Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance
As a naturopathic doctor, dietary counseling and food recommendations are something I use commonly within my practice, as they are what I call foundational medicine. In other words, the foundations of health. I love when I can make food recommendations that not only support general health and well being, but also provide specific therapeutic benefits.
Seed cycling is an example of a foundational food that doubles as gentle hormone therapy. Many patients come to see me for hormonal balancing. They may have a diagnosed thyroid disorder, or simply want to ease the transition into menopause. In these cases, I often utilize seed cycling to support female reproductive hormones, which also influences and shifts all other hormones.
Why Use Seed Cycling?
Because we use food as our medicine, and this is a balancing therapy. For example, if you are too high in your estrogen and progesterone levels, we can decrease those. All the same, for if you are too low and need a boost to these hormones, the seeds will help gently stimulate those receptors without a possibility of over-stimulation, as could be seen with pharmaceutical hormone replacement therapy.
The two hormones we focus on with seed cycling are estrogen and progesterone. Both are mainly secreted from the ovaries as sex hormones, but they feedback into other hormonal centers, such as adrenal and thyroid glands. So it may be helpful for more than just female concerns.
We use the menstural cycle as our marker to know which hormones to support and when. If you do not have regular cycles, or are not menstruating currently, we use the moon as the marker, as it is a natural cycle within the earth and happens to also be a 28 day cycle.
Days 1 - 14 of Cycle or the New Moon (First Day of Bleeding to Ovulation)
- 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds
- 2 tablespoons of ground pumpkin seeds
We use flax for it's phytoestrogen effects, meaning it can bind to estrogen receptors. Pumpkin seeds are supportive for their high zinc content. The fiber in the seeds also help excrete processed hormones from the liver and remove them through our stool.
Days 15 - 28 of Cycle or the Full Moon (Ovulation to Menstruation)
- 2 tablespoons ground sesame
- 2 tablespoons ground sunflower seeds.
Sesame seeds block excess estrogen binding to support progesterone in this phase, and sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E supporting the production of progesterone.
Ways to Incorporate Seeds into Diet
I recommend using 2-4 tablespoon of the ground seeds daily. Below are some ways to get these seeds into your daily diet, but feel free to be creative!
- Blend into smoothies
- Baked into pancakes or muffins
- Salad toping
- Mix into yogurt or cereal
- Cook into ground beef for added texture
If you are unsure weather seed cycling is right for you, cannot determine when to start seed cycling or would like more guidance, feel free to set up an appointment with me or visit a naturopathic doctor to receive more personalized support.