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Home / Healthy Eating

Seed Cycling: A hormone balancer or just another fad?

 Seed cycling has been touted as a game changer when it comes to hormonal imbalances and irregular cycles (Shutterstock)

Seed cycling seems to be all the rage right now. From well-respected medical journals, naturopaths to your favourite nutrition influencer on Instagram everyone is singing its praises.

The newest fad out of women’s hormone wellness blogs has been on the scene for years now, believe it or not, but only recently has it began enjoying its time in the limelight.

What is Seed cycling and how does it work?

Seed cycling, or seed rotation as it’s otherwise known, has been touted by some as a game changer when it comes to hormonal imbalances and irregular cycles –  which over 20 per cent of women experience – after just a few months.

According to experts, seed cycling is adding to the diet particular seed combinations during different phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle for the chief purpose of balancing hormone levels.

It should boost oestrogen levels in the first half of your cycle and then progesterone levels in the second.

Ever since the fad entered the public domain, women suffering from terrible pre-menstrual syndrome (pms), heavy or irregular periods, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and women undergoing perimenopause and menopause have been making a beeline to their local health stores to get their hands on the miracle-working seeds.

So just how are seeds supposed to bring sanity to the mess that is an out-of-whack hormonal system? Well, the four-seed combination is made up of pumpkin, flax, sesame and sunflower seeds. Let’s break it down:

  • Phase 1 (Follicular)

This is the first half of a woman’s cycle; from the first day of menstrual flow to ovulation. During this phase, more oestrogen is needed as an egg is prepared for release.

This is when one is required to take one tablespoon of pumpkin and flax seeds each, daily.

What the seeds do:  Flax seeds help balance high oestrogen levels, and keeps ovulation regular while pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc which promote progesterone production and eliminates excess oestrogen. It also helps with those dreaded menstruation cramps.

  • Phase 2 (Luteal)

On ovulation day until the first day of the next period, one tablespoon of sesame and sunflower seeds each daily, should be consumed.

What the seeds do: They will support progesterone production. Sesame seeds which contain lignans help eliminate excess oestrogen from the body while sunflower seed, a good source of omega-6 fatty acids supports progesterone production and lowers inflammation

Does it really work?

Surprisingly, it looks like more scientific evidence is needed to prove a link between seed cycling and rebalanced hormones despite so many swearing on its life-changing properties.

Evidence for individual seeds however, seems more substantial.

Studies link flax seed supplementation with a longer luteal phase, sesame and flax seeds with benefits to women with PCOS, sunflower and pumpkin seed with reduced chances of breast cancer while another showed that during and after menopause, symptoms such as uncomfortable hot flashes, soaking night sweats, vaginal dryness and insomnia were alleviated by taking 100mg of flax seed extract daily for three months.

The bottom line is this; seeds are jam-packed with essential nutrients so if you’re looking for an easy way to improve your reproductive and overall health in general, liberally include them in your diet –  whether or not you believe the hormone

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