At Camille Styles, we don’t shy away from taking a holistic approach to wellness. In fact, it is fundamental. Of adaptogens at Ayurveda, we love a daily routine steeped in ancient wisdom. After all, these are the habits that lead to better sleep, stress managementand hormonal health. Admittedly, some things are more woo-woo than others. But being open to what…and does not— work for your body is the beauty of bio-individuality. There’s no better time to experiment, get curious and be inspired.
Today we bring you a new habit to add to your repertoire: the seed cycle. This hormone support tool is one of the hottest wellness practices. Does it live up to the hype? Let’s dive into both sides of the story.
This simple practice is touted to support hormone levels, reduce PMS symptoms, and boost fertility. In this guide, you will learn what the seed cycle is and how to incorporate it. Although it lacks rigorous scientific research, the seed cycle is a means of synchronize your menstrual cycle with your life, a practice worth exploring.
Featured Image by Sarah Prince.
What is the seed cycle?
The seed cycle is a growing food trend, claimed to balance hormones, boost fertility and relieve symptoms of menopause. It’s about eating dirt linen, squash, sesame and sunflower at different times of the month. The seed cycle theoretically enhances or inhibits the production of estrogen and progesterone in the body. In return, balance and optimize your hormones.
The seed cycle is also known to relieve symptoms due to hormonal imbalance. Either way, for the seed cycle to work optimally, your seeds need to be ground. Whole seeds don’t break down completely in your gut, so grinding them allows your body to extract more nutrients from the seeds.
An overview: the menstrual cycle
Before we go any further, let’s break it down menstrual cycle. While most menstruating women believe whether or not they get their period, it’s more complex than that. In fact, a woman’s menstrual cycle has four distinct phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory and luteal. The complete cycle lasts from 25 to 32 days.
• menstrual: the start of your period
• follicular: 7-10 days before ovulation
• ovulatory: 3-5 days of ovulation
• luteal: 10-14 days before your period
Your cycle may be longer or shorter than the number of days shown above. Every woman’s cycle is different. However, most experts agree that a cycle shorter than 22 days or longer than 40 days is considered abnormal. Consult your health care provider—or let’s work together! We can improve your cycle, naturally.
What happens during the menstrual cycle?
Every month, during the years between puberty and menopause, a woman’s body goes through a number of changes. Basically, to prepare for a possible pregnancy. This series of hormonal events is called the menstrual cycle.. During each menstrual cycle, an egg develops and is released from the ovaries. This happens during the follicular phase (estrogen rises). During the second half of the cycle, the lining of the uterus is formed. Progesterone increases. If a pregnancy does not happen, the uterine lining loses. On your turn, you start your period. First day of bleeding = start of a new cycle.
How is the seed cycle supposed to help balance hormones?
There are natural fluctuations throughout your cycle (i.e. rising and falling estrogen). But what happens when your hormones aren’t working properly? Hello, imbalance. This is manifested by a series of symptoms: PMS, crampsirregular periods, low libido, etc. Enter: seed cycle.
The seeds contain two hormonal aids—lignans and essential fatty acids. To research shows that lignans can help bind to excess hormones, helping to secrete too much estrogen in the body. And fatty acids are essential for both hormone production and balance. During your seed cycle, your body works to optimize the nutrients found in pumpkin, flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds.
Benefits of Seed Cycle
Female hormones are a complex and delicate system. They are strongly influenced by diet, exercise, sleep, stress levels and environmental toxins. This means that each of these factors can cause hormonal imbalances. In turn, a slight hormonal imbalance can become the underlying problem for a number of health conditions: irregular periods, acne, PCOSthyroid disorders and chronic fatigue.
That said, the seed cycle can support your monthly cycle, helping to relieve symptoms of PMS: mood swings, cramps, food cravings, breast pain, and hormonal acne. The seed cycle can also help anovulationirregular cycles and amenorrhea.
What the research says about the seed cycle
While there are many anecdotal accounts of the usefulness of the seed cycle, scientific evidence is lacking. As a person with PCOS, it’s an integral part of my wellness routine. I have noticed – along with other hormone balancing habits – that seed cycling has helped regulate my cycle. It took about three months to notice any changes. I have also seen positive results in my health coaching clients.
Women show either less PMS, less cramping and/or a positive change in their cycle length. I often suggest the seed cycle to women who are going off hormonal birth control. It’s a natural way to help them get back on their cycle by improving their hormonal health through diet.
How to start the seed cycle
To start, figure out where you are in your menstrual cycle. You can follow this! Are you in your follicular phase (currently having your period or your period ended less than 10 days ago)? Or are you in your luteal phase (just ovulated or recently ovulated)? Depending on what phase you’re in, skip below to see which seeds you should start incorporating. If your cycle is irregular, don’t worry. You can still effectively seed the cycle.
Can I sow the cycle if my period is irregular?
Yes! To simplify things, follow the the phases of the moon. In this case, day 1 of your cycle would start with the new moon. Days 1 to 14 (new moon to full moon), eat pumpkin seeds and flax seeds. Days 15-28 (full moon to new moon), eat sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Whether you have a regular cycle or not, a few months of cycling would be enough to start seeing the benefits. Remember, consistency is key.
Seed cycle: follicular phase
When: Days 1-14 of your cycle. During this phase, you need a balanced amount of estrogen to build up the uterine lining.
What seeds: Ground pumpkin and ground flax seeds.
PUMPKIN SEEDS are rich in zinc, which aids in progesterone production and supports healthy testosterone levels. They’re also high in antioxidants, which help protect your ovaries, eggs, and reproductive system as a whole.
FLAX SEEDS contain lignans, which help release estrogen. This means they bind to excess estrogen and help eliminate it. This process supports ideal estrogen levels. Flax and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote uterine blood flow and maintain healthy cell membranes.
Seed cycle: luteal phase
When: Days 15 to 28 of your cycle. During this phase, the corpus luteum begins to release progesterone, a sex hormone that helps thicken the uterine lining and prepare it for implantation.
What seeds: Ground sesame seeds and ground sunflower seeds.
SESAME SEEDS are rich in zinc, which helps in the production of progesterone. They also contain lignans, which help block excess estrogen, and they have many other benefits, including the ability to reduce inflammation.
SUNFLOWER SEEDS contain selenium, which helps improve liver function and eliminate excess estrogen. They also contain vitamin E, which stimulates the production of progesterone.
Where can I buy seeds at Seed Cycle?
Over the years I have found that the easiest way to seed the cycle is through a company that ships ground seed. Walk in: Beeya well-being and Funk It Wellness. If you prefer your seeds coarser, opt for Beeya. They freshly grind their seeds in small local batches! This helps maintain the nutrient profiles of the seeds. As soon as my seeds arrive in the mail, I put them in the fridge. You can also buy in bulk and store the seeds in your freezer.
For finer seeds, Funk It has you covered. Either way, both companies do all the hard work for you. No need to grind your seeds at home! Plus, the seeds come in an easy-to-use package. No need to remember which seeds to take, the sachets are clearly labelled. If you opt for Funk itI have a discount for you: use ‘EDIE15’ at the register.
How to incorporate the seed cycle into your diet
Sky is the limit! You can add them to breakfast, lunch, dinner or your snacks. Think: cereals, yogurts, salads, chia puddingsmoothie bowls, bites of energyroast vegetables, overnight oats, Hummusetc Other creative ways to use your seed cycle seeds:
Again, with seed cycling, consistency is key. I hope you will notice a difference in your menstrual cycle within three months of the Daily Seed Cycle.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and we recommend that you always consult your healthcare provider.