If you know me, then you know I’m all about food that tastes good AND makes you feel good too. For me, seed cycling is a powerful way to check both of those boxes, as you can incorporate this fertility-boosting and hormone-balancing practice into some seriously delicious recipes (like this Maple Cinnamon Granola Parfait).
Read below to learn how your fertility, menstrual cycle and hormones can benefit from this practice, how to do it, and snag the recipe for this insanely delicious Maple Cinnamon Granola + Strawberries N’ Cream Parfait.
Seed cycling is a natural and inexpensive way to support the female endocrine system through its hormone fluctuations by consuming different seeds during different phases of our menstrual cycle.
This practice of rotating different seeds (pumpkin, flax, sesame and sunflower) between the first and second half of our cycle phases regulates our hormones, helping to relieve PMS, increase fertility, reduce period pain, stimulate ovulation, and support the body in healing conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
During the first half of your cycle (menstruation, follicular and ovulatory phase) estrogen levels begin to rise and steadily increase in preparation for ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovary) in order to potentially get pregnant.
While this is a good thing, there’s a very fine line between too much and too little estrogen, and many modern day lifestyle obstacles (alcohol, caffeine, stress, sugar, dieting, processed foods, toxins, etc.) can wreak havoc on your estrogen, leading to imbalanced levels.
Adding in pumpkin and flax seeds rich in phytoestrogens works to balance overall estrogen levels, helping increase and decrease estrogen as needed. Optimal estrogen levels are then able to effectively regulate other important hormones (such as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) necessary for ovulation in order to conceive) and ensure a healthy menstrual cycle.
After you ovulate, estrogen and other hormones (testosterone, FSH, LH) drop, sending you into the latter half of your cycle, your luteal phase. This phase typically lasts 10-14 days and should be a minimum of 10 days (as it takes the egg at least 10 days to travel to your uterus to implant in your lining, if trying to get pregnant). Anything less than 10 days an indicator of low progesterone and possible fertility issues.
During this phase, progesterone levels begin to rise steadily, enhancing your endometrium (uterine lining) in preparation for a potential egg implantation and pregnancy. It’s very important to have healthy progesterone levels during this phase, as low progesterone can lead to PMS, irregular cycles, and challenges with getting or staying pregnant. Adding in sunflower and sesame seeds (both rich in gamma-linolenic acid, GLA) works to support progesterone levels and reduce any inflammation in the body that can trigger PMS or fertility challenges.
Practicing seed cycling each month works to regulate your hormones and reduce inflammation in the body, leading to benefits such as:
Consume 1 Tbsp each fresh ground flax and pumpkin seeds daily.
Consume 1 Tbsp each fresh ground sesame and sunflower seeds daily.
Pro-Tip: Personally, the easiest way for me to practice seed-cycling is by using the seeds in delicious recipes like this granola. I’ll make a big batch with pumpkin/flax seeds once during my period to enjoy during the first half of my cycle, then another batch after ovulation with sunflower/sesame to eat the second half. When you incorporate seeds into a granola that tastes this good, you’ll have a hard time forgetting to do it :).
Seed Cycling is an effective and easy way to help balance your hormones and support each phase of your cycle, which can lead to a reduction in uncomfortable or painful symptoms and an increase in fertility and menstrual health.
Author: Lauren Chambers
Recipe Type: breakfast, treat, dessert
For The Seed Cycling Maple Cinnamon Granola:
I’m honored to support you on your journey to optimal hormone health + happiness. Thanks for being here babe.