Balance your hormones naturally using seeds

I get that this won’t exactly sound awesome, but hear me out. Seed cycling is one of the least expensive, least obvious, and probably most granola things (that’s a good thing) that you can do to support your hormonal system.

The premise? Seed hulls contain lignans, which work to bind excess amounts of specific hormones and escort them from your body. They also have plenty of healthy fats in the form of essential fatty acids, which are used as the building blocks for new hormones. Different seeds contain different compounds, so changing the types of seeds as you progress through your cycle allows you to access the specific types of building blocks at the time that your body needs them.

While this may sound like backwoods hippie medicine (and it kind-of is, really), it’s an example of a great natural treatment that has science to support why it works.

The basics? You take some ground-up seeds every day. That’s it. Seriously. You take one blend for the first part of your cycle (the follicular phase), and a different blend for the last part of your cycle (the luteal phase). I definitely recommend choosing raw, organic seeds, and grinding them every 2-3 days so they don’t oxidize. (A coffee grinder is the perfect tool for this.)

Phase 1: Follicular phase

The follicular phase starts on day 1 of your cycle (the first day of your period) and continues until ovulation, which is approximately on day 14. (If you’re tracking using FAM, you’ll know exactly when your ovulation happens. If your follicular phase is longer than 14 days, you’ll be following that timeline.)

Your estrogen is highest during the follicular phase, so the seed blend contains the things that your body needs during the estrogen-dominant part of your cycle.

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: reduce inflammation and support healthy cell membranes
  • Lignans: signal the body to stop production of excess estrogen
  • Zinc: supports production of progesterone (which is needed in balance now, in preparation for the second half of your cycle) and general reproductive health

Take:

1 tbsp freshly ground flax seed

1 tbsp freshly ground pumpkin seed

Additional support:

Take a daily fish oil supplement with at least 1,500 mg combined EPA/DHA.

Phase 2: Luteal phase

The luteal phase is the final part of your cycle and starts at the time of ovulation. This might be day 14 for you, or you can get more specific if you’re tracking using FAM. It represents a shift from estrogen to progesterone, which prepares your body for either a healthy pregnancy or a healthy period.

Progesterone is dominant during the last half of your cycle, so the focus now shifts to minimize estrogen and increase progesterone. Balanced progesterone levels are needed no matter what your goal – whether you want to get rid of period cramps, support the rest of your hormonal system, or grow a healthy baby – and they’re the key to a balanced cycle.

  • Omega 6 fatty acids: promotes healthy inflammation as well as anti-inflammatory processes
  • Lignans: signal the body to stop production of excess estrogen
  • Selenium: supports liver detoxification

Take:

1 tbsp freshly ground sunflower seeds

1 tbsp freshly ground sesame seeds

Additional support:

Take 500 mg Evening Primrose Oil every day.

Suggestions for how to incorporate this in your diet:

The ways to sneak these ground seeds into your diet are almost endless, but you want to be sure that you’re not cooking them. Heat destroys the delicate fatty acids and turns them into damaging free radicals instead – totally not the goal here.

Sprinkle on:

  • natural yogurt
  • fresh fruit
  • avocado

Mix with:

  • salad dressing
  • hummus
  • smoothie