Hormonal imbalances or variations in estrogen, progesterone, and androgens, in females, can lead to various health issues. Estrogen is the hormone that helps develop and maintain the reproductive system and female characteristics. Progesterone is a sex hormone involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. Androgens are a group of hormones that regulate the development of male characteristics. 

The most common result of hormonal imbalance is a condition called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), which causes symptoms ranging from hair growth, acne, weight changes, infertility, and irregular and painful menstrual cycles.

While many women turn to hormonal birth control pills to regulate their hormones, most of them look for natural alternatives. Seed cycling is an alternative medicine practice, believed to help regulate reproductive hormones. While seed cycling has been in practice for many years, it is only now that this concept is trending and gaining popularity.

What is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling is the practice of eating specific seeds during the two main phases of your menstrual cycle (follicular and luteal) to help promote the healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone levels. The correct combination of seeds at the right time will help to control your symptoms. 

Two Phases of Seed Cycling

To follow seed cycling, you have to eat a combination of two different seeds during two different phases of your menstruation cycle. 

The first phase of the cycle is called the Follicular Phase, which starts from the day of your period onset and lasts till the 15th day. 

  • In this phase, the estrogen hormone is required to boost the growth of the eggs inside the ovaries. The common seeds eaten during phase 1 are flax and pumpkin seeds. 
  • The daily recommendation is to eat about 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly ground flax seeds and raw pumpkin seeds from day 1 to day 14. 
  • Flax seeds are known to improve estrogen and progesterone ratios and prevent osteoporosis and heart diseases in women. Women with PCOS who consume flax seeds may also experience a positive shift in androgens, leading to better hair growth and reduced acne.
  • Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc. It is believed that menstrual cramps are caused by excess prostaglandins (a group of lipids that control processes such as inflammation, blood flow, and blood clotting). Zinc decreases the metabolism of prostaglandins, thus reducing menstrual pain and cramps.

The other phase of the cycle is called the Luteal Phase, in which progesterone is important to maintain the function of conception or implantation in the uterus. 

  • Eat around 1 to 2 tablespoons of sunflower and sesame seeds, from day 15 to day 28 of your menstrual cycle.
  • Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, which increases progesterone, the hormone that helps in maintaining early pregnancy in women.
  • Sesame seeds increase vitamin E circulating throughout the body, thus helping women maintain their progesterone levels.

To conclude, with a daily intake of a combination of the above, you can see visible changes in your symptoms and can control your hormonal imbalance. It is advisable to follow a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet along with the practice of seed cycling, for the best results.

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