Seed cycling or cycle syncing is when you eat certain types of seeds at different times of your menstrual cycle to help support the fluctuation of hormones going on inside of your body. This can help you have a normal and healthy cycle (ovulation on time, menstruation on time, etc.). It can also help take “the edge off” to help you ease in and out of each phase, allowing you to experience fewer mood swings or extreme emotional ups and downs.
How to count: The key is to understand when your cycle starts. Day one of your cycle is the day you start bleeding. You then count upwards until you start bleeding again, which then becomes day 1.
The average cycle is 28 days long, but it can vary from 24 to 30. If your cycle is long or short, simply divide it by 2 to understand your two phases.
For each phase below, you will find the beneficial seeds, other beneficial foods, the best type of exercise, and what you may be feeling.
The Follicular Phase is the first half (typically days 1-14). This is when FSH hormone (follicle-stimulating hormone) causes you to develop follicles, and then an increase in estrogen releases an egg. You typically ovulate on day 14 of your cycle, which means most people are fertile on days 12-16.
Beneficial Seeds: Pumpkin seeds and flax seeds help improve estrogen levels while preventing excess estrogen. Flax seeds contain lignans which bind to excess estrogens. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which helps support progesterone production. Daily intake of 1 TBSP of either pumpkin seeds or flax seeds during this phase or a 1/2 TBSP of each during this phase.
Other Beneficial Foods: Sweet potatoes, brown rice, greens, salmon, shrimp, and avocado.
Best Type of Exercise: High-intensity exercise such as running or circuit work.
Best Strengths Utilized: Days 1-7 you may be the most creative and days 8-14 you may be the most focused.
The Luteal Phase is the second half (typically days 15-28). This is when progesterone increases to help your body prepare for a potential pregnancy, and then your body prepares to eliminate the uterine lining if there is not a pregnancy.
Beneficial Seeds: Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds help boost progesterone production. Sesame seeds are high in zinc, which boosts progesterone. Sunflower seeds are high in Vitamin E and selenium. Vitamin E helps boosts progesterone production, while selenium helps remove excess estrogen. Daily intake of 1 TBSP of either sesame seeds or sunflower seeds during this phase or 1/2 TBSP of each during this phase.
Other Beneficial Foods: Quinoa, eggs, fresh fruit, cucumber, lean meats, and cauliflower.
Best Type of Exercise: Exercise that supports rest and reflection such as yoga, long walks and bike rides.
Best Strengths Utilized: Days 15-21 you may find you are more assertive or enjoy problem solving or public speaking. Days 22-28 you may shift to being more analytical.
If you are entering perimenopause or menopause you can also benefit from seed cycling. Seed cycling can help minimize the impact of hormone fluctuations. Since estrogen and progesterone decline during menopause, seed cycling can provide additional support for you. You can start on any day and follow the same weekly plan as above.