The Power of Seed Cycling

 

Written by Nicole Olayon, MScN (July 2017)

Regulating Menstrual Cycles with Seeds and Oils

Within the naturopathic world of medicine, seed cycling has become a popular dietary protocol that is suggested to women who want to regulate their menstrual cycles. Although there is little scientific research behind this method, many women claim that this simple technique works! The main theory behind seed cycling is that the essential fats and nutrients present in the various seeds will help to support and balance the fluctuating levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during different phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

The seeds that are eaten during seed cycling include:

Days 1-14:

1 Tablespoon of ground pumpkin seeds + 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseeds

Day 15-until menstruation:

1 Tablespoon of ground sunflower seeds + 1 Tablespoon of ground sesame seeds

It is best to use raw and organic seeds when possible. It is also recommended to use whole seeds (as opposed to already ground seeds) in order to get the full benefits from the oils released during the grinding process.
A great kitchen tool to use for grinding the seeds is a coffee grinder; and an easy way to incorporate the ground seeds into your diet is as a yummy topping for smoothies, oatmeal, salads, yogurt, and more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Quick Review of what an Irregular Menstrual Cycle is:

The definition of a regular menstrual cycle is the occurrence of bleeding (menstruation) approximately every 28 days, which lasts anywhere from 4-7 days long.1 With that being said, every woman is unique, and a normal length of time in between each bleeding period can range from about every 21-35 days.1

Examples of irregular menstrual cycles include extremely short, or extremely long periods in between each cycle, very long or very short bleeding periods, painful menstruation, changes in blood flow, spotting in between cycles, the absence of a menstrual cycle, and more.1

What Causes Irregular Menstrual Cycles in the First Place?

Irregular menstrual cycles affect about one third of women who seek gynecological care, and so it is quite a common condition.2 Irregular menstrual cycles can be caused by many factors including illness, disease, stress, structural deformities of the reproductive organs, environmental exposure to chemicals and other pollutants, food allergies, high intensity exercises in excessive amounts, improper diet, abnormal weight, and more.1,3

*As always, if you are dealing with irregular menstruation, is recommended to seek the care of a medical professional in order to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

Here’s a fun fact: Did you know that the average menstrual cycle is the same length of the monthly cycle of the moon?! The average menstrual cycle and lunar cycle are both 28 days long!

Well…some say that spending more time in natural light (such as the moon), and limiting exposure to artificial light from computers, cell phones, street lights, etc., can relieve stress and bring balance back to our natural circadian rhythms!

A Fun Recipe to Incorporate Seed Cycling!

Many causes of irregular menstrual cycles that were mentioned above are everyday stressors that can cause hormonal imbalances. Seed cycling is one way to help! It is especially beneficial for balancing hormones when used in conjunction with lifestyle practices that reduce emotional and physical stress. Here is an easy recipe that you can prepare ahead of time and keep in the freezer until needed!

Seed Cycling Energy Bites (days 1-14)

Serving Size: 12-14 energy bites

Ingredients:

1 cup of flaxseeds

1 cup of  pumpkin seeds

1 cup of rolled oats, lightly ground

¼ cup of peanut butter or almond butter

½ cup of maple syrup

4 dates, pitted and chopped

¼ cup of finely shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Using a coffee grinder, grind the flaxseeds for about 15-20 seconds and set aside in a medium-sized bowl. Grind the pumpkin seeds for about 15-20 seconds and empty into the same bowl.
  2. Quickly pulse the oatmeal in the coffee grinder 4-5 times, just enough to roughly chop the oats. Pour the oats into the bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the nut butter and maple syrup. Mix well by using a spoon or whisk.
  4. Add the chopped dates to the nut butter and maple syrup.
  5. Scrape the nut butter mix into the dry mix and combine with your hands (or with a spoon).
  6. Using your hands, make approximately 12, 1-inch balls. Roll each ball into the shredded coconut until evenly coated, then set aside into a freezer bag or another container that can be kept in the freezer.
  7. Eat one energy bite every morning until day 14 of your menstrual cycle.
  8. Be sure to make the next batch with ground sesame seeds and sunflower seeds for days 15-on!

 

*This recipe makes about 12 energy bites. You can incorporate ground seeds in other ways for days when you don’t have energy bites (i.e. in smoothies, oatmeal, salads, yogurt, etc.).

 

References:

  1. Hudson T. Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness. McGraw-Hill Education; 2007.
  2. Kaunitz, AM, MD. Approach to abnormal uterine bleeding in non-pregnant reproductive-age women. Uptodate https://www-uptodate-com.nunm.idm.oclc.org/contents/approach-to-abnormal-uterine-bleeding-in-nonpregnant-reproductive-age-women?source=search_result&search=irregular%20menses&selectedTitle=1~150#H19165940. Accessed May 5, 2017.
  3. Gaby AR. Nutritional Medicine. Concord, N.H :; Fritz Perlberg Publishing; 2011.

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