Seed cycling is using the power of nutrition to balance healthy estrogen-progesterone ratio in the body. Learn how to do it correctly in this article to achieve hormonal balance.
What is seed cycling or seed rotation and how can it benefit you to achieve hormonal balance - the backbone of health?
We all know the importance of hormones in our lives - when our hormones are in balance, we feel energetic, we have thick hair and beautiful skin, we enjoy being active and our bones and joints are in optimum condition, our thoughts are clear and we enjoy a good night's sleep everyday and on top of that, we wake up fresh! and ready to take on the world!
Estrogen and progesterone are two of the most important hormones that govern our overall well-being. In this article, I am going to take you step-by-step so you can understand as to why the hormonal balance is so important and how this super easy step of seed cycling can help you get there.
In this article, learn the role of this very simple 'seed therapy' in cancer prevention, healthy weight, strong bones, good mental well-being and much more - for both men & women!
What is estrogen dominance (ED)?
Thanks to pollution and heavy use of plastic and unhealthy diets, most of the modern day health issues can be related to estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance happens for two reasons - (a). your bad estrogen (estradiol) is in excess and/or
(b). progesterone is too low to counteract excess estrogen.
Xenoestrogens - These are xenohormones that imitate estrogen and are found in:-
What are the symptoms of ED in both sexes?
Menstruating women - Estrogen dominance in women who are still in menstruating age, results in painful and heavy periods, irregular periods, pms symptoms, anovulation (the absence of a period), hair loss, brittle nails and dry skin, weight gain and inability to lose weight despite trying "everything," mood swings, wrinkles, insomnia, anxiety, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, breast lumps, fibrocycstic breasts, thyroid issues and nodules, water retention and breast tenderness. Cancers like breast and ovarian are also possible.
Peri-menopause & Menopause - The symptoms of ED include night sweats, weight gain, chronic fatigue, mood swings, hot flashes, memory loss, brain fog, insomnia, and worst of all, estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer.
Andropause - Progesterone is a precursor to testosterone - the main male sex hormone. With age, as progesterone declines, testosterone declines and estrogen (estradiol) rises, leading to estrogen dominance (ED). Estrogen dominance is also a result of xenoestrogens in our air, water, lifestyle, food, gmos, growth hormones in dairy, beef, poulty, etc and so on as explained above. Low progesterone leads to symptoms like low libido, weight gain, loss of muscle mass, moodiness, hair loss, fatigue, depression, gynecomastia ("man-boobs"), mid-life crisis syndrome, erectile dysfunction, prostate issues (benign prostate hyperplasia -BPH) and bladder issues, frequent urination (esp. at night) and loss of mental clarity and good sleep and last but not least, thyroid issues and nodules.
Estrogen dominance in men can also lead to cancers like prostate and bladder, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. Aging also increases aromatase - an enzyme that converts testosterone to estrogen in men, thus increasing estrogen even more.
Progesterone is the hormone that keeps estrogen in check and that is why balancing estrogen-progesterone ratio can help both men and women suffering the symptoms of estrogen dominance as well as maintain great hormonal health.
What's the deal with estrogen? Is all estrogen bad?!
NO - absolutely not! Estrogen is the main female sex hormone (besides progesterone) and is also found in small quantity in men's body. Estrogen is produced by the ovaries (in women), by fat cells and the adrenal gland. Estrogen is a group of steroid hormones - this means it comprises of 3 different types of estrogen:
Estradiol(E2) - This is the 'bad' one; the culprit in breast and prostate cancer. This is the one that rises to high levels in estrogen dominant people. It is important to suppress estradiol and to flush out the excess so that it does not cause any of the conditions associated with estrogen dominance. Estradiol is the most common one in females of child bearing age. In men, estradiol is crucial for maintaining good sexual health as well as brain function.
Estriol (E3) - This is the good one and also the main one during pregnancy.
Estrone (E1) - This is the only estrogen your body makes after menopause.
Now that you know the role and importance of estrogen little bit more, you will also understand how and why seed rotation diet is effective. So, now, let's start about seed cycling or seed rotation diet.
What is seed cycling (also called seed rotation diet?
Seed cycling or seed rotation diet is basically harnessing the power of food - in this case, seeds, to achieve optimum hormonal balance. The main concept here is to balance the delicate ratio between estrogen and progesterone. Different seeds are used at different times according to the menstrual cycle (women) and according to the moon cycle (men).
What seeds are used in seed rotation diet?
This is done by using flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. The seeds are taken in methodical way (explained below) for this delicate ratio between estrogen and progesterone to come into balance. Seed cycling method is taught in many naturopathic schools around the world and is respected for its simplicity and high efficacy.
Why these seeds?
Seeds are a source of healthy fats and they are rich in omega oils, vitamins and minerals. These essential fatty acids are needed by the body to produce, regulate and metabolize hormones. Each seed plays a vital and special role in seed rotation diet and here is why:-
Flax seeds - Flax seeds are high in lignans, which help to block excess estrogen and help in flushing the excess estrogen out of the body.
Sesame seeds - Sesame seeds are high in lignans and again, help block excess estrogen. They are also high in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid which further supports the balance between progesterone and estrogen.
Sunflower seeds - High in selenium, linoleic acid and omega fatty acids.
Pumpkin seeds - High in zinc and help support progesterone production. High zinc levels also prevent the estrogen from converting to harmful forms of testosterone (DHT).
How to take?
Simply snacking on some salted seeds is not going to cut it - that is not what seeds rotation diet is about.
You will have to follow the following steps to get results:-
1. Soak the seeds overnight to increase their digestibility.
2. In morning, grind the seeds - again, this increases their digestibility, allowing the fatty acids to be absorbed more easily.
3. Mix with smoothie or oatmeal or however you like!
4. One to two tablespoon of each seed is recommended per day.
IF you like, you can also add some evening primrose oil from day 14-30 (more below). Also, try to buy organic seeds if possible to reduce your pesticide consumption even more. Also, make sure to grind the seeds in coffee or spice grinder so that they are very smooth, fine powder like.
When to take?
The seed rotation will help boost estrogen (the good estrogen) in the first part of the cycle (follicular phase) and progesterone in the second half of the cycle (luteal phase).
1. FOLLICULAR PHASE: DAY 1 (first day of period) TO DAY 14 (or until ovulation) - 1 to 2 tablespoons each of freshly ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds.
2. LUTEAL PHASE: DAY 14 TO 30 (or until periods) - 1 to 2 tablespoons each of freshly ground sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Peri-menopause & Menopause:
1. Rotate the seeds every week or two; so this means flax and pumpkin seeds for, say, 2 weeks and then, sesame and sunflower seeds for next 2 weeks.
In men, you go according to the full moon cycles and opposite of women's cycle.
1. Full moon to new moon - 1 to 2 tablespoons each of freshly ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds (can also add some chia seeds).
2. New moon to full moon - 1 to 2 tablespoons each of freshly ground sesame seeds and sunflower seeds.
Great! How long before I see results?
Seed cycling is NOT a quick fix! This is a blessing of mother Nature working on your behalf to fix underlying issues. Therefore, the seeds will show their benefits overtime as they work with your body's natural rhythms. It will take approximately 3-4 months to see results!
This is it! Another great article for you - solution based, affordable and simple, easy steps that deliver enormous benefits to your overall well-being. Ref (1). Ref (2). Ref (3).
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To 'Seeds of Life!' - till next article.
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