We always thought PMS was just a fact of life—about a week before our period, we’re bloated, crampy and generally blah. But Alisa Vitti, holistic health coach and best-selling author of WomanCode, has completely blown our minds. She maintains that by using a hormone-balancing technique called “seed cycling,” you can reduce the pain, bloating and overall ickiness of getting your period. Here’s how it works.
What exactly is seed cycling? Seed cycling is the holistic process of eating a rotation of different types of seeds (think pumpkin, flax, sesame and sunflower) during the different phases of your menstrual cycle.
And how does it work? According to Vitti, flaxseeds contain lignans, which bind to excess estrogen, and pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which helps boost progesterone production. Sesame seeds also contain lignans that bind to excess estrogen, while sunflower seeds are rich in selenium to support the liver.
OK, but does it actually work? Seed cycling is a holistic practice, so most traditional doctors aren't on board with it. A few studies have been conducted about the effects of seed cycling, but none have been comprehensive or recent enough to fully convince us. But if you've tried everything and your PMS is driving you nuts, there's no harm in incorporating a few extra seeds into your diet (as long as you're not allergic to them, of course) to see if you notice any positive changes.