Seeds in the diet might be one of my favorite ways to support hormone balance. Why? because it's easy and it can be a way to establish healthy routines that end up improving your overall wellbeing. All my female patients & clients get instructions for seed cycling.
The key players are: flax seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Flax seeds contain lignans which increase the liver’s production of SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin), which binds free estrogen, DHT (the active form of testosterone that often is responsible for symptoms such as acne, hair loss, increased facial hair) and testosterone— and therefore reduces the effect of these hormones.
Incorporating flax seeds into the diet improves the ratio of 2-hydroxyestrogen:16-alpha-hydroxyestrone, promoting the 2-OHE pathway. This is important because an improved 2:16 ratio decreases risk of estrogen sensitive cancers.
Consuming ground flax seeds is also helpful to manage “estrogen dominant” conditions by modulating estrogen levels and improving things like: uterine fibroids, PMS, heavy periods, endometriosis, irregular periods, PCOS and hot flashes.
Flax seeds have been shows to increase ovulation rates, lengthen the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and increases the progesterone to estrogen ratio.
Pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacins which function as mild 5-alpha reductase inhibitors which is helpful for preventing testosterone from becoming dihydrotestosterone (DHT— that active form mentioned above).
Ok so finally, the instructions of how to seed cycle:
For the first half of your cycle (assuming an average 28 day cycle: day 1-14. day 1= first day of bleeding), you incorporate 1-2 tablespoons of flax seeds and or chia seeds into smoothies/salads/whatever. This is to support healthy estrogen levels.
During the second half of your cycle, incorporate 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin, sesame and/or sunflower seeds to support healthy progesterone levels.
Be sure the seeds are freshly ground. This is important because when you buy them already ground, chances are they're already rancid =/
If you have irregular cycles, you can do this according to the lunar cycle: 1st half = new moon to full moon, 2nd half = full moon to new moon.
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