Written by Kate Morton, RDN
Written on 12/21/21
We've got the full seed cycling scoop, including some of the questions about seed cycle that we get most frequently.
Up until a few years ago, most people had never heard of seed cycling. That’s not to say it’s new on the scene, though, because it’s been around for a long time. But what is seed cycling, and why would you want to do it? We’ve got the full scoop, including some of the questions about seed cycling that we get most frequently.
Note: for ease of explaining the concept of seed cycling, this article is based on someone who has a 28-30 day cycle. Only about 10-15% of women have a cycle that falls in this range, so if yours is shorter or longer, don’t fret!
What is seed cycling?
Simply put, it’s natural PMS relief. Seed cycling involves eating specific seeds (each of which has specific nutrients!) to support the hormone fluctuations that occur in each phase of the menstrual cycle. While there’s not a lot of specific research on seed cycling, there is a lot of research on various nutrients and how they benefit hormone health.
And the process is actually really simple, we promise! Just eat certain seeds depending on whether you’re in the follicular or luteal phase of your cycle. We’ve outlined it all below.
The Follicular Phase
When: Days 1-14 of your cycle - during this phase, you need a balanced amount of estrogen to build the uterine lining.
What Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which aids in FSH production and therefore progesterone production and supports cell multiplication, zinc also supports androgen balance. They’re also rich in antioxidants, which help protect your ovaries, eggs, and reproductive system as a whole.
Flax seeds contain lignans, which aid in estrogen release, meaning they bind excess estrogen and help eliminate it to support ideal estrogen levels.
Both flax and pumpkin seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which encourage uterine blood flow and maintain healthy cell membranes.
How much? 2 Tablespoons total, ideally ground for better absorption
The Luteal Phase
When: Days 15-28 of your cycle - during this phase, the corpus luteum starts to release progesterone, which is a sex hormone that helps thicken the uterine lining and prepare it for implantation.
What Seeds: Sesame seeds are rich in zinc, which aids in progesterone production. They also contain lignans, which help block excess estrogen, and they have a slew of other benefits, including the ability to lower inflammation.
Sunflower seeds contain selenium, which helps improve liver function and remove excess estrogen. They also contain vitamin E, which stimulates progesterone production.
How much? 2 Tablespoons total, ideally ground for better absorption
Funk It Wellness has made it even easier with Funk It’s seed cycling kits. They source all the (organic) seeds you need - pumpkin, flax, sesame, and sunflower - and perfectly blend them to match your cycle’s needs. As you move through your cycle, your specialized seed blends are right there to help along the way.
As you move through your cycle, your specialized seed blends are right there to help you along the way.
What are the benefits of seed cycling?
Thankfully, there are lots of them! Everything from regulating your cycle and promoting on-time periods to reduced mood swings, less PMS, fewer cramps, and less hormonal acne. Seed cycling can even help decrease symptoms associated with conditions like PCOS and endometriosis. Have we sold you yet?
Keep in mind that all bodies are different, so while some might see fairly immediate results, others might need longer to see the benefits of seed cycling. But the nutrients involved in seed cycling are good for all of us, no matter our cycle length or medical history.
It’s important to note that, while seed cycling can be transformative, it won’t do all the heavy lifting. It’s key to also implement some basic nutrition and lifestyle habits to help balance your hormones. Things like drinking water, moving regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet.
Seed Cycling and Fertility?
So you may be wondering what about fertility? Like we touched on above seed cycling is very nutrient-dense and contains many of the nutrients that support general fertility, but at the moment there is no conclusive scientific research.
Here is what the research does tell us. Flaxseed has the most research supporting fertility with studies showing a positive impact on ovulatory cycles, lengthened luteal phases, and a decrease in stress response.
It is also important to point out that seed cycling creates a ritual around your cycle it can help you get to know each phase of your cycle.
As a dietitian, I have seen many people successfully use seed cycling for fertility and I can’t wait for the day we have more research studies on holistic/natural approaches to cycle management.
How can I use my seeds?
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy once you begin to make seed cycling a habit. Funk It seeds are delicious in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, granola, sprinkled on salads, mixed into nut butter, added to chia seed pudding, added to salad dressings, or any other way you choose to enjoy them!
Funk It seeds are delicious in a variety of different foods!
Do I have to start on day 1 of my cycle?
Nope! You can start wherever you are in your cycle. All you need to know is the first day of your last period and you can start with the appropriate seed blend. If you don’t have a regular cycle, you can start cycling on a new moon and then follow a traditional seed cycling schedule to help get your hormones back in alignment.
What if I don’t menstruate, I’m menopausal, or post-menopausal?
No worries! Seed cycling can still help! If you’re pre-menopausal and no longer have a regular cycle, you can start any time and do two weeks of each seed blend. If you have entered menopause or are beyond it, you can also start anytime you like, sticking with one blend for 1-2 weeks before moving to the other for 1-2 weeks.
Can I seed cycle if I’m on hormonal birth control?
Yes, you can! While most forms of hormonal birth control stop your normal cycle (the bleeding you experience each month is actually termed a withdrawal bleed and is not a true period), the nutrients present in Funk It seeds are still great to support you. And if you’re planning on getting off hormonal birth control, seed cycling can be an awesome way to supply your body with the necessary nutrients to make the transition smoother.
How do you know if your hormones need balancing?
It’s not normal to feel terrible before (or during!) your period or during other parts of your cycle. High estrogen can cause breast soreness, mood swings, hair loss, weight gain, endometriosis, and more. Low progesterone also causes issues, including the symptoms above, as well as anxiety, trouble sleeping, or even hormonal headaches. Incorporating seed cycling and overall high-quality nutrition can help improve some of these symptoms pretty quickly, sometimes as soon as one to three months. Note we always recommend checking with your healthcare provider if you are feeling any of these symptoms!
Want to make seed cycling simple?
Look, we get that beginning to incorporate seeds can be a little overwhelming. That’s why we’re here! It’s our passion to help our customers and women everywhere, not only as your go-to source for seed cycling, but also for education around women’s health issues. Because we don’t know about you, but no one ever really educated us on our cycle growing up. All too often, periods and hormones are thought of as something to shy away from, when really we should be leaning in and learning more.
Shop Funk It Wellness’s seed cycling kits here. Use the code PROOV20 to get 20% off your order!