We are now living in an age where female health and hormones are becoming popular topics of discussion. Your hormone levels can affect so many bodily functions that people don’t realize. Some people think that just because they are not suffering with a disease or disorder that their hormones function fine. The truth is, many of us suffer from hormonal imbalance, including myself.

There are many methods for improving hormone health and many of them involve taking pharmaceutical drugs, including birth control. There are natural and holistic ways to balance your hormones that can also improve your overall health, seed cycling being one of them.

How do I know if my hormones are balanced or not?

The symptoms of hormone imbalance in women can be subtle….

  • Heavy, painful or irregular periods
  • Hot flashes or night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne around the jawline just before or during menstruation
  • Increased hair growth on face, neck, chest, or back
  • Weight gain
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Deepening of the voice
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation
  • PCOS
  • Osteoporosis
  • Thyroid issues (overactive or underactive)
  • Infertility
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian Cancer

Men also experience hormone imbalance ….

  • Reduced sex drive
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Reduced body hair growth
  • Overdevelopment of breast tissue
  • Breast tenderness
  • Prostate cancer
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Osteoporosis
A healthy diet and exercise routine mixed with stress management and good quality sleep can make a world of a difference when it comes to your hormones. Another beneficial process that I recently discovered is Seed Cycling, a process of rotating edible seeds into the diet at different times in the menstrual cycle. (WIKI). Unfortunately, there is not enough research supporting that this holistic method will make a big difference in affecting your hormones, but the nutritional components of the seeds themselves make the process hopeful in it’s results. 
Day 1-14

This period of time represents the first half of a woman’s cycle, assuming that she has a 28-day cycle. Day 1 is considered your first day of menstruation and day 14 should be right before ovulation. During this time, your body is trying to build back up it’s estrogen levels. The phases during this time are the menstrual phase and the follicular phase. During the follicular phase, estrogen is responsible for building back up the uterine lining. Estrogen is an important factor because when the lining is not sufficient enough for the ovulation phase, fertility issues can start to occur.

Flax Seeds

1 tbsp, freshly ground, daily

Pumpkin Seeds

1 tbsp, freshly ground, daily

These seeds’ nutritional content mimic the estrogen in our body and can improve imbalances within this phase. If you’re struggling with hot flashes, depression, vaginal dryness, excessive UTI’s, mood swings, fatigue or insomnia, you may have low estrogen. A way of helping with these symptoms may be to include these seeds in your diet during the first half of your cycle.

Day 14-28 
Day 14 is considered the first day of ovulation (during a 28-day cycle) and day 28 should be right before your period. During this time, your body is trying to build up progesterone levels. The phases during this time are the ovulatory phase and the luteal phase. During the luteal phase, progesterone is responsible for preparing the uterine lining for conception. If the egg is not fertilized, then progesterone levels drop resulting in a shedding of the uterine lining (your period). When progesterone levels are low, maintaining a pregnancy can be difficult. 

Sunflower Seeds

1 tbsp, freshly ground, daily

Sesame Seeds

1 tbsp freshly ground, daily

These seeds’ nutritional content mimic the progesterone in our body and can improve imbalances within this phase.  If you’re struggling with headaches or migraines, mood swings, depression, anxiety, or have an irregular menstrual cycle, you may have low progesterone. Something else that may be causing an imbalance of your progesterone levels may be because you are estrogen dominant. Symptoms of high levels of estrogen in the body may include, unexplained weight gain, decreased sex drive, PMS, irregular cycle, heavy bleeding, breast tenderness, fibrocystic breast, acne around the jawline, fibroids or gallbladder issues. A way of helping with these symptoms may be to include these seeds in your diet during the second half of your cycle. 

This method of seed cycling wasn’t as affective as I wanted it to be, but I definitely saw a difference in my cramps as well as my hormonal acne. To be fair though, I did only experiment with this method for about 1 full cycle. I would love to try this over a period of at least 3 cycles to observe its affects on my hormone levels.

As a disclaimer, seed cycling will not cure diseases or be a quick fix for hormone issues you may be experiencing. This method is just a way of supporting an already healthy lifestyle. Pair seed cycling with good sleep, proper nutrition, and regular movement, to see optimal results.

Some ways of incorporating these seeds into your diet would be to add them to smoothies, sprinkle them on top of soup, yogurt or oats, or add them to any savory dish like a Harvest Bowl.

My Hormones

My personal journey with my hormones has been complicated, but I have also heard some much more serious stories from other women that felt hopeless around hormone balance. I’m here to tell you you’re not alone. We all have our own personal journeys with hormones and no two people are the same. I was on the pill for 15 years. After becoming a Health Coach, I decided I didn’t want anything foreign in my body, so I stopped taking it. It’s been almost 2 years since I eliminated Birth Control from my life, and I’m only now feeling like my hormones have figured themselves out. It’s been two years of eliminating endocrine disruptors, experimenting with the Fertility Awareness Method, self assessing my body and it’s hormone levels, and filling my diet with nutrients that I know will support my cycle. Seed cycling has been only one of many things I have tried to improve the quality of my hormones and bring back a healthy menstrual cycle.

Comment below if your interested in seed cycling! Also, if you try it let me know what you think! What else are you doing for your hormone health?

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