Seed Cycling to Balance Your Hormones

Words: Robyn Paterson

Since it’s Women’s Month in South Africa, we thought it apt to do a deep dive into women’s health and wellness. The biggest gripe for most of us with female hormones is trying to get a handle on our hormonal system without having to rely on invasive medicine or procedures. The best place to start is, of course, our diets. Seed cycling is a gentle, non-invasive way of working towards hormonal health and balance. It’s easy enough to make part of your daily routine and has no adverse effects on the body, so it’s definitely worth a try!

seed cycling

What is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling is a natural remedy that claims to, if done on a daily basis, regulate the body’s estrogen production during the first two phases (follicular) of the hormonal cycle, and regulate the body’s progesterone production during the last two phases (luteal) of the cycle. It involves eating specific seeds, namely pumpkin, flax, sesame and sunflower, during these two phases of your cycle.

During your hormonal cycle, your estrogen should naturally spike during your follicular phase, while your progesterone should spike during your luteal phase. However, if your hormones are out of sync (which is very common due to stress, lack of sleep, diet and hormonal birth control), you will start to experience symptoms like PMS, cramps, bloating and water retention and, in more serious cases, experience exacerbated symptoms for pre-existing conditions like endometriosis or PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

Why Seeds? 

pumpkin seed cycling
flax seed cycling

There isn’t a wealth of scientific study to show a direct correlation between seed cycling and hormonal balance, but there is research that suggests the nutritional components of pumpkin, flax, sunflower and sesame seeds help aid in regulating the balance of estrogen and progesterone.

A particular fibre, called lignan, is said to have an effect on your hormones by either eliminating excess estrogen, or boosting estrogen levels in the body. Therefore, by eating these particular seeds, you are aiming to calm any intense hormonal shifts in the body that could lead to the symptoms mentioned above. 

How to Start Seed Cycling

You can start seed cycling today! It’s truly that simple. All you have to do is identify where you are in your cycle, follicular or luteal phase, and eat the corresponding seeds.

If you’re new to cycle tracking, it might be easier to start seed cycling on the first day of your next period as that will be Day 1 of your new cycle.

Follicular Phase: 

1-2 tablespoons daily of pumpkin and flax seeds

Luteal Phase:

1-2 tablespoons daily of sesame and sunflower seeds.

seed cycling ideas
seed cycling


  • It’s easier to digest seeds once they’ve been ground, so we suggest grinding your seeds into a powder and incorporating them into your breakfast or lunch.
  • Start with 1 tablespoon and work your way up to 2. Seeds can be quite rich, so you don’t want to overload your system straight out the gate.
  • Add them to smoothie bowls, oats, or yoghurt bowls for a nutritious and nutty kick to your breakfast. You could also add them to salads or sprinkle over a delicious veggie pasta.

Want to learn more about your hormonal cycle? Read this article. 

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