The concept of snacking on seeds and nuts came to light when weight-watchers were recommended by professional nutritionists to do so for a healthy dose of fibre that keeps one feeling full for longer along with adding great nutritional value to the diet.
After all, seeds are packed with several healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, which our body is incapable of producing on its own but needs to function in the healthiest way possible.
Recently, the consumption of seeds has been linked to several other health benefits, and restoring hormonal balance is at the top of the list. Consequentially, the concept of seed cycling has come to light, wherein, women can cash in on the nutritional value of seeds to achieve optimal hormonal balance.
FYI, this is a science-backed approach and involves consuming certain kinds of seeds during the first phase of the menstrual cycle, a.k.a. the follicular phase (starting from day 1 of your period to day 14) followed by consuming a different set of seeds during the second half of the menstrual cycle, a.k.a., luteal phase ( from day 14 to day 28).
Now, 4 of the 5 seeds we’re going to talk about below happen to be a part of seed cycling. But, seed cycling or not, consuming them can help you regulate your hormones to a great extent. Moreover, they can help you curb or control hormonal problems such as acne, irregular periods, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), and PMS symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, and period cramps.
Check ’em out:
1. Pumpkin seeds: If you look at the use of pumpkin seeds from the seed-cycling point of view, then it is recommended to consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly-ground pumpkin seeds every day during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle. During this phase, your body witnesses a fall in progesterone levels and a rise in estrogen levels to support the thickening of the lining of your uterus. As a result of these hormonal changes, you may witness an increase in your sex drive, a decrease in the oiliness of your skin, and even feel more energetic.
As per a study published in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, pumpkin seeds have a high Zinc content. This helps boost progesterone production as you move towards progesterone rise in the second phase of your cycle.
In fact, if you have any symptoms of a progesterone deficiency such as migraines, headaches, depression, anxiety, and mood swings then consuming pumpkin seeds on a daily basis can really help you control them.
2. Flax seeds: Y’all know how flax seeds are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. But, according to a study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology, they’re also packed with antioxidants called lignans. Now, lignans curb excess production of estrogen. Hence, consuming 1 to 2 tablespoons of flax seeds every day alongside pumpkin seeds is recommended during the follicular phase so as to make sure that your body doesn’t throw itself into an estrogen overdrive.
However, if you witness symptoms of excessive estrogen such as bloating, fatigue, mood swings, cramping, breast tenderness, and acne then consuming flax seeds can help you a great deal. A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism notes the same observation. Additionally, the study goes on to state that flax seeds can help in lengthening the luteal phase, improving ovulation, and make you more fertile as well.
3. Sesame seeds: As per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, sesame seeds are also a rich source of zinc which makes them quite effective when it comes to boosting progesterone production. Plus, they contain lignans just like flax seeds and this helps them block out excess estrogen so as to let the progesterone levels rise uninterrupted. This is exactly why it is recommended to have them during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, when the progesterone levels peak even naturally in a bid to support early pregnancy.
Now, if you’re someone who is trying to conceive, sesame seeds can really help boost your fertility apart from helping you manage the PMS symptoms during the follicular phase such as mood changes, headaches, acne, bloating, and breast tenderness.
4. Sunflower seeds: Technically, sunflower seeds are the fruits of the sunflower and it is recommended to consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly-ground sunflower seeds along with sesame seeds during the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle. This is because sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E which helps boost progesterone levels and fights off PMS symptoms, as per a study published in the Journal of Dairy Science.
Not to mention, sunflower seeds are also rich in selenium, a micronutrient that supports estrogen detoxification in the liver, according to a study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
5. Chia seeds: Now, it isn’t really a part of the seed cycling therapy, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is loaded with fiber and has the maximum amount of omega-3 content.
Together, these qualities make chia seeds perfect for controlling hormonal problems such as insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome, irregular periods, acne, and mood swings.
So, ladies, go natural and try out these magic seeds to calm the symptoms of hormonal imbalance