Sorry I Ovary-acted.
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Every woman that is living in today's environment deals with a bombardment of environmental toxins that are driving hormones crazy. It is not just the environment, however, that is driving hormones bonkers-- it also could be your lifestyle. Chronic stress, use of birth control pills, a diet high in refined sugar, and a lack of exercise are all participating factors for problems with hormonal balance and these imbalances that are leading to an extreme version of PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD comes with the physical symptoms of PMS, but with a more severe emotional component that can include symptoms like severe mood swings, irritability and depressive and suicidal thoughts that reoccur monthly.
Researchers are still investigating the exact mechanism of PMDD, but have generally accepted that it is caused by a drop in levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, causing a shift in mood. Serotonin is a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for feelings of well being and happiness.
Many doctors and members of the medical community would recommend using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI's), which may be appropriate in some severe cases. However, naturopathic doctors are starting to promote more of a holistic approach to balancing hormones. One, in particular, that has piqued a lot of interest within the health and wellness community is a method called seed cycling.
Seed cycling is a natural method to support your hormones during the two stages of your menstrual cycle utilizing the nutrients found in seeds. By increasing estrogen in the first phase and progesterone in the second, seed cycling can help relieve PMDD, PMS, increase fertility, ease pain from conditions like ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and PCOS, and regulate irregular cycles. It can be effective for women who are menstruating, pre-menopause, postpartum, and post-menopause.
FOLLICULAR PHASE begins on the first day of menstruation.
Estrogen levels start low and steadily increase to prepare for ovulation. To keep estrogen levels in balance, we cycle with flax seeds that contain phytoestrogens which adapt to the body’s estrogen needs during this phase. If estrogen levels get too high, the lignans in the flax seeds can bind to the excess so it can be eliminated from the body. We also cycle with pumpkin seeds, which are high in zinc to support progesterone. Pumpkin seeds have a ton of tryptophan in them which help support healthy serotonin levels.
LUTEAL PHASE begins the day after ovulation
This phase is brought on by a sudden drop in estrogen right after ovulation. Progesterone levels begin to steadily rise to thicken the uterine lining. Estrogen also increases here to prepare for the menstrual cycle, but if estrogen gets too high PMS symptoms and painful periods can occur. Progesterone is the hormone that keeps estrogen in check, so the focus here is to encourage the body to make progesterone.
During this phase, we cycle with sesame seeds, which are high in zinc and selenium and block excess estrogen, all essential for hormone balance. We also cycle with sunflower seeds, which are high in vitamin E and selenium to support progesterone levels.
In addition to the seeds, the following herbs and adaptogens are recommended during both of the luteal and follicular phases of the menstrual cycle:
NETTLE: Nettle is a blood-purifier because it supports the liver and kidneys, while gently detoxing the body. Nettle helps to decrease heavy menstrual flow by making your period lighter and reducing the severity of cramps. It increases milk supply for nursing women, supports the adrenals, and supports the thyroid gland.
ASHWAGANDHA: Everyone knows the lovely symptoms associated with PMS! Ashwagandha helps to boost mood, prevents fatigue, irritability, mood swings, and anxiety by nourishing the adrenals and thyroid.
HOLY BASIL: Holy basil contains iron, which can help lower stress. It may also help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, bloating, irritability, and reduce anxiety. It also may help control blood sugar levels.
NUTRITIONAL YEAST: Nutritional yeast is chock-full of B vitamins, which help reduce stress, nervousness, and PMS symptoms.
HIMALAYAN SALT: We are all too familiar with the salty food cravings associated with PMS. Therefore, the nutrient-dense pink Himalayan Salt is recommended because it is rich in trace minerals potassium, calcium, and iron; helping the body get rid of the excess water retention associated with PMS symptoms.