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Eating seeds against menstrual cycle complaints, how does that work?

  1. The menstrual cycle can cause various complaints. Not every woman wants to fall back on synthetic hormones. It is therefore not surprising that alternatives are being sought. Eating certain seeds, which have specific properties or substances, is an alternative that some women seem to be using successfully. Eating certain seeds is called 'seed cycling' in English and is within everyone's reach. What properties do these seeds have and how exactly does the rotation of seeds work?

'Seed cycling' for menstrual cycle complaints

  1. Women's complaints due to hormonal fluctuations or imbalance can be particularly disabling, disrupt the working day and disrupt social life. Suppressing their own hormones with synthetic hormones is not the right way for everyone. An alternative that some women seem to be using successfully is to eat seeds that are high in phytoestrogens at intervals. Phytoestrogens are natural estrogens from plants and seeds.

The two phases of the menstrual cycle

  1. Hormonally, the menstrual cycle is divided into two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase. The hormones involved are fine-tuned and interact with each other during these phases of the menstrual cycle. Disruption of that balance can lead to all kinds of physical and mental problems. Seed cycling (eating seeds with specific properties that influence the hormones) plays on the role of the various hormones during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. This assumes an average menstrual cycle of 28 days. This can of course differ individually. Phase 1 lasts from the first day of menstruation to day 15. Phase II lasts from day 15 to day 29. The rotation schedule can easily be adjusted accordingly, depending on the time of ovulation.

Follicular phase

  1. In the follicular phase, the body does everything it can to produce a mature egg. Estrogen plays the leading role in this phase. The follicular hormone (otherwise FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (further LH) are also important hormones. Progesterone is also on the rise, but is still taking part in the background. The body is preparing for a possible pregnancy. The LH hormone peaks at the end of this phase. Ovulation follows or ovulation. This is the stage when a mature egg is delivered by one of the two ovaries to be fertilized. This phase begins with the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation (ovulation).

Luteal phase

  1. In the luteal phase, the body does everything it can to get a fertilized egg to implant safely in the endometrium. The hormone progesterone plays a major role in this phase. Menstruation, which is the time during which an unfertilized egg is removed together with the endometrium, marks the end of this phase. Naturally, this phase is canceled during pregnancy. The luteal phase begins after ovulation and ends on the first day of menstruation.

Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance

  1. The body can produce too little or too much estrogen in phase I and II. The body can also produce too little or too much progesterone in phase I and phase II. Certain symptoms indicate this.

Phase I: Estrogen in the lead

  1. At the beginning of phase I - the follicular phase - the body has little estrogen and little progesterone. The body therefore receives a signal in phase I to start producing it. Especially the production of estrogen is encouraged. Obviously, estrogen and progesterone must be in balance with each other to prevent complaints and the body starts to produce some progesterone. Too much estrogen means too little progesterone. Too much progesterone means too little estrogen. You can see the balance as communicating vessels.

Why linseed?

  1. Linseed works both estrogen and anti-estrogen. It can replace the body's own estrogen and activate cell receptors. As a result, excess estrogen that the body has produced itself is blocked. This is the anti-estrogenic effect. It can also replenish estrogen deficiency. During phase I, the body mainly needs estrogen, because that hormone ensures the production of LH and FSH. LH causes ovulation at the end of phase I. FSH ensures the ripening of an egg. Insufficient estrogen has a direct influence on the production of LH and FSH. Too little LH and FSH will affect the delivery of a mature egg and ovulation.

Why pumpkin seeds?

  1. Pumpkin seeds contain many anti-inflammatory omega-3s and can help against PMS complaints, such as headaches and sore breasts. Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc (10.3mg per 100g) and high in magnesium (534mg per 100g). Zinc helps the body prepare for the release of progesterone during phase II. It has an anti-inflammatory effect and can help against PMS complaints. Zinc can potentially increase blood flow to the uterus and thus help reduce cramps during menstruation. It aids in the production of progesterone. Too little magnesium can cause PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps. Uterine muscles relax with the help of magnesium. Magnesium can also provide relief for phase I related migraines

Why a fish oil supplement?

  1. During phase I a fish oil supplement can also be taken to support the process. Fish oil contains the omega 3's eicosapentaenoic acid (abbreviated to EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (abbreviated to DHA). EPA can help with menstrual cramps because it helps the muscles to relax. Fish oil also contains lignans found in flaxseed and has the same benefits.

Phase II: Progesterone in the lead

  1. In phase II (day 15 - day 28) - the luteal phase - it is recommended to eat the following seeds (one tablespoon per species per day):

Why sesame seeds?

  1. Sesame seeds contain lignans such as sesamin, magnesium and vitamins B6 and E. Magnesium is important for a good hormonal balance. Sesamin is a phytoestrogen. As a phytoestrogen, sesamin can replenish estrogen deficiency by mimicking it. It can also block excess estrogen. An excess of estrogen can cause all kinds of complaints, as already mentioned. Sesame seeds also contain zinc, selenium and a lot of vitamin B6. Zinc supports the production of progesterone. Vitamin E and B6 also support the production of progesterone. Selenium has a beneficial effect on the thyroid gland and can therefore help to relieve stress. Stress has an adverse effect on the cycle. Selenium also helps in the production of progesterone. Finally, vitamin B6 can help to relieve PMS complaints.

Why sunflower seeds?

  1. Sunflower seeds contain vitamin E (which promotes progesterone production) and selenium. Selenium supports liver function and helps keep hormones in balance. It prevents the functioning of the liver from being obstructed (clogged) by excess hormones and supports proper hormone secretion. These seeds contain a lot of omega 6. Omega 6 can provide pain relief. The gamma linolenic acid (abbreviated to GLA) is an omega 6 source and has an anti-inflammatory effect. It may be able to remedy premenstrual syndrome (PMS) complaints.

Why evening primrose capsules as a supplement?

  1. Evening primrose oil is high in omega 6 and is a good source of GLA. It can help relieve PMS complaints because of that GLA.

Processing the seeds

  1. Remove poison from seeds Nuts, legumes and seeds also naturally contain phytic acid. Phytic acid can hinder the absorption of other nutrients such as zinc. It is wise to reduce phytic acid as much as possible. This can be done by soaking seeds, nuts and legumes.

Use electric grinder

  1. There are handy electric grinders on the market that are used to grind coffee beans or chop herbs. They are ideal for grinding seeds into a powder. Why is this better? Seeds contain a lot of oil. They can quickly become rancid under the influence of the sun or higher temperatures. To avoid this, it is a good thing to buy unbroken seeds (such as unbroken flax seeds). Only through the grinding are the properties of the seeds released properly and the chance of becoming rancid has become virtually nil. Always use raw (unroasted), untreated, organic seeds, without salt or other additives. It is best to keep the seeds cool and dark and use immediately after grinding. Of course the seeds can be ground into a powder in a mortar, but that will take a while.


  1. Ground or soaked seeds can be added to smoothies, salads, soups and yoghurt for example. Only add the seed powder after cooking. Heating the seeds will not do any good for the substances present. Obviously, the intention is not to eat the seeds from phase I in phase II and vice versa. The body takes time to get into balance. A good indication is that the symptoms are decreasing. Many women notice improvement after three or four months, but some even sooner.

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