Seed Cycling for Hormone Health with Christa Biegler, RD
Have you ever heard the hype about seed cycling for healthy periods and hormone health? In this episode, I dive into who might benefit from seed cycling, the primary nutrients involved and easy ways you can vary the seeds in your life to get all the benefits.
Mentioned in this episode: PMID: 19337250 and PMID: 25829567
Thanks to 88 Acres for sponsoring this episode.
So how do you make something like seed cycling, which is essentially diversifying your mineral and fatty acid intake for improving hormone health, easy to do every day? This is one of the many reasons I recommend and use 88 Acres, a woman owned company founded by Nicole Ledoux that grew up on an 88 acre farm outside of Boston. 88 Acres makes makes seed butters, bars, seed’nola and salad dressings from whole food ingredients and a commitment to ingredient sourcing. Sunflower, watermelon, pumpkin and flax seeds make up the backbone of their products and by throwing one of their delish double choc or triple berry bars into your bag and eating roasted pumpkin seed butter by the spoonful for an afternoon snack, now you’re seed cycling.
Not only that, 88 Acres is a small team that cares about its customers and community. Instead of relying on a larger manufacturer like most food companies to prepare and package their recipes, 88 Acres maintains full quality control in their allergen free facility so they can ensure zero product waste and create jobs in their community. I love the little extras they add into their boxes and I know you’ll love them too. To check out their variety packs to support your seed cycling and my favorite 88 Acres products with a discount, head over to seeds.88acres.com/lessstressed. If you’re a health practitioner, don’t forget to join the 88 Acres Nutrition Collaborative.
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Christa : (00:00)
This episode is sponsored by 88 acres. I love stocking my pantry with the delicious thoughtfully crafted seed bars and seed butters from 88 acres. That also just happened to be free of common food allergens in their commitment to high quality ingredients, sourcing to get a discount on your order and a list of my favorite 88 acres products, head over to seeds dot 88 acres.com forward slash less stress that's seeds dot idiot, acres.com forward slash less stressed. And that'll be in the show notes as well. Let's talk about something that I see as kind of a trendy topic and women's health circles, which is seed cycling for hormone health seed cycling is basically a practice or think about it as a ritual of eating specific seeds. And then those seeds have nutrients that support different hormones of the menstrual cycle, specifically estrogen and progesterone. Typically, usually it's a rotation of flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and Sesame street seeds.
Christa : (01:06)
And by doing a variety of different seeds, we're getting nutrients, different nutrients from different seeds. So let's back up and talk about why someone would care about or benefit from seed cycling, which is a fancy way of saying eat different seeds for different nutrients. So here are some things that it might help with. You can support or having a very nice hormone cycle because of the anti-inflammatory fatty acids and nutrients from the seeds. If you have signs of estrogen excess often called estrogen dominance, that might look like blood clots in your period, breast tenderness, heavy flow, maybe moodiness, or having PMs symptoms, you might benefit from those essential fatty acids and the lignans that help pull estrogen out. You might also benefit from seed cycling in peri-menopause because in perimenopause you need a very anti-inflammatory approach because perimenopause is like reverse puberty. So inflammation reduction basically makes that transition easier.
Christa : (02:12)
And in a similar way, seed cycling might help support the transition off hormonal birth control because any kinds of major swings in hormones, which is essentially what happens when some people come off of hormonal birth control, and they're not really equipped to kind of metabolize and help clear things, it can be a little less awesome. Um, and there's there's nutrients that can become deficient. So essentially anything that can help reduce inflammation and support nutrients, especially ones that kind of replete nutrients that are are made deficient by birth control can help transition. So those are a few potential benefits you might see just by adding this variety of seeds to your diet. Now, there are many sources out that say that you should do a T tablespoon of ground flax and a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds in the follicular phase, or basically the first half of your phase, and then a tablespoon of Sesame seeds and a tablespoon of sunflower seeds later in your face.
Christa : (03:14)
But if you would pull all of my hormone, practicing friends or my colleagues that practice in our hormone health, I think we all pretty much agree that we're just more interested in people changing up their seeds and doing it throughout their cycle and not really getting obsessed into what phase it is. We're looking for micronutrients and certain minerals from the seeds and really those essential fatty acids. But let's talk about the superstars, which are kind of the fiber and the lignans and the fiber and the lignans help bind to and eliminate excess estrogen. But let's back up. What's a lignin. The greatest source of lignins is flax seeds and Sesame seeds and lignans are a polyphenol, which is kind of in the antioxidant family and kind of acts like a fiber and the fiber and lignans again in the seeds help bind to and eliminate excess it estrogen, especially the kind that's going down the wrong pathway.
Christa : (04:15)
In fact, in PMI D PubNet ID one nine three three seven two five zero lignans have been found to potentially reduce, uh, post-menopausal breast cancer risk. And there are some other studies about this as well, but essentially what it's doing is grabbing this is why flax is an important recommendation for estrogen going down the cancerous pathway or the negative pathway, which is very much associated with very negative symptoms. Those very negative symptoms of excess estrogen. So for OHS region, that is the cancerous pathway breast and cervical cancer. And so we can push that down a more appropriate, the good estrogen pathway by using these flats. The lignans found in flax and Sesame seeds and also the other seeds, but it's mostly flax and Sesame, uh, in PMI D two five eight two nine five six seven fiber and lignans helped bind and eliminate that excess estrogen.
Christa : (05:04)
That's where you actually find that you might want to know that if you go to pub med, which is the researcher pository and just look up seed cycling, I think at seed cycling, you're really only going to pull up this article. So in order to find data for seed cycling, you have to go and look at the nutrients related to the seeds and kind of look like that. So we're looking for zinc magnesium. So in pumpkin seeds alone, zinc and magnesium are extremely nutrient dense and magnesium and magnesium and zinc, um, are really helpful for helping regulate blood sugar, um, period pain, um, and even hirsutism, which is hair growth in places where you don't want it from excess estrogen. Zinc is really important for promoting healthy ovulation and progesterone production, which is why, uh, when you see different articles about seeds, likely they will talk about pumpkin seeds and whatnot being really into progesterone production.
Christa : (06:00)
It's really how it's really the, just the nutrients and seeds are the richest source of some of these minerals. Anytime I see these minerals low on micronutrient testing, I'm usually going to recommend seeds as the best food-based source seeds are also rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin E and selenium, which overall support reproduction egg health majorly, because antioxidants are huge for egg health. Um, basically the, the fatty acid layer. It's, they're huge for like eye health. And not that we're talking about iHealth eye and skin health, and then selenium is really important, really, really important for thyroid health as well. Another cool thing is that seeds are basically a source of fat and a little bit of protein. And so they're really good for minimizing the impact on blood sugar or having stable blood sugar. And that is a key component of overall managing hormone health.
Christa : (06:51)
So my favorite thing about foods and even herbs is that usually when you add one thing, it should have a domino effect in multiple areas. So let's review how to seed cycle. I mentioned this a little bit before, but if you've heard of seed cycling, you may have heard of using those specific seeds during specific phases of your cycle, or that they have to be raw. I'm really a simplified person, a simplifying person versus a complicating person. And I think getting wrapped up in the type of seed and how long could actually just cause more stress and anxiety over complicate things and seed cycling is just this trendy way to say, use some darn seeds for those essential fatty acids and fiber. We're kind of boring people. We eat the same thing over and over, uh, with our nutrients. And so if we cycle basically an easy way to do this is fill a jar, a small Mason jar with one of these four seeds, pumpkin Sesame, flax, and sunflower.
Christa : (07:44)
And then when that jar is empty, move to another jar, you could just fill all four jars with these move to another jar and like, change that up and add it to your morning routine. Maybe we're going to grind it, put it on your yogurt. Are you gonna put it in your smoothie or something? I think just adding it to you. The first thing that you consume in the day is the easiest way to get it done or put it on your desk and some of those, right, the pumpkin and sunflower, for sure. They're a great, and you could just alternate those two for your snack jar and like put it on your desk. That can be a great thing to have a handful every day, like afternoon or evening, and then refill with the alternate version. If you're fancy, you could make crackers made out of seeds.
Christa : (08:21)
Um, they actually have those as well. Flackers, I'm not sponsored there and I'll talk about some other, I of course love the add crossbars that sponsored this episode. And then you could put the seeds on top of salads, or even on top of like a sauteed vegetables. You could put them in your favorite granola recipe or put them on top of oatmeal for a nice crunch. Um, I've talked about seed butters from 88 acres. There are some other brands, but not very many, and they make some of the best ones and you don't have to stick to just flax seeds, pumpkin, sunflower, and Sesame. You can also try chia, watermelon seeds and roasted squashes. I know those don't that common, but ADA diggers makes those and a sun or any watermelon seed butter. And you can also make a mix with different nuts, like walnuts, Brazil, nuts, et cetera.
Christa : (09:03)
So the point of this podcast is let's increase those lignans, which are rich in flax and Sesame seeds to pull that estrogen out, especially if you have excess estrogen symptoms and increase our seeds to promote magnesium and zinc, which will promote progesterone production. And everyone wants more progesterone, which makes you happy and just change it up, fill a jar, rotate it around. And it's a simple thing you can do that can actually go a long way in making for better cycles and better hormone health. Make sure you do your girlfriend a favor and share this episode with her screenshot while you're listening to it, share it on Instagram and tag me at anti-inflammatory nutritionist or drop me a SpeakPipe message [email protected] And let me know if you've tried seed cycling and what you've seen as a result. So how do you make something like seed cycling, which is again, essentially diversifying your mineral and fatty acid intake for improving hormone health, easy to do every day?
Christa : (10:01)
Well, this is one of the many reasons I recommend and use 88 acres. A women owned company founded by Nicola du that grew up on an 88 acre farm outside of Boston. 88 acres makes seed butters, granola, or seed bars, seed NOLA, and salad dressings from whole food ingredients and has a commitment to ingredient sourcing some flour, watermelon, pumpkin, and flax seeds make up the backbone of their products. And by throwing one of their delicious double chocolate or triple Berry bars into your bag and eating roasted pumpkin seed butter by the spoonful for an afternoon snack. Now your seat cycling, not only that 88 acres is a small team that cares about its customers and community. Instead of relying on a large manufacturer, like most food companies to prepare and package their recipes. 88 acres maintains full quality control in their allergen free facility. So they can ensure zero product waste and create jobs in their community. I love the little extras they add into their boxes, and I know you'll love them too, to check out their variety packs, to support your seats cycling and my favorite 88 acres products with a discount head over to seeds dot 88 acres.com forward slash less stressed. If you're a health practitioner, don't forget to join the eight acres nutrition collaborative.
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