What exactly is “seed cycling,” and how could it help with menstrual health and associated problems like hormonal acne?
According to Good Housekeeping, “seed cycling involves eating flax seeds and pumpkin seeds during the first, follicular phase (Days 1-14) of your cycle, or when your period starts. You consume a combo of sesame seeds and sunflower seeds during the second, luteal phase (Days 14-28), or after ovulation.” Typically, you consume at least 1 tablespoon of seeds per day.
So what role does seed cycling play in the menstrual cycle?
Reportedly, consuming specific compounds found in seeds during your menstrual cycle will help “establish more predictable periods and improve hormone levels.”
Seeds contain a fiber called lignan, which can be found in vegetables, plant-based protein sources, and fruits. During the first phase of your cycle, eating flax seeds and pumpkin seeds is believed to boost estrogen production as the body metabolizes the lignan fiber. On the other hand, consuming a combo of sesame and sunflower seeds is thought to boost progesterone through enterodiol, another lignan-related compound.
The combination of seed cycling phases, in theory, is supposed to complement the natural hormonal changes during the cycle, times where typically, “women have higher estrogen levels at the beginning of the month and higher progesterone levels during the second half of the month.”
But does seed cycling actually work?
As with any food, product, or diet, it varies from person to person. There is no scientific research proving nor disproving that seed cycling directly affects hormone production, though it seems promising among those that have tried it. But, hey, there is no harm in testing it out for yourself. Seeds are actually a valuable source of nutrition. They contain rich minerals that help to boost the immune system, balance blood pressure, and help to support healthy tissues.
If seed cycling seems like the way to go for you, or you’re experiencing any issues or concerns related to your period, fertility, or health in general, speak with your health care provider or OB-GYN.