eat different seeds during the different phases of your menstrual cycle to help balance your hormones. I’m a huge advocate for eating different foods depending on the season, but different seeds depending on my cycle sounded a bit strange to me. I needed to learn more.
How Does it Work?
Your cycle is broken up into two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. According to Mind Body Green, “during the follicular phase, your estrogen is increasing and an egg is maturing in preparation for ovulation.” This phase ends in ovulation, which typically happens on day 14 of your cycle. Then, on day 15, you enter the luteal phase, where “the now-empty follicle turns into a structure called the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone and helps thicken your uterine lining to prepare for a pregnancy.” From there, if the egg isn’t fertilized, your period starts.
When seed cycling, you’re supposed to eat about a tablespoon of flax or pumpkin seeds to boost estrogen during the follicular phase. According to health and wellness blogger, Lee from America, flax seeds “contain lignans, which help to bind excess estrogen so that it can be eliminated from the body. They are also known to protect against hormone-related cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.” Pumpkin seeds, on the other hand, are “high in zinc, which support progesterone.”
Then during the luteal phase, you switch to sesame or sunflower seeds to boost progesterone. Sesame seeds also contain lignans and sunflower seeds are high in selenium, which is good for hormone balance.
Hmm if both flax and sesame seeds contain lignans, how would switching from one to the other during your cycle make any sort of difference? My skepticism remains! According to Mind Body Green, the difference lies in the fatty acids. Sesame and sunflower seeds are both high in “essential fatty acids that support the hormones that carry us through the luteal phase.”
Does it Actually Work?
From all the blog posts I read, it seems like seed cycling really does work. Women have reported more stable body temperatures throughout their cycle and reduced cramps and PMS symptoms! While I couldn’t really find any scientific evidence to back up any of these claims up, many women swear by this method.
I haven’t tried it for myself yet, but I’m definitely curious. My mind is definitely not made up yet and I’m still skeptical about whether or not seed cycling really works. Without any sort of science to back up their claims, I can’t say for sure whether or not it’s an effective way of balancing hormones or treating PMS. But considering how well it works for some, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for an all-natural way of reducing cramps during your period. Have you tried it before? Let me know in the comments below!
Cover image via Mind Body Green