In food science, we do not overlook the importance of edible seeds commonly known as “super seeds” in supplementing our daily dietary needs.
Seed cycling continues to grow as an alternative medicine practice that is claimed to boost fertility and balance reproductive hormones.
Before you brush this off as another food nutrition gimmick, you should know that this practice that I am about to describe is older than the food science profession itself.
It is ancient science, people! Even with scanty scientific data on seed cycling, modern nutritionists and food scientists have endorsed the practice as an acceptable natural way of balancing hormones.
Seed Cycling Definition
To most people, seed cycling can be seen as one of those nutritional gimmicks designed to get money out of your tight pockets.
Numerous experiments have however proven that these seed-covered meals serve important purposes in the body and they actually work!
Seed cycling can therefore be defined as a nutritional approach that involves incorporation of super seeds, particularly flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds into the diet during the two phases of the menstrual cycle for hormonal balancing.
Seed Cycling for Women
In this article, I will concentrate on women because the issue of hormonal balance is mostly prevalent among the female gender.
Men also have a lot to learn here because other than the many other benefits these seeds have, there are men here who might find this information very useful to their friends, daughters, or mums.
Women mostly experience moody days from time to time. This can be from an imbalance of progesterone and estrogen hormones.
Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones responsible for regulating activities during the menstrual cycle in women.
Men, stay with me here because this is as simple as a football match and I also have news for you on these super seeds later on here.
Just like in a football game with two halves to play, the menstrual cycle in women occurs in two halves.
The first half; scientifically known as the follicular phase or termed as “new moon to full moon phase” among the nutrition circles is controlled by the estrogen hormone.
The second half; scientifically referred to as the luteal phase or the “full moon to new moon phase” is under the control of progesterone hormone.
Seed cycling thus works by balancing the estrogen and progesterone hormones throughout these critical phases in women.
Women of all ages can benefit from seed cycling. Women tend to experience a complex reproductive system especially with the changing lifestyle and dietary practices.
Therefore, hormonal imbalance can be projected through common conditions such as acne, Polycyclic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), irregular periods, chronic fatigue, thyroid disorders, and fertility.
These super seeds are packed with fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, and antioxidants that are vital in hormonal balancing.
Take advantage and incorporate seed cycling with other hormone balancing practices to achieve substantial hormonal healing.
Seed Cycling for Men
Lest men feel left out and say to hell with this, I am happy to inform you that men can also benefit from seed cycling!
Being in control of our hormones is not a gender-unique thing because men too have hormones, and their hormones can still “lose their balance.”
Men follow the phases of the moon from new moon to full moon and vice versa. This is because men’s sperms also have a cycle they go through from the time they are produced to the time they fully mature.
This might not be a monthly cycle but since it is a cycle that involves hormones, why not boost it by seed cycling?
These super seeds as seen earlier have nutritional properties that can be important in other body functions such as; enhancing intestinal functions of digestion, regulation of blood sugar, prevention of arthritis, asthma, and prevention of heart diseases.
Pumpkin seeds in particular have been singled out in various studies as vital in suppressing prostate and urinary disorder syndromes in men due to their monounsaturated and Omega-6 fats.
Also, their high levels of manganese, magnesium and phosphorous minerals have been touted as important in improving the sperm quality in men.
There is minimal downside when it comes to seed cycling because the super seeds also work as food supplements and are therefore very safe.
So, even if you still believe seed cycling doesn’t work, the worst that can happen to you is that you get extra essential nutrients.
That too is a win!
It’s better to try rather than use harmful chemicals to treat your reproductive health issues that could be solved by a simple act of incorporating the super seeds into your diet.
The Seed Cycling Chart Explained
New moon to full moon (1st Day of period – 14th day of your cycle), eat flax seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Full moon to new moon (15th day of your cycle – the last day of your cycle before periods), eat sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Take 2Tbsp of each mixture daily, i.e. one Tbsp. of each seed.
Seed cycling works well with yogurt, oatmeal, on salad, sautéed vegetables, porridge, protein shakes, or even water.
This routine is summarized in the illustration below.
How Hormonal Balance is achieved
Seed cycling is believed to balance human hormones using activities of the phytoestrogens (compounds that naturally occur in plants).
As mentioned earlier, seed cycling focuses on improving the balance between progesterone and estrogen.
During the first phase of the menstrual cycle, estrogen hormones can be produced in excess.
Flax and pumpkin seeds have higher contents of compounds known as lignans that help in binding the excess estrogen which is usually a cause of skin acne. This is a detoxification process.
Also, the fatty acids in these seeds help to regulate the oils produced by your skin to ensure ace management and proper skin health.
Progesterone levels are higher during the second half of the cycle. The high levels of zinc mineral in pumpkin seeds help the body to effectively deal with the sudden increase in progesterone levels in the luteal phase.
The sesame and sunflower seeds are used in the second phase due to their low levels of lignans and high levels of zinc and selenium minerals.
The female body can also mistakenly convert progesterone hormone to testosterone hormone (a male hormone). The zinc in sunflower and sesame seeds is important in stopping this undesirable conversion.
Seed cycling naturally balances hormones at all points including while trying to conceive, post-menopause, and post-birth control.
Synchronizing your intake of pumpkin, flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds can relieve hormone-related symptoms such as PCOS, hot flashes, irregular periods, PMS, and generally boost your well-being.
You can try seed cycling as a remedy for that stubborn acne if you haven’t thought of it before.
Seed Cycling in Fertility and Conception
With all the evidence provided above, I believe seed cycling can be very beneficial in fertility matters. It has been proven to have worked for many women who have consistently adhered to the practice.
The super seeds consumed in the process work by providing extra vitamins and healthy fats that are ideal for fertility.
Seed cycling helps in fertility and conception by balancing estrogen and progesterone that are important hormones in controlling the entire process of pregnancy.
As a result, seed cycling increases the chances of conceiving naturally by ensuring that the body is in an ideal hormonal situation.
Even if you opt for IVF, seed cycling increases the chances of getting positive results since the same hormones are still needed.
This is a breakdown of how seed cycling works in improving fertility and chances of conception.
Healthy egg production: Zinc, fibers, and omega-3 that are present in pumpkin and flax seeds improve egg quality.
Implantation: Sunflower and sesame seeds contain vitamin E, zinc, and omega-6 that help in the release of the egg. Whether trying to conceive naturally, using IUI, or IVF, a strong endometrial lining is required to hold a healthy embryo.
Controlling Progesterone levels: High levels of male hormone can cause failed conception. Seed cycling helps to control progesterone levels.
Insulin resistant: I will not even get into matters of insulin resistance. All you need to know is that insulin resistance in the body leads to conditions that cause infertility. Seed cycling naturally decreases insulin resistance.
The benefits are visible as early as one month but most people usually take up to three to six months of seed cycling to see significant changes.
As much as many hate to hear this word consistency, just like in any other nutritional advice, it still very much applies here.
Why Seed Cycling?
I know some of you are like, “umm, why can’t I just eat other foods that have these vitamins?”
The answer is simple. We are talking about SUPER SEEDS here guys.
If you really hate simplicity, you can continue taking other foods because you will have to consume huge amounts just to reach the mineral concentration found in the super seeds.
Why not just take supplements then?
But science tells us that the human body best absorbs nutrients from whole food and better than the supplements. So, this makes seed cycling more useful than just buying those multi-vitamins and mineral supplements.
How to Start the Process
First, our super seeds should be consumed raw and preferably organic. You can revisit my previous article here if you want to know what we mean by organic and how to identify the organics from conventional seeds.
Also, it is advisable to grind them fresh every day or two to avoid the oils in the seeds going rancid for being kept too long.
There is no standard way of consuming the seeds, but you can find some helpful recipes online.
However, most of the seed cycling recipe I have come across follow this procedure;
- Grind flax and pumpkin seeds worth one week. (Grinding can be done using a coffee grinder, a blender, or a pestle and mortar).
- Store the mixture in the fridge in sealed containers.
- Consume two tablespoons of the mixture daily starting the day of menstruation by putting it in smoothies, porridge, salads, and anything else that you prefer.
- Repeat for the next week
- Grind sesame and sunflower seeds worth one week
- Store the mixture in the fridge in sealed containers
- Start on sesame and sunflower seeds on the day of ovulation
- Take two tables spoons of the mixture daily
- Repeat for the next week up until the first day of menstruation
So, if your periods are regular, you can start on the first day of period and switch on ovulation day.
However, if your periods are irregular or don’t come at all, you can start on the first day of the month and allow your body to develop its rhythm.
Is It Worth a Try?
I know many of you have a lot to say at this point. But nutritionists and individual experiments done on seed cycling have generated positive results in many instances.
Regardless of your opinion on this, as long as you can afford the seeds (which will roughly cost about $30 within the six months’ period) and have no allergies, there are no risks in including the seeds in your diet.
There is absolutely no risk in trying them.
Now, having said that, seed cycling should not be approached as a quick fix. Re-establishing body rhythms takes time and our bodies respond differently.
If you are paranoid and still unsure about the whole thing, I would suggest you consult with your nutritionist before starting your seed cycling journey.
If you do have any seed cycling experience, you can share with us in the comments below.