If you’re wondering how to balance hormones for irregular cycles then read on. Balancing hormones for irregular cycles is so important, as a regular cycle is a key indicator of good menstrual health (and fertility). Irregular cycles can mean that there is something else going on that needs to be addressed.
One way of balancing your hormones is through seed cycling. Yep, you heard me correctly. Seeds. Salad topper, smoothie thickener, bird food. Hormone balancer? PMS reliever? Cycle regulator?⠀
Yes, seed cycling for healthy hormones is an actual thing, and I use it in clinics with my clients as it’s a great way of supporting the female body.⠀
How seed cycling works:
Our menstrual cycles are regulated by two key hormones: oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen levels rise during the first half the cycle and progesterone levels rise during the second half of our cycle (whilst oestrogen falls).
Any imbalance between these two hormones is thought to contribute to irregular cycles, the emotional and physical symptoms of PMS, cramps, spotty skin, lack of ovulation and short luteal cycles, to name a few. A short luteal phase (the second half), can affect conception.
Seed cycling helps to balance these hormones by consuming different seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower) during the two different stages of your cycle.
How do seeds help? They contain chemicals called lignans, which help to bind up excess hormones (which then get eliminated from the body). They also contain essential fatty acids which are the building blocks of healthy hormones.
Essentially, the different seeds will help to support the body’s natural oestrogen and progesterone requirements at different points in your cycle.
How to seed cycle:
Menstrual Cycle Day 1 (first day of bleed) to Day 14: Flaxseed and pumpkin seeds
During the follicular phase (first 2 weeks of your cycle) we need more oestrogen in order to build up the uterine lining. This is called the follicular phase.
Eating 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed and pumpkin seeds can naturally increase your oestrogen levels.
Flax seeds help to bind up excess oestrogen and the zinc in pumpkin seeds helps to support progesterone production and release for the second half of your cycle
Menstrual Cycle Day 15 to Day 28: Sunflower and sesame seeds
During the luteal phase (last two weeks) the corpus luteum (what is left behind from the egg rupturing) begins to release progesterone. This sex hormone helps to thicken the uterus lining.
Eating 2 tablespoons of freshly ground sesame seeds or sunflower seeds daily gives your body a nutrient boost that favours progesterone production. This is due to their high zinc content.
Sesame seeds also help to bind the excess oestrogen, and sunflower seeds contain selenium which helps the liver to process excess hormones.
What if I don’t have regular cycles:
Start day 1 on the first day of the new moon—the moon cycle is a great marker since it’s actually 28 days long (just like the female reproductive cycle).
Alternatively, consume flax/pumpkin seeds for 2 weeks, then rotate onto sesame/sunflower and repeat.⠀
3 easy ways to add seeds to your diet:
- Add to smoothies
- Use as a topper on porridge, yoghurt, and salads
- Add to soups
Have you tried seed cycling? Has it helped? I would love to know!