I first heard about seed cycling last year at a party. It was during a whispered conversation (as conversations including the words “menopause” and “cramps” often are) so I wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t heard of this practice before, even as immersed in the wellness world as I am.
Two women at the party said they actively practiced seed cycling, one to ease her debilitating cramps, and the other used seed cycling for PCOS. Both said the seeds worked better than birth control, the only medical solution their doctors prescribed.
My own period has often been irregular and, since taking the vaccine, my cycle shortened to three weeks and I wasn’t happy about it. So after the party, I went home and googled for hours.
I discovered there are no studies nor data about seed cycling for periods and menopause, but there are an abundance of alternative health practitioners who recommend it, a few reputable articles on it, and many success stories on social media.
It’s a simple (and delicious) practice: For the first half of your menstrual cycle, you eat one tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds every day. During the second half of your cycle, it’s sesame and sunflower seeds. You start the pumpkin and flax phase on the first day of your period, then shift to the sunflower and sesame on day 14. If your cycle has stopped, you can sync to the moon, starting one phase on the new moon, and the second on the full moon.
The theory is that these seeds provide the body with the right nutrients at the right time to balance hormones. Supplementing the diet with pumpkin and flax seeds is believed to support estrogen production during the first (follicular) phase of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels are supposed to rise. Just as sesame and sunflower seeds are thought to promote progesterone production, which naturally rises during the second (luteal) phase of the cycle.
I eat all of those seeds, so there was no harm in switching up how I ate them to see if they helped my periods. I didn’t even need to go shopping, just opened my pantry. I sprinkle pumpkin and flax seeds on my breakfasts for the first two weeks, and eat tahini and sunflower seed butter on toast or make dressings with them for the second phase of the month.
My first cycle was a success. Even though I missed a couple days of seeds while traveling, my period still went from 21-22 days to a healthy 27 days. I also didn’t experience any of my usual PMS symptoms: bloating, breast tenderness, nor fatigue.
We’ll see what happens this month, but there is no reason to stop now, especially now that I’ve developed a habit, a few new recipes, and discovered sunflower butter adds a little something to hummus.
I’ll keep you updated.