Seed Cycling 101 and Fertility
Sometimes a broken record isn’t a bad thing and with some new friends following along with the MONA journey, we thought a refresher on seed cycling wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Back to the Basics
Seed Cycling is a beautiful and powerful tool that can be used during many different stages of a woman’s, well, womanhood. Some of us are simply trying to learn more about our cycle while getting regular and some of us are trying to understand ovulation (when it happens) so that we can get down and dirty to baby-making. Others are coping with painful cramps, hormonal acne and even symptoms of perimenopause. The truth is, many systems in our body are influenced by reproductive hormones. The more we can get them under control, the better off we will feel.
Now, we’re big believers in proof. Call us realists, but it’s easy to keep habits more permanent when you can feel (or see) that it’s working.
There are loads of benefits to using seed cycling as a means of helping women who are TTC. Not only are you regulating your cycle, but you’re getting a clearer picture of when your body ovulates (hello the magic of baby making). We’ve discovered a pretty rad product called MIRA, which allows you to measure different hormones in your body via a small and portable digital device. Their ovulation testing kit is easy to use and incredibly accurate. After peeing into a cup daily, you dip your respective testing wand into your urine and you’ll get a clear (easy to read) luteinizing hormone level. For those that need a refresh, the luteinizing hormone is the signal that your body is or is not ovulating. What’s better? MIRA is coming out with new testing wands that also will measure your estrogen and progesterone levels (this is where MONA comes in)! And let’s just top it off with the fact that the data gets auto loaded to an app, which keeps track of your levels on a monthly basis!
So, why is knowing your estrogen and progesterone levels important? Well, babe, we’ll give you those detail s to jog that memory:
Menstrual cycles are complex to say the least. Most of us don’t even know how they work, to be honest. But, no worries, that’s where we come in!
Each month a woman’s body goes through a number of changes to prepare for the possibility of pregnancy. During each menstrual cycle, an egg develops and is released. The lining of the uterus builds up in anticipation of being fertilized. If pregnancy doesn’t happen, then uterine lining sheds and presents you with (drum roll please) – your period! Then, it starts from the beginning and happens all over again.
This lovely little cycle is divided into two phases: follicular and luteal.
Taking place during day 1 through 14 of your cycle, the Follicular Phase begins when your period starts and officially ends when you start to ovulate.
During this phase, hormones are low but estrogen is starting to rise.
Right after ovulation and ending when the period starts, the Luteal Phase typically occurs on day 15 through day 28.
Luteal Phase symptoms include a drop in estrogen while progesterone begins to rise.
So how do we deal with these changes and regulate naturally? Heal with food, baby, and eat those seeds!
Seed balancing involves a specific combination of four seeds over the course of your menstrual cycle. The unique combination helps to support estrogen production in a woman’s body during the first fourteen days of her cycle and promote progesterone levels in the second fourteen days. Pumpkin and flax seeds are used during the first half of your cycle and sunflower and sesame are used during the second half.
We break down the benefits of each seed below!
Used during the Follicular Phase, pumpkin seeds contain zinc and magnesium. This combination combats PMS and other annoyingly prevalent side effects of womanhood. While magnesium helps with PMS symptoms, zinc is a powerhouse. Pumpkin seeds contain 15% of the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) per ounce. Menstrual cramps and inflammation are caused by prostaglandins and zinc works to help reduce the metabolism of prostaglandins, thus encouraging more oxygen flow to the uterus and reducing the occurrence of menstrual cramps. It has also been noted that Zinc can reduce the severity of menstrual blood flow. Overall, pumpkin seeds are beneficial to aid in progesterone production.
These little guys work alongside pumpkin in the first phase of your cycle to remove excess hormones, reduce inflammation and aid in the reduction of painful PMS cramps. They contain a powerful three-fold punch. These seeds will help regulate estrogen quantity. During reproductive years, women’s bodies contain a compound called oestrogen. Lignans act similarly to oestrogen, too, but they don’t stimulate reproductive tissue. When our bodies overproduce oestrogen (such as during PMS), lignans compete with a woman’s own oestrogen and regulate the quantity by keeping it in balance. This balancing action is due to lignans ability to competitively lock onto our estrogen reception sites.
- Vitamin B
Sesame seeds, used during the Luteal Phase, have been shown to modulate inflammation and support cholesterol metabolism. Sesame Seeds contain zinc and selenium, which work to block excess estrogen. Sesame seeds have also been shown to modulate inflammation and support cholesterol metabolism. Given that sex hormones are made from cholesterol, any influx in inflammation can cause a response from the adrenal gland, which can lead to a hormone imbalance.
Last but not least are sunflower seeds! These babies are paired with sesame seeds during the second phase and contain Vitamin E, which helps to boost progesterone levels and combat inflammation.
- Vitamin E