In order for our bodies to flow properly, they have to be able to handle things such as the environmental toxins and high levels of stress that we are subjected to in our everyday lives. Syncing the foods you eat with your cycle is an excellent way to bring supportive nourishment to your body. Plant foods have incredible capabilities for reestablishing our body’s rhythm. They help us stay in touch with our nutritional needs throughout the various seasons and even through our hormonal cycles. When it comes to fertility and hormone regulation, there are a lot of elements working against proper functioning in our busy world.
Seeds are a wonderful, easy, and a delicious way to support the body in finding its natural composure. Seed cycling is designed to support hormone production, regulate menstrual cycles, and can even help reduce PMS symptoms. Incorporating seeds into our diet helps promote hormone balance which guide our cycles.
A woman’s body is influenced by estrogen for the first half of her cycle, ideally days 1-14. Estrogen helps to produce a thick endometrial lining and aids in the creation of more fertile tissues for the embryo to implant. Progesterone then controls the second half of the cycle, ideally days 15-28, and helps maintain the condition of the uterine lining. Progesterone also helps facilitate implantation of an embryo and supports pregnancy. The key to a healthy and fertile body is balance between these two hormones. Seeds help support our body’s natural production of hormones in the right proportion, especially when paired intentionally throughout the month.
Days 1–14 (Follicular phase): Seeds for Estrogen
- 1 tbsp flax seeds
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Flax and pumpkin seeds are both wonderful sources of omega-3 fatty acids, as they allow for the smooth transmission of hormones throughout the body. Flax seeds also contain lignans, which help to block excess estrogen. Pumpkin seeds have a high zinc content which allows the body to release progesterone. The combination of these two seeds allows the body to achieve a balance between both hormones.
Days 15–28 (Luteal phase): Seeds for Progesterone
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
During the second half of the cycle, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are a huge benefit for progesterone balance. The high zinc content of sesame seeds and the readily available selenium in sunflower seeds encourages the body to make progesterone. Like flax seeds, sesame seeds contain lignans, which help to prevent excess estrogen production. One important tip to remember: If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s important to continue these luteal-phase seeds until you actually have a period, in case you are pregnant that month. This gives the egg the best chance at implantation.
All of these seeds are best consumed raw and unsalted. Grinding seeds with mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, breaks down the tough outer layers and makes their nutrients more accessible to the body. Grid up seeds every 1-2 days, as after this the vitamins begin to oxidize and the fats begin to go rancid ( buying pre-ground seeds is a waste of money and health, as it is a deteriorated product). Ground seeds can be added to smoothies, salads or soups.
Keep in mind that foods that promote one hormone also discourage production of the other. Aim to avoid sunflower and sesame seeds during the first half of your cycle and pumpkin and flax seeds during the second half.