When you think about hormones, what comes to mind? Maybe you think about getting moody and irritable around your period or hot flashes during menopause. And yes, hormones are responsible for pesky symptoms like that. But that’s not all hormones are responsible for, not by a long shot. Hormones are critical for nearly every aspect of your health and wellness. They act as chemical messengers that send cues to your organ systems and other hormones, telling them how to behave.
Hormones play a crucial role in managing your blood sugar, weight, appetite, mood, your gut health, your sleep-wake cycle, your physical appearance and so much more.¹ Since hormones impact so much of our bodily function, when they’re out of balance, it can show in some pretty nasty ways.
But mood swings, irregular or missing periods, brain fog, acne, and other skin issues, hot flashes and night sweats, low libido, and unwanted hair growth or loss aren’t simply symptoms to “blame” on your hormones.² They’re a sign from your body that something needs to change.
The honest truth about hormones: they’re not meant to make your life miserable. In fact, when your hormones are properly balanced, it can lead to unbelievable health and vitality, unlocking a whole new world of potential for you.
So what gets in the way of healthy hormone function? Unfortunately, a lot! A sedentary lifestyle, overexposure to screens and a lack of natural light, stress, poor sleep, environmental toxins, and the Standard American Diet (with the apt acronym of SAD) are all culprits that can negatively affect your hormones. But the good news? You can turn your hormone health around with lifestyle changes that are well within your control.
Fortunately, food is one of the most powerful tools in your lifestyle toolbox to correct hormonal imbalances. While we’re not suggesting it’s easy to change your diet, it is possible, and moreover, it can create some seriously spectacular changes in your life and hormones.
A nutrient-dense diet that takes special care in adding foods known to contribute to hormone health is one of the best ways to bring balance back to your body naturally. Seed cycling is one significant way to boost your hormonal health by taking advantage of certain seeds’ natural hormonal balancing, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to a balanced diet, seed cycling can completely change the way you relate to your hormones.
What is seed cycling?
Seed cycling is a smart way to consume nutrient-dense seeds in a way that supports both your hormones and your gut microbiome.³ The seeds used for this contain key nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, and tryptophan that are essential for hormonal balance.
During your follicular phase (days 1-14 of your cycle), a blend of flax and pumpkin seeds is used to support estrogen levels at the beginning of your cycle, which can help to improve ovulation and reduce PMS symptoms.
In your luteal phase (days 15-28 of your cycle), you switch to sesame and sunflower seeds to keep estrogen levels from spiking or dropping too suddenly, while also supporting your progesterone levels, keeping symptoms such as cramping and breast tenderness at bay.
Seed cycling supports two specific hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Imbalances in these hormones can lead to painful periods, irregular periods, skin challenges, bloating, breast tenderness, and other symptoms of hormonal imbalances.
Who is seed cycling for?
Seed cycling can be a boon to already healthy hormones, but it’s most often sought out for those suffering from hormonal imbalances as a way to naturally guide the body back into balance. If you find yourself dealing with hormonal symptoms such as fatigue, mood swings, acne, skin or hair issues, hot flashes or night sweats, poor sleep, low mental energy, anxiety or depression – seed cycling can be a great start as you build your toolkit of natural remedies.
Seed cycling provides support for:
- PMS: Lignans found in flaxseeds help balance hormones throughout your menstrual cycle, leading to decreased PMS symptoms.⁴
- Menopause: The precipitous drop in estrogen levels during menopause can be counterbalanced by the lignans in sesame seeds.⁵
- Coming off the pill: After suppressing hormone production, seed cycling can help get your progesterone levels back on track with zinc-rich pumpkin seeds.⁶
- Perimenopause: As hormones fluctuate when you approach menopause, estrogen and progesterone support can help ease symptoms.⁷
- Postmenopause: Sesame seeds have been shown to improve blood lipids, antioxidant status, and sex hormones in postmenopausal women.
- PCOS: Seed cycling can help support missing periods and balance out the blood sugar imbalances that are often at the heart of PCOS.
- Acne: Pumpkin seeds include vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are all essential for healthy glowing skin.⁸
- PMDD: The mood balancing effects of omega-3 fatty acids can help right hormones for those suffering from PMDD.⁹
- Preconception/TTC: Getting your hormones right before you’re trying to conceive can give you a better chance of getting pregnant.
How to start seed cycling?
Seed cycling might sound like a lot of work, but if you’re unsure where to begin, Beeya has you covered. They take the guesswork out of measuring and figuring out when to switch from one blend of seeds to the next with their pre-mixed blends that also include hormonal balancing superfoods such as chamomile and hemp seeds in addition to their organic pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds.
Is there any science to support seed cycling?
While there isn’t enough research yet to support seed cycling as a holistic practice, there is plenty of credible research on the benefits of its individual components for supporting hormonal health. Let’s break it down into the nutritional components in the seeds, and you’ll see why seed cycling makes so much sense for balancing your hormones:
Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are packed with omega-3s, lignans, magnesium, and fiber. These tiny but mighty seeds contain phytoestrogens which have a modulating effect on estrogen imbalance, a common cause of PMS. The fiber in these seeds also promotes a healthy gut microbiome and supports healthy blood sugar levels.¹⁰
Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium, zinc, iron, tryptophan, and antioxidants such as carotenoids and vitamin E, all of which support hormone health and regulation. In addition to supporting restful sleep and mood regulation, these seeds also contain properties that help boost progesterone, a critical hormone for ovulation and lowering PMS symptoms.¹¹
Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients including selenium, vitamin E, thiamine, and linoleic fatty acids in addition to antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acids. These nutrients have been shown to regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and regulate hormones.¹²
Sesame Seeds: Sesame seeds contain manganese, calcium, vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and lignans that have been shown to reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar, support PMS reduction, and improve the gut microbiome.¹³
How long does it take to see results?
How soon you’ll see results is dependent on a lot of factors, including how many other lifestyle changes you are making in addition to adding seed cycling to your routine. It’s no overnight miracle, but most women start to see vast improvements after three months of seed cycling.
Is seed cycling safe?
Yes! Seed cycling is incredibly safe and a great addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle to support healthy hormones.
How to incorporate seed cycling into your everyday routine?
If you’re looking for a stress-free way to incorporate seed cycling into your life, Beeya is here to help. Their seed cycling protocol takes the guesswork out of the process so you can simply sprinkle a couple of tablespoons into dishes you already know and love and start improving your hormones today. If you’re interested in learning more about how to help your hormone health and seed cycling, visit Beeya.