Seed Cycling Sour Cherry & Molasses Granola
Although Seed Cycling may sound like your new favorite Saturday morning spin class, it’s actually a hormonal balancing plan that has gained a loyal following over the past few years. Naturopaths and nutritionists around the globe are recommending seed cycling for females looking to holistically balance their hormones. The basics around seed cycling are simple: support optimal hormonal balance by incorporating seeds into the diet that house specific nutrients and fatty acids to equalize the female endocrine system.
Okay, why should I Seed Cycle?
Seed Cycling is a gentle approach that divides a woman's menstrual cycle into two phases: the follicular and luteal phase. The follicular phase typically lasts about 14 days, starting on the first day of menstruation and the luteal follows, continuing until menstruation begins. The follicular phase of a woman’s cycle is primarily dominated by the production of estrogen, whereas the luteal phase is dominated by progesterone. Many factors affect the delicate balance of hormones in a woman’s body, such as puberty, menopause, stress, stopped usage of hormonal birth control, and certain environmental toxins.
In Seed Cycling, the nutritional components of each seed help support the body’s production and regulation of naturally occurring hormones during the menstrual cycle. Proponents of this method see benefits ranging from balanced hormone levels, PMS / perimenopause symptom relief, regulated menstruation and support to the body in healing more severe conditions like ovarian cysts, PCOS and endometriosis. Additionally, balanced hormone levels may help combat hormonal acne, fatigue, sleep issues, and infertility.
Which seeds do I cycle?
Flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds are recommended during Seed Cycling. Each houses a specific nutritional purpose during the two phases of the hormonal cycle.
Flax - Phytoestrogens in flax are plant-based sources of estrogen that adapt to the body’s estrogen levels and bind to estrogen receptors in the cells. This will either encourage or discourage estrogen production based on what is most needed in the body.
Pumpkin - Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc and omega 3 fatty acids which prepares the body for the progesterone secretion in the next phase.
Sesame & Sunflower Seeds - Progesterone producing foods are helpful post-ovulation. Both Sunflower and sesame seeds are ideal for this, primarily due to their high concentrations of zinc and vitamin E. Sunflower seeds are particularly recommended for their selenium concentrations, which supports liver function to help release excess hormones from the body.
How To Start + Tips
The easiest way I’ve found to seed cycle is to integrate the seeds into my life as it is now. Meaning, I add them to foods I already love and eat regularly. Adding seeds to granola, on top of overnight oats, salads, and soups, blending them into smoothies or making seed butter are all great options. But this crunchy granola recipe is one of my favorites. It’s easy to adapt for each phase of Seed Cycling and the added brazil nuts, blackstrap molasses and high levels of omega 3 (thanks walnuts) offer even more support during your cycle!
When choosing seeds, always opt for raw and organic to maintain their medicinal properties. Store seeds and granola in a cool dark place to prevent oxidation of fats and oils. Have fun and happy cycling!
Seed Cycling Sour Cherry & Molasses Granola
Cook time: 40 Minutes
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup chopped brazil nuts
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup blackstrap molasses
- 1 teaspoon (or more) kosher salt
- 2 cups seeds, such as pumpkin seeds (pepitas), sunflower seeds, sesame seeds or flaxseeds (can vary depending on which phase you’re in
- ½ cup cacao nibs
- 1 ½ cups dried sour cherries
- Preheat oven to 300°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss oats, spices and nuts in a large bowl. Add oil, syrup and molasses and stir until nicely coated. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt.
- Scrape onto prepared sheet in a thin ½ inch layer, reserving bowl, and bake, stirring and rotating sheet from front to back every 10–15 minutes, until golden brown, 25–35 minutes.
- Let granola cool 5 minutes, then carefully transfer to bowl with seeds of choice, cacao nibs and dried cherries, reserving baking sheet.
- Toss well to combine, then transfer back to sheet and let cool completely (granola will crisp as it cools). Taste and season with more salt, if desired.
- Do Ahead: Granola can be made 2 weeks ahead; store airtight at room temperature, or freeze up to 3 months. You can batch make the granola and add your fresh seeds as needed.
1. Ledger WL. Menstrual cycle and ovulation. Oxford Medicine Online. 2011. doi:10.1093/med/9780199235292.003.0809.
2. Brighten J. How To Use Seed Cycling To Balance Menopausal Hormones. Dr. Jolene Brighten. https://drbrighten.com/seed-cycling-menopausal-hormones/. Published February 7, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018.
3. Higdon J. Lignans. Linus Pauling Institute. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/phytochemicals/lignans#metabolism-bioavailability. Published January 1, 2018. Accessed October 4, 2018.
4. Phipps WR. Effect of flax seed ingestion on the menstrual cycle. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 1993;77(5):1215-1219. doi:10.1210/jc.77.5.1215.
5. Richter D, Abarzua S, Chrobak M, et al. Effects of phytoestrogen extracts isolated from pumpkin seeds on estradiol production and ER/PR expression in breast cancer and trophoblast tumor cells. Nutr Cancer. 2013;65(5):739-45.