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Cycle Seeding: are seeds the magic remedy for your hormones?

3 min read
Cycle Care

Approved by

Jacqueline den Otter - Dietitian
The idea behind Cycle Seeding is that you eat particular kinds of seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and sesame seeds, during specific phases of your menstruation cycle. It’s an alternative way of influencing your hormones.

It’s supposed to help reduce symptoms that characterize PMS, PCOS, irregular cycles, and hot flashes. At least, that’s what some claim.

Us members of the Cycle editorial staff are always keen to discover natural ways of managing your hormones. So, part of the staff jovially took up seeds. In no time, the kitchen was jam-packed with jars of kernels and seeds, and we found ourselves breaking out the dental floss to get pesky flax seeds out from between our teeth.

Did it work? The honest answer is: No. However, let’s be nuanced by saying that no one noticed a clear difference.

How does Cycle Seeing work?

It’s pretty simple. Once a day, for two weeks straight, you eat a tablespoon of flaxseeds and a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds. That’s phase 1. After these two weeks, phase 2 starts, in which you eat sunflower seeds and sesame seeds for two weeks. How you divide the weeks depends on whether you (still) get your period or not. If you do menstruate, phase 1 will begin on the first day that you’re menstruating. If you don’t menstruate (anymore), you can start phase 1 whenever you’d like.

What is the supposed effect that Cycle Seeding has on your hormones?

Fans of Cycle Seeing claim that the seeds and kernels influence the estrogen hormone, and thus also affect your cycle. These seeds and kernels take part in the creation of the phytoestrogen, which is similar to the estrogen hormone. There has been no research on Cycle Seeding, but some things can be said about the seeds themselves.

Flax seeds

Besides the healthy omega 3, flax seeds also contain a specific kind of phytoestrogen, called lignans. There have been many scientific studies on the possible effects that flax seeds could have on things such as menopausal complaints and breast cancer. Consuming 10 grams of flax seeds a day did not produce a clear difference in the production of estrogen. Smaller scale studies did show that flax seeds can have a positive effect on fertility and that it can cause estrogen levels to lower. However, the studies were too small to form conclusions on. It’s good to know that consuming over 15 grams of flax seeds a day can make it difficult to go number 2 and may lead to constipation. Do you want to eat flax seeds? Be sure to buy whole flax seeds, since ground flax seeds oxidize inside the packaging, which can have an adverse effect on your health.

Pumpkin seeds

Besides lignans, pumpkin seeds also contain a hefty amount of fats, magnesium, and zinc. That makes them tiny heavy hitters, causing them to be linked to health benefits. They may also have an anti-inflammatory effect. But, it isn’t possible to give a straight answer as to whether they truly have a positive effect on cycle-related symptoms or your hormonal balance. Before you start chowing down on them, do note that pumpkin seeds contain quite a lot of calories. So, have a few each day, but don’t overdo it.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E and selenium. Selenium, an antioxidant, supports the function of the liver and thereby helps keep the hormones balanced. During the second half of your cycle, in particular, it is supposed to support the production of progesterone. We have not been able to find scientific evidence for this. Small studies have shown that vitamin E supposedly has an effect on fertility, but a firm conclusion can not yet be made based on this.

Sesame seeds

Besides lots of oil (omega 6 fatty acids) and liganes, these small seeds also contain a ton of calcium, magnesium, phosphor, and vitamin E. So, they’re chock-full of great building blocks. Sadly, we also were not able to find any scientific evidence that proves that sesame seeds can be of aid with hormonal issues. There have been multiple smaller studies, each with unclear results.

Is Cycle Seeding safe?

Although Cycle Seeding didn’t seem to affect our staff, and we were unable to find any scientific proof of its benefits, we spoke to Cycle expert and dietician Jacqueline den Otter about whether Cycle Seeding may have adverse effects. No, was Jacqueline’s answer: “There have just been no connections to scientific literature that shows that it can impact these kinds of issues. But, these seeds and kernels contain beneficial minerals and vitamins. And, besides, they look great on a salad. So, if eating seeds (based on your cycle or not) makes you feel good, feel free to do so. Do be sure to buy seeds and kernels that are pesticide and artificial substance-free, and don’t overdo it.”


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Cycle is a community where all aspects of the female body are discussed freely. From menstruation to menopause: we'll help you understand your body, mind, cycle and sexuality better, with the help of our Cycle Experts.