Seed Cycling: A Holistic Practice for Hormone Balance
Have you heard of seed cycling? If you follow the latest wellness trends, odds are you’ve caught wind of this holistic practice.
While it’s picked up mainstream popularity over the past decade or so, seed cycling is an ancient practice that’s been used for centuries to support women’s hormones.
Curious about whether or not YOU should try seed cycling?
In this article, I break down everything you need to know, including what seed cycling is, how it works, and my top tips for incorporating this practice into your daily routine.
What is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is the practice of eating certain seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds) during different phases of your menstrual cycle to support a healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone.
The health benefits of this practice can include:
- Regulated periods
- Reduced PMS symptoms (fewer mood swings, reduced acne, no more cramps, etc.)
- Improved fertility
- Reduced PCOS symptoms
- Higher energy and more stable moods in general
While there has not yet been research directly linking this practice to hormone balance or its benefits, as a holistic practitioner, I’m telling you this –
What you eat has a significant impact on your hormone health!
And the nutrients you get from these seeds support your body as hormone levels fluctuate throughout your natural menstrual cycle.
To help you wrap your brain around this, let’s first talk about your menstrual cycle!
Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle
A woman’s cycle usually lasts about 28 days, but this can vary slightly for each of us, with some women’s cycles being as many as 34 days. 
Did you know there are 2 main, over-arching phases of your menstrual cycle?
Phase 1. Follicular Phase: This occurs from the first day of your period up until around day 14 of your cycle (menstruation – ovulation). During this first half of your cycle, estrogen levels rise in order to release an egg.
Phase 2. Luteal phase: This occurs from around day 14 until the last day of your cycle (ovulation – luteal). During this second phase of your cycle, the body prepares for a possible pregnancy, and progesterone levels rise while estrogen levels slowly decline.
Problems happen when a hormonal imbalance occurs. This can cause negative health effects like PMS symptoms, fatigue, weight issues, low mood, and more. 
How Does Seed Cycling Work to Support Hormone Balance?
By eating certain seeds throughout your menstrual cycle, you can feed your body the nutrients it needs to support healthy progesterone and estrogen levels and avoid an imbalance.
Here’s how it works:
During your Follicular Phase (Days 1-14), consume 1-2 tablespoons of freshly ground pumpkin seeds and flax seeds daily.
Flax seeds contain lignans, which naturally support healthy estrogen levels.  Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of zinc, which supports healthy testosterone levels and progesterone production. 
Both seeds are also an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats lower inflammation in the body, which may help lower unpleasant symptoms during your period.
During your Luteal Phase (Days 14-28), consume 1-2 tablespoons of freshly ground sesame seeds and sunflower seeds daily.
Sunflower seeds are high in selenium and iron, both of which support estrogen detoxification.   This helps eliminate excess estrogen from the body when progesterone levels are on the rise.
Sesame and sunflower seeds are also wonderful sources of vitamin E and essential fatty acids, both of which are linked to reduced PMS symptoms. 
How to Practice Seed Cycling
This probably won’t come as any surprise to you at this point…
If you want to practice seed cycling, you need to track your menstrual cycle! You can do this through apps like Eve and My Calendar, or you can simply do it on your own.
Once you’re tracking your cycle, here’s how seed cycling is done:
Start eating seeds on the third day of your cycle OR you can sync up with the moon, in which case you want to start eating seeds on the third day AFTER the new moon.
Follicular Phase (first half of your cycle):
- Consume 1-2 tablespoons of fresh, ground pumpkin seeds
- Consume 1-2 tablespoons of fresh, ground flax seeds
- Take 3 g of high-quality Fish Oil
Luteal Phase (second half of your cycle):
- Consume 1-2 tablespoons of fresh, ground sesame seeds
- Consume 1-2 tablespoons of fresh, ground sunflower seeds
- If your cycle is 27-30 days, take 1 g of Evening Primrose Oil and 3 g of Fish Oil
- If your cycle is > 30 days or irregular, take 1 g of Evening Primrose Oil and 1.5 g of Fish Oil until your cycle regulates (this can take approx. 3-6 months). Then, switch to the 27-30-day instructions above.
The essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) inside Evening Primrose Oil and Fish Oil help to lower inflammation, reduce PMS pain, and boost fertility.
Now, if you’re not used to eating seeds you might feel like this is going to be hard! But with a little intention behind it, seed cycling can actually be quite simple.
Here are a few easy ways to incorporate seeds into your daily routine:
- Make fresh seed butter to spread on toasts and crackers
- Sprinkle them into soups, salads, and dressings
- Make homemade tahini
- Stir them into your morning oatmeal
- Add them to your smoothies
- Bake them into muffins
Like any wellness regimen, it’s important to stay consistent in order to reap the benefits. But with that being said, try not to stress if you get off track.
The bottom line is these seeds contain essential nutrients that support your hormones. So, eating more of these seeds, in general, is going to benefit you.
So, Should You Try Seed Cycling?
While seed cycling won’t fix all of your hormone issues, it *will* help get your sex hormones back on track, so you can be on your way to feeling more like yourself.
No matter what age you are or wherever you are in your journey of womanhood, this practice can benefit you.
Not only can it reduce PMS symptoms, but it can also boost your fertility and support you during peri-menopause and menopause.
So, go ahead and give it a try! Then report back by sending me a DM on Instagram.
I’d love to hear from you!
- Your menstrual cycle. Your menstrual cycle | Office on Women’s Health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/your-menstrual-cycle
- Gudipally PR, Sharma GK. Premenstrual Syndrome. [Updated 2022 Jul 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan – Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560698/
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- Pakniat, H., Chegini, V., Ranjkesh, F., & Hosseini, M. A. (2019). Comparison of the effect of vitamin E, vitamin D, and ginger on the severity of primary dysmenorrhea: a single-blind clinical trial. Obstetrics & gynecology science, 62(6), 462–468. https://doi.org/10.5468/ogs.2019.62.6.462