Ah, hormones. These little chemical messengers do so much for our body. From helping our body grow to managing our stress levels to regulating our appetite -- hormones are crucial building blocks for us. But as crucial as they are, hormones can also impact us negatively; if there’s too much or too little of them than the required levels. This Hormonal Imbalance can occur due to a variety of reasons -- PCOS, Hypothyroidism, sedentary lifestyle, sleep deprivation, chronic stress, and more.For many women suffering from hormonal imbalance -- PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), menopausal symptoms, low progesterone levels -- Seed Cycling offers a natural method for taming those hormones. Varsha Koppikar, Format Head for Nutrition @ cult.fit, explains.
What exactly is Seed Cycling?
Seed cycling is the method of having four seeds –- Flax seeds, Sesame seeds, Pumpkin seeds and Sunflower seeds -- on a rotational basis during your period or menstrual cycle. Commonly, it’s recommended that you have 1 tbsp each in ground or powdered form.The consumption cycle of these seeds is divided over two phases for your menstrual cycle:
- Follicular phase: Consume Flax seeds and Pumpkin seeds
- Luteal phase: Sesame seeds and Sunflower seeds
Understanding these phases and how Seed Cycling fits into them
The follicular phase starts from day 1 of your period cycle and goes on till day 14. Day 14 is when ovulation occurs. This phase is marked by production of estrogen as the dominant hormone; crucial to prepare your body for ovulation. Low estrogen levels inhibit ovulation whereas high levels aggravate PMS.
The luteal phase starts from day 15 and goes on till the first day of your next period. During the luteal phase, your body needs more progesterone -- to prepare your body for pregnancy -- and estrogen levels go low. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, progesterone levels go down shedding the uterus lining thus marking the first day of periods.
Other benefits of Seed Cycling
- Managing painful, irregular, too heavy and too light periods
- Reducing androgen levels to regulate facial hair growth
- Tackling symptoms of hot flashes and vaginal dryness in menopausal women
- Combating symptoms of acne
- Lowering levels of fatigue and depression
- Managing symptoms of endometriosis, thyroid, PMS
Different ways of consuming these seeds
- Consume them fresh with a glass of water
- Have them with a small bowl of yogurt
- Add to your smoothie or smoothie bowls
- Sprinkle them on top of your salads
- Add them to your toasts (avocado, nut butters)
- Mix them with your protein balls, energy bars
But there’s something you must remember
Seed Cycling is not a replacement for medical advice given to you by your doctor nor is it a quick fix. Make sure to keep your doctor in the loop if you are planning to try it out. It all comes down to following a lifestyle that caters to your specific needs and addresses the root cause.