If you’ve been hooked on ways of controlling your hormone levels, seed cycling isn’t an unknown term to you. Seed cycling seems to be gaining immense popularity since 2020.
Many wellness experts for women have often recommended seed cycling to cope with the troublesome symptoms in different phases of their menses due to hormonal imbalances. However, over time, seed cycling nutritionists have also advised seed cycling to ease several menopausal symptoms.
A friend of mine was having a tough time managing her hot flashes and night sweats, which she kept getting quite frequently, four to five times a week. After trying many things, she approached a wellness expert who advised her about the seed cycling procedure. We’ll learn the details of it in the following sections. However, it helped her big time, and the frequency of hot flashes started lessening.
However, that doesn’t mean it will affect all women similarly. It has its set of boons and banes. For women keen on exploring the nitty gritty of seed cycling, this article will surely be of help. You surely want to know how effective the seed cycle would be for you. Wouldn’t you?
This article will cover everything from seed cycling to the impact it will have on menopausal women. Read on to know more
What is Seed Cycling?
Taking a cue from what I mentioned above, I would say that seed cycling is a natural remedy women adopt to balance their hormone levels in menstruation and premenopause, perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause.
Women into their menopause have perhaps done their bit of research and know that menopause marks the reduction and fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone hormones. This is where seed cycling comes into play. It helps to regulate and balance these reproductive hormones, even more in those with hormonal imbalances.
The four seeds involved in seed cycling include:
They are to be ground and eaten each day. If you consume them whole, they’ll not be digested in the gut. When you consume them in their ground form, your body will absorb increased nutrients from these seeds.
How to Eat the Seeds?
The most important thing that may have occurred to you is how to eat the seeds. Here lies the catch.
There are different ways in which you can opt for a seed cycle depending on the purpose you are using it for. You could be in your menstrual cycle. You might be in the perimenopause phase, or have entered menopause, followed by the postmenopause phase. Seed cycle varies from one stage to the other.
Seed Cycle During Menstruation
The menstrual cycle has two phases, the follicular and luteal phases. The follicular phase begins on DAY1 of menstruation and lasts around two to three weeks. The luteal phase starts in the second half and spans between the 15th and 28th day of your cycle. It finishes on the day your period starts. In most women, this phase is for approximately two weeks.
Seeds for the Follicular Phase
The menstrual cycle sees an increase and decrease in estrogen levels. In the mid-follicular stage, estrogen levels rise. When you ovulate, there is a drastic drop in the estrogen levels. The progesterone levels are quite low. They rise after ovulation for around five days until they fall again.
The most preferred seeds for this phase are a combination of one tablespoon of ground pumpkin and flaxseed. It would be best to start having them from the first day of the period till the day before ovulation. The seeds play a significant role in raising your estrogen levels.
Seeds for the Luteal Phase
The luteal phase marks a drop in estrogen levels for a while. Then in the mid-luteal stage, estrogen and progesterone go up and again decline to make way for menstruation. The seeds one should eat during this stage are a mix of ground sesame, and sunflower seeds, one tablespoon each.
Here, the consumption pattern is the reverse of what you did in the follicular phase. Start from the day of your ovulation to the day before your period starts.
Seed Cycle During Menopause and Post Menopause
When menopause sets in, the ovaries lose the ability to produce estrogen. Thus your menstruation stops. When your estrogen levels are low during menopause, you’re susceptible to several conditions like osteoporosis, heart problems, etc. It even brings associated symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, sleep problems, weight gain, etc.
Seed cycling helps in easing the symptoms of menopause. So, if you decide to try the same, there isn’t any stipulated period. You can start at any point in time. You can begin with a pumpkin-flaxseed combination for a week or two. Then you may shift to a sunflower-sesame seed combination.
Seed Cycle During Perimenopause
Like menopause and post-menopause, During perimenopause, you can follow the same two-week seed rotation, alternating between sunflower-sesame and pumpkin-flaxseed.
The perimenopause phase is marked by irregular periods. Your menstrual cycle could be long or too short. The bleeding also could be too heavy or scant than your normal cycle. I always had a stable menstrual cycle until my late 40s, following which I would have heavy periods in one cycle and scanty bleeding in the next. This alteration went on until my menses stopped completely. The mood swings and hot flashes start in the perimenopause phase, and the seed cycle helps manage symptoms to a greater extent.
There are many whose menstrual cycles aren’t that regular. A friend of mine would have her menses once in two months. In such cases, you can keep the moon cycle as your reference mark to begin seed cycling. For instance, you could start with seeds for the follicular phase during a full moon. While on a new moon, you could go for appropriate seeds in the luteal phase.
Benefits of Seed Cycle on Hormone Levels and Menopause Symptoms
There has been research about the benefits of the seed cycle in balancing hormone levels and also alleviating the symptoms of menopause.
The Role of Phytoestrogen
According to a certain claim, lignan, a compound present in high concentrations in flaxseeds and sesame seeds, is a phytoestrogen. The role of phytoestrogens in mimicking estrogen isn’t unknown.
When phytoestrogens enter our system, the estrogen receptors identify them as estrogens and treat them that way. Phytoestrogens can balance the body’s estrogen levels and manage symptoms associated with menopause and perimenopause. Studies have validated phytoestrogens’ role in relieving hot flashes.
So, opting for the seed cycle when you are in your perimenopause, menopause, or post-menopause phase, will help you feel better.
Good for Weight Loss
Menopause may result in extra kilos, mostly due to the changing hormone levels. Following the seed cycle technique will help you manage your weight well. You will also be at a lower risk of heart disease and high cholesterol levels that get triggered due to weight gain.
Benefits of the Respective Seeds in the Seed Cycle in Menopause
The four seeds that are the star component in a seed cycle come with their benefits. Let’s take a look at the utility of the individual seeds:
1. Flax Seeds
Studies have mentioned the role of flaxseeds in improving estrogen levels and hormonal imbalance. It even lessened the hot flashes and vaginal dryness episodes, promoting women’s overall well-being in their menopause and postmenopause phases.
Another study highlighted the ability of flaxseed to fight cancer. In this way, postmenopausal women who consumed flaxseed were at a lesser risk of breast cancer. Flax seeds also help control blood sugar levels, which are often on the rise in menopausal women.
2. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, 2.21 mg per ounce. Besides having several benefits, one of the major utilities of zinc is that it boosts the overall immune function. It gets compromised during menopause because your body goes through physical and emotional changes. Pumpkins also have the phytoestrogen lignan. It helps control estrogen levels. Like flaxseeds and sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds also ensure protection against breast cancer.
Other benefits of pumpkin seeds include boosting your mood and providing a good night’s sleep. I never opted for seed cycling, but pumpkin seeds are my favorite. I have enjoyed seasoning my salads and soups with them.
3. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower, flax, sesame, and pumpkin seeds help maintain cardiovascular health and ensure protection against breast cancer. Besides magnesium, potassium, and zinc, sunflower seeds are high in Vitamin E, and help ease hot flashes, one of the major symptoms during menopause. Just like the pumpkin seeds, I even enjoy tossing a couple of sunflower seeds into my salads for a perfect breakfast.
4. Sesame Seeds
Like flax, sesame is high in lignan as well, thus playing a significant role in boosting estrogen levels. Thus it helps relieve several symptoms of menopause, like vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mood swings.
If your immune system isn’t strong enough, the toxins present in seeds can cause harm to your body. Moreover, those suffering from diverticulitis should also avoid eating seeds. It’s speculated that these seeds could get lodged in the diverticula or the small pouches bulging out of the colon, resulting in inflammation.
The results of seed cycling depend on your lifestyle, overall health, dietary habits, and so on. It’s a gradual process, and the results will eventually show up. You have to be patient and follow the regime religiously.
When practiced correctly, seed cycling would make you feel a little better when faced with menopause woes. It could relieve you from the distress caused by hot flashes and night sweats to a certain extent, if not completely. More research is needed to establish the direct benefits of seed cycling on menopause.