"Seed Cycling" Might Be the Key to Balancing Your Hormones



In my years as both a wellness writer and a full-time adult woman, I've come to the overarching (and pointedly vague) conclusion that hormones are… complicated. Putting aside the potential disruptors that are apparently hiding in seemingly innocuous things like nail polish and couch cushions, I personally can't even decide what I really think about hormonal birth control. When I finally opted to get an IUD a few years ago, I did so under the advisement of my doctor to combat some severe (and unprecedented) PMS symptoms I was experiencing. But while I've been feeling pretty great ever since, I've watched many of my friends replace their hormonal birth control for more natural methods after experiencing their own imbalances.

The point is that there really isn't a "right" approach to balancing our hormones. Finding what works for you isn't just a matter of trial and error but also knowing that it might not be the best solution one or five or 10 years from now. But while synthetic hormones can be incredibly helpful under certain circumstances—again, I'm living proof—you're also rolling the dice in terms of potential side effects. (I've had three friends get their IUDs removed thanks to cystic acne and/or crippling headaches.)

That's what makes the idea of balancing our hormones via natural methods so intriguing—and "seed cycling" is quickly gaining traction as a potential approach. "Seed cycling is the use of food as medicine to promote a woman's natural monthly hormonal cycle," explains Tara Nayak, ND, a naturopathic doctor who specializes in chronic illness, digestive issues, and hormonal balances.

While it's ultimately worth consulting your ob-gyn to address any adverse menstrual symptoms you're experiencing—and please note, this hormone-balancing method is not a substitute for birth control—seed cycling could be a great solution if you're looking to naturally target issues like mood swings, headaches, heavy periods, and breast tenderness without any pesky side effects. Read on to learn more about the technique and the science behind it.