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Seed Cycling: What is it?

In a world where so many external and internal factors can disrupt our hormonal health; it is great to know there is an effective and natural way to support your hormones through nutrition.

Seed Cycling

Seed cycling is not a new concept but has recently become popular in the wellness community. It has been proposed as a way to support optimal female hormone balance through the consumption of nutrient-dense seeds at specific times during the menstrual cycle but what is it and how can it help?

What is it?

Seed cycling is the practice of eating specific seeds to support the key hormones (estrogen & progesterone) in each phase in the menstrual cycle (follicular & luteal).

Benefits of seed cycling

Seed cycling can be used at any stage of a woman’s life (including post-menopause).

  • It is thought to be beneficial when coming off of hormonal birth control or struggling with post-birth control syndrome symptoms like acne, irregular periods or missing periods, & PMS.

  • May support endometriosis, and infertility.

  • Additionally may ease symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and mood swings.

How does seed cycling support hormone balance?

The idea behind how seed cycling works is each type of the seed utilized contains certain vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and lignans (type of phytochemical) that help support and balance the menstrual cycle.

When using the specific seeds during a specific menstrual phase (follicular & Luteal) you are then supporting the key hormone in that particular phase (estrogen or progesterone).

How to seed cycle

Two phases of the menstrual cycle

Follicular: First 14 days or menstruation to ovulation.

Luteal: Days 15-28 or ovulation to menstruation.

When your hormone levels are balanced, estrogen rises during the first half of your cycle whereas progesterone levels rise (while estrogen levels slowly decline) during the second half of your cycle.

It's the imbalance between estrogen and progesterone that can contribute to symptoms.

Seed Cycling: How to seed cycle

Now you know a little about seed cycling from our previous post. Let's jump in and discuss how to seed cycle.

When to start?

For those with a regular cycle you will begin your first round of seeds on day 1 on the first day of you menus and switch to the second set of seeds after you ovulate.

Those without a regular cycle or in menopause, we suggest using the cycles of the moon to set pace for your seed cycling. Day 1 beginning on the new moon (menus) and then switching to the second set of seed on the full moon (ovulation).

The basics

When using the specific seeds during a specific menstrual phase (follicular & Luteal) you are then supporting the key hormone in that particular phase (estrogen or progesterone).

What seeds to consume

Days 1-14: Follicular (menstruation to ovulation)

Eat 1 tbsp of raw, organic & ground flax seeds & 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds.

Flax seeds contain lignans which bind to excess estrogen. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc which helps support progesterone production as you move towards the progesterone rise in the second phase of your cycle. This phase last approximately 2 weeks.

Days 15-28: Luteal (ovulation to menstruation)

Eat 1 tbsp of raw, organic & ground sesame seeds & 1 tbsp sunflower seeds.

Sesame seeds are a rich source of zinc which help boost progesterone production and also contain lignans that help block excess estrogen while progesterone rises. Sunflower seeds are high vitamin E and selenium. Vitamin E can help boost progesterone production, while selenium helps detox the liver of excess estrogen.

Nourishing Tips

  • Whole seeds can be very hard to digest. By grinding the seeds, we ensure our body fully absorbs all the nutrients.

  • Purchase raw organic seeds when possible for optimal nutritional value.

  • Store seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to avoid the oxidation that can occur from sunlight or heat exposure

If you don’t have a 28-day menstrual cycle, you can adjust the length of time you consume each seed combination based on your cycle length.

Santa Barbara Hormone therapy

I highly recommend tracking your cycle and ovulation. It guarantees that you are syncing the correct seeds with each phase of your cycle since ovulation can occur at slightly different times each month.

Seed Cycling: Prepare & incorporate

Incorporating seeds into your daily routine is easy, if you prepare a bit in advance. Because you want the seeds as fresh as possible, this is why I suggest buying whole seeds and not the oils and pre-ground seeds.

How do I prepare the seeds?

Pre-measure seeds while they're still whole. Then, use a coffee grinder to grind them into a fine powder. I usually grind for each phase in advance, and store the leftover powder in a glass container. Once ground they can go rancid and be unhealthy to consume, so be sure to store in the fridge or freezer.

How to incorporate

There are so many ways and finding one that is easy for you so that you can remember will be the most helpful, but here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Add to morning smoothie, oatmeal bowl or yogurt

  • Make sunbutter protein balls and roll your ground seeds in

  • Add to salads, top soups or sprinkle on humus

  • Mix in with juice or water and simply drink.

How long to see results

I always recommend a minimum of 2-3 months to really notice the subtle shifts. Keeping a journal and tracking your cycle symptoms can help you feel encouraged. Some ask is this a life long approach - it may be for some and others may need a kick-start with seed cycling, while making lifestyle adjustments and can taper off. It is individual for each person.

Need More Guidance?

Seed cycling is only one part of the hormone balance picture. Lifestyle, including sleep, nutrition and toxicant exposure are also big players. Additionally knowing your hormone levels is important as well as the pathways preferred - especially when it comes to estrogen.

We have a great Functional package available if you are looking to dive deeper into your hormone health called Reboot: Hormone & Adrenal.

𝗩𝗶𝘀𝗶𝘁 𝗕𝗶𝗼 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲𝘀

Have a Nourishing Day!


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