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Debunking Seed Cycling: A Dietitian's Perspective

Hey there, I’m Jodie Relf, here to guide and empower you on your journey to managing PCOS with lifestyle changes at the helm—not restrictive diets. Ever heard of seed cycling? It's buzzing in wellness circles for its hormone-balancing claims. Let's dive into what it's all about and whether it's as magical as it sounds.

Seed cycling, touted as a naturopathic approach, involves consuming specific seeds at designated times during the menstrual cycle to purportedly balance hormones—mainly oestrogen and progesterone. While this method has gained popularity, it's essential to scrutinize its efficacy.


First off, let’s address the lack of research. Despite the claims, there's a shortage of scientific evidence validating the effectiveness of seed cycling. It's crucial to rely on evidence-based practices when addressing complex hormonal imbalances.


Now, don't get me wrong—seeds are powerhouses of nutrients and fibre, making them valuable additions to any diet. Different seeds offer distinct nutritional profiles, each contributing its unique benefits. For instance, flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, while pumpkin seeds boast magnesium and zinc.


As we explore the world of seeds, remember: while seed cycling's scientific backing is thin, the nutritional power of seeds is undeniable. I encourage you to sprinkle, blend, and bake these nutritional gems into your daily meals. Not just for their possible hormone-balancing benefits, but for their overall contribution to a healthy diet.

Here are some practical tips for incorporating a variety of seeds into your daily diet:


Sprinkle on Breakfast: Add a tablespoon of chia seeds or ground flaxseeds to your morning yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothie for an extra boost of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.


Top Your Salads: Sprinkle pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or sesame seeds on top of your salads for added crunch and nutrition. They also make a great alternative to croutons.


Blend into Dressings and Sauces: Incorporate hemp seeds or flaxseed oil into homemade salad dressings or sauces for a creamy texture and a dose of healthy fats.


Mix into Baked Goods: Include ground flaxseeds or chia seeds in your baking recipes for added moisture and nutritional benefits. They work well in muffins, pancakes, and bread.

Use as a Crunchy Coating: Crush up seeds like pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds and use them as a crunchy coating for baked chicken or fish instead of or mixed with breadcrumbs.


Add to Trail Mix: Create your own custom trail mix with a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Mix together almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries for a tasty and nutritious snack. Why not try my trail mix recipe.


Sprinkle on Stir-Fries: Toss sesame seeds or hemp seeds into stir-fries or Asian-inspired dishes for extra flavour and texture.


Blend into Smoothies: Incorporate a tablespoon of hemp seeds, chia seeds, or flaxseeds into your smoothies for added protein, fibre, and healthy fats.


Experiment with Seed Toppings: Get creative with seed toppings by sprinkling them over avocado toast, yogurt bowls, or even soups for an extra nutritional boost and texture variation.


Speaking of zinc, research suggests its potential in alleviating menstrual pain when consumed before menstruation. However, attributing this benefit solely to seed cycling overlooks the broader dietary context. Incorporating zinc-rich foods throughout the menstrual cycle, rather than confining intake to specific times, can be more practical and effective.


Furthermore, advocating for the rigid consumption of specific seeds at precise intervals adds unnecessary complexity to dietary recommendations. Simplifying nutrition advice fosters adherence and long-term success. Instead of fixating on timing and combinations, focus on overall seed consumption diversity yields comparable benefits without the added confusion.


In essence, the concept of seed cycling may seem appealing, but its scientific foundation is shaky at best. Rather than getting caught up in timing and combinations, prioritize incorporating a variety of seeds into your diet regularly. Embrace simplicity, embrace diversity, and let's navigate PCOS management with evidence-based strategies that truly make a difference.

Linwoods is one of my favourite brands for all varieties of seeds. As well as Munchy seeds who do a whole variety of amazing seed products, perfect for salad/soup toppers.


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Uncover the 3 simple, highly-effective steps used by myself and all my clients to improve their PCOS symptoms, regain their confidence and live a life they love with PCOS (without dieting). 

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