PMS is a very personal experience, so relieving symptoms should be as well. Seed cycling is a natural remedy that is as simple as it sounds. Maybe its right for you.
For many women, “that time of the month” wreaks havoc on their lives. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS), or estrogen dominance, is a condition that affects millions of women. Yet its seen as normal. Those who experience extreme symptoms each month, or who have irregular periods, know that their experience is anything but normal. If you’re into naturopathic remedies, or want an alternative to modern medicine, there’s a new trend that may provide relief: seed cycling.
Seed cycling is a strange term, but the method is actually exactly what it sounds like. The idea involves consuming specific types of seeds throughout different times of the month. This in turn will balance hormones, ease symptoms of PMS and menopause, and boost fertility. By eating flax, sesame, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds at specific times, individuals can regulate their estrogen levels during the first half of their menstrual cycle. They can also regulate progesterone levels during the second half.
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Proponents of seed cycling say that having an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone can cause women to experience extreme symptoms. These include irregular or heavy periods, fluid retention and bloating, cramps, and acne. Hormonal acne and subsequent scarring can be treated topically with creams, lotions, cleansers, gels, and other products. But these may contain oils in concentrations of 1% to 99%. The use of these over-the-counter and prescription products will ultimately do little to tackle the underlying issue.
Many women are looking for ways to take control themselves. They want to work from the inside out, and utilize food as medicine. When you think about it, this isn’t a new concept at all. But what is new is a growing interest in reproductive health and the commitment to talking publicly about it.
Nutritionist and naturopath Belinda Kirkpatrick explained this concept to Bodyandsoul.com. “Women are starting to learn more about their bodies and appreciate that their period can act like a barometer for their health. Hormonal health is one of the hottest trending topics of our time, and seed cycling is a do-it-at-home practice anyone can do, which is very appealing — particularly when some women experience big results from such a simple practice.” Is this practice right for you?
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Although seed cycling can reportedly help those who still get their periods and experience serious PMS symptoms each month, this technique is also said to help many others. Those with infertility, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and menopause symptoms like night sweats, mood swings, and hot flashes have all experienced positive relief. Despite the fact that the U.S. holds over 45% of the global pharmaceutical market, many women going through menopause don’t want to rely on modern medicine to help them with their hormone imbalances during this time. So it makes sense that they’d turn to something more natural.
Of course, no remedy is perfect. Some online sources maintain that seed cycling can even improve hair health, facilitate weight loss, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and help to maintain thyroid hormone levels. Unfortunately, the evidence backing up the effectiveness of seed cycling is largely anecdotal. One small study did find that flax seed intake improved cycle regularity and hormone levels, but more research needs to be performed. In addition to having very little scientific evidence to support the benefits of seed cycling, no one can really say for certain how it works.
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Still, adding these kinds of seeds into your diet can be good for your overall health, regardless of your menstrual experiences. It won’t work for everyone, however, particularly if you have dietary restrictions due to allergies. About 59% of travelers choose a hotel with an allergen-friendly room and roughly 0.2% of adults and children in the U.S. are allergic to sesame. This means that seed cycling may not be the right choice for you, if you have food sensitivities.
But if you aren’t allergic, experts encourage you to give it a try. Seed cycling certainly won’t clear up serious health issues, but it can absolutely improve overall well-being in many cases. If nothing else, you’ll add some protein and fiber to your diet and can make your salads or smoothie bowls a bit more interesting.
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