Today's blog post is from Rachel Garnham, a Hormonal Health Coach based here in Hawke's Bay. Through her business Period Problem Solving she helps women take control of their hormones - naturally.
Seed Cycling – Balancing Your Hormones Using the Power of Food
As someone who helps women solve their period problems, I love that there are so many natural options for improving our hormonal health. Food is a great place to start, as it provides the nutrients required for all of those biochemical reactions going on in our bodies.
What hormonal imbalances can seed cycling help with?
The two main hormones involved in the menstrual cycle are estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is supposed to be the dominant hormone in the first half of your cycle, then progesterone takes over as the dominant hormone in the second half of the cycle following ovulation. When these hormones get out of balance it can lead to crappy periods – pain, heavy bleeding, very light bleeding, sore boobs, PMS, acne, irregular or even missing periods. Seed cycling can help with all these conditions by gently and naturally bringing your hormones back into balance.
So how does seed cycling work?
Seed cycling involves eating different seeds during the two parts of your menstrual cycle. The seeds provide
- Specific minerals needed for hormonal health
- Lignans in the seed hulls which have the ability to either reduce the effects of excess estrogen or boost estrogen if it’s low
- Seed oils high in essential fatty acids which form the building blocks for making hormones
Period problems and symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that your hormonal system could do with some extra TLC. Your body is great at healing itself if given the right ingredients to do so and the hormone friendly components of seeds help that healing process.
How to do seed cycling
Time the two phases with your cycle. If your periods are irregular or currently absent, then time it with the moon. I know it sounds a little woo-woo to try to sync your period to the moon, but it used to be pretty common when we lived more in touch with nature. It’s no coincidence that the average woman’s cycle is about 28 days long, as is the moons cycle!
Buy organic, raw seeds to ensure you’re not consuming a range of chemical fertilisers and pesticides along with your seeds.
Ideally you should soak and dehydrate your seeds to reduce the levels of phytic acid and make them easier to digest. After this process, keep them in the freezer as they don’t store as well at room temperature.
It’s best to grind the seeds to ensure your body is getting the most nutrients out of the seeds. Linseed in particular can go straight through – coming out of your body looking the same as when it went in! Only grind as much as you need for a day or two as the oils will start to oxidise, reducing how well they work.
Phase 1 – The follicular phase, Day 1-14 of your cycle.
Start phase 1 on day 1 of your cycle (the first day of bright red, consistent bleeding), or the first day of the new moon.
Each day take:
1 tablespoon of ground linseed (flax seeds)
1 tablespoon of ground pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which helps with the production and release of progesterone needed for the second half of the cycle. The linseed helps to boost estrogen at this time, when it should be dominant to build the endometrium (uterus) lining ready for a potential pregnancy.
Phase 2 – the luteal phase, ~Day 15 – 28 of your cycle.
Start phase 2 on day 15 of your cycle or on the full moon.
Each day take:
1 tablespoon of ground sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of ground sunflower seeds
Sesame and sunflower seeds both contain omega 6 fatty acids and the selenium in sunflower seeds helps the livers detoxification process of toxins and excess hormones. After ovulation, progesterone takes over as the dominant sex hormone. Healthy progesterone levels help to easily shed the endometrium lining, therefore resulting in lighter, less painful periods. Progesterone also has the benefits of promoting sleep and calming the nervous system.
Tips for taking the seeds
Add into smoothies – this is one of the easiest ways, especially if your blender is powerful enough to break up the seeds.
Sprinkle over your breakfast cereal or yoghurt.
Make into a batch of bliss balls and keep in the freezer to protect the oils. Recipe for Hormone Balancing Bliss Balls here.
Rachel Garnham is a Certified Health Coach who specialises in women’s hormonal health. Through her business Period Problem Solving, she helps women feel great…every day of the month. Get a free quiz and mini-course to work out what hormonal type you have and to learn how to start solving your period problems www.periodproblemsolving.com