Seed cycling is a gentle, nutrition-based method for helping you balance your hormones. It involves alternating between one period of pumpkin seeds and flax seeds with another period of sesame and sunflower seeds. The idea is that the seeds contain important nutrients that support the regulation of the reproductive hormones of the menstrual cycle, namely estrogen and progesterone.
How seed cycling works
For a detailed guide to seed cycling, how the menstrual cycle works, and supporting research, read this article. Here’s a quick overview:
There are four phases to your menstrual cycle, divided into two halves. The follicular phase is the first half where estrogen is the dominant hormone. The luteal phase is the second half where progesterone takes over.
Below is an example for a 28-day cycle.
- Day 1-14: Starting the day you get your period, take 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds and 1 tbsp of flax seeds per day.
- Day 15-28: Take 1 tbsp each of sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
How to eat all the seeds
There are several ways you can get your daily intake of seeds. You can blend them into soups and smoothies, stir them on yogurt or oats, or sprinkle them on a salad.
My favorite way, however, is cookies! Raw cookies, that is. They’re basically flat energy bites without dates. I’m not a huge fan of anything date-based, which is what energy bites/balls are usually made of, so I’m calling them cookies.
In the follicular phase, the dominant hormone (estrogen) increases and peaks at ovulation. Foods that support healthy estrogen levels are ideal in the first half of your cycle, both regulating its production and supporting the detoxification and elimination processes in your body that help keep estrogen levels where they’re supposed to be. This includes pumpkin and flax seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc that supports ovarian function and flax seeds have lignans that help regulate estrogen production by inhibiting any excess.
These mocha seed cycling cookies are a simple way to get your daily dose of hormone support in the follicular phase. A tasty one too 🙂
- 14 tbsp raw flax seeds, ground (about 1 cup)
- 14 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds, ground (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp espresso powder
- small pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp water
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until it forms a dough. It might seem crumbly, but if you can squeeze it together and it sticks, it’s good! If the mixture is too dry, add a little milk or water until it sticks together.
- Roll dough into 14 equal-sized balls and gently flatten with your palm. If the dough is too sticky and is getting all over your hands as you roll, wet your palms slightly to make it easier.
- Chill cookies for an hour to set. Store in the fridge or freezer (they are great straight from the freezer!)