Rotate Your Nuts & Seeds For Hormone Supportive Benefits!
Nuts and seeds are nutritional powerhouses packed with essential amino acids (protein), vitamins, minerals, and fats to support our brain and hormone health. But did you know that rotating your nuts and seeds will help prevent the development of allergies and sensitivities? PLUS: you get a lot more bang for your buck (by making them last)! In this blog, we break down the health benefits of specific seeds + nuts and provide tips for buying / preparing them.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF SEEDS:
Regularly consuming seeds is a wonderful 'hormone supportive' practice (at ANY age), and there are many wonderful ways to incorporate them into your meal and snack time rituals. Seeds are also a safe food for those with nut allergies and sensitivities!
Now you may be wondering if we're proponents of "seed cycling," which is the practice of rotating 4 seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower) during specific phases of the menstrual cycle, which has grown in popularity over the last few years (with many brands marketing expensive seed blends as a solution to hormone imbalance). Although we don't consider seed cycling to be a necessarily "harmful" practice, there is no substantial evidence proving that eating seeds only at specific times in your cycle is particularly beneficial.
And although many women DO report positive improvements in their cycle after incorporating the practice of seed cycling, it’s possible that some of those benefits come from eating MORE seeds in general, paired with other health-conscious practices (like cycle syncing, blood sugar balancing nutrition, etc.).
According to herbalist Aviva Romm, “our bodies tightly regulate how nutrients are utilized, and additionally, nutrient stores accumulate over time, and usually necessitate larger quantities and longer time frames of regular use than occur in the seed cycling protocol.”
(Watch our recent reel HERE for our full take on seed cycling).
The bottom line: seeds are nutritional POWERhouses, with high levels of micronutrients and fatty acids that have been shown to positively impact overall health, including relieving menstrual cycle related symptoms / PMS (as they can support healthy estrogen + progesterone levels). Here are some of our favorites:
✔️ Sesame seeds contain lignans, a type of plant compound that can mimic the activity of estrogen in the body (known as a "phytoestrogen") and help adapt to the individual's needs. For women in menopause, they may help regulate estrogen and reduce symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. They’re rich in zinc, a mineral that boosts testosterone and may improve fertility in both men and women. Sprinkle on top of salads, stir-fries, roasted vegetables and baked goods!
✔️ Flax seeds: include 1-2 TBS of fresh ground flax seeds daily to increase your fiber and anti-inflammatory fat content! If you deal with constipation or just want to more regular bowel movements (BMs), this is a very effective approach. It's also important to note that regular BM's are crucial for supporting liver detoxification which plays a huge role in optimal hormone balance (especially estrogen detoxification). Mix ground flax into your overnight oats and yogurt bowls or enjoy in cracker form like this. We also LOVE this creamy, (oil and gum free) organic flax milk by @malibumylk! Use it in your superfood smoothies and lattes for a delicious alternative to oat or almond milk.
✔️ Pumpkin seeds are one of the densest sources of zinc to support a healthy sex drive, stamina and ovulation! Additionally, these seeds are a fab source of magnesium for improved sleep and reduced anxiety. Eat them as a snack, add to your oats or bake into superfood cookies or crackers. Pumpkin seed butter is also delicious on toast as a nut butter alternative.
✔️ Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and support overall hormonal health (chronic inflammation is a key driver of imbalance). Also, these seeds are one of the best plant sources of fiber (11 grams per ounce), which is essential for estrogen detoxification and healthy BM’s. Add to smoothies or puddings, sprinkle on top of yogurt or oatmeal, or use as a vegan egg substitute in baking. PRO TIP: blend them to improve digestion!
TIPS FOR OPTIMAL SEED CONSUMPTION:
1. GRIND YOUR SEEDS
Use a coffee or spice grinder to grind your seeds which helps your body better digest and absorb them (essential for flax seeds). You can also purchase them pre-ground which is more expensive but removes that extra step. PRO TIP: grind 1-2 week's worth of seeds and store them in mason jars in the fridge!
2. USE RAW SEEDS
It’s ideal to use organic, raw (unroasted, unsalted) seeds to make sure all nutrients remain intact. Going organic reduces pesticide exposure (which is a hormone disruptor) .
3. STORE IN THE FRIDGE OR FREEZER
The polyunsaturated fats in seeds can go rancid quickly, especially if not stored in a cool dark place like the fridge or freezer.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF NUTS:
✔️ Brazil nuts are one of the most optimal dietary sources of selenium, a mineral that plays a critical role in thyroid hormone production and metabolism. 2 organic Brazil nuts a day can help you meet the recommended daily value. Pop them in your mouth, add to a smoothie or trail mix!
✔️ Cashews are high in magnesium, which can improve PMS, sleep and relaxation. They also contain tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin, our “feel good” neurotransmitter, so they’re a great addition to your mood boosting toolkit! Turn them into a plant-based milk or butter, add to stir-fries or enjoy as a snack.
✔️ Macadamia Nuts contain palmitoleic acid (omega-7 fatty acids), sea buckthorn oil, and avocado oil which are wonderful for hair, skin and nails and may even improve skin elasticity and appearance! These anti-inflammatory fats are also extremely beneficial for hormone production and brain function! They're delicious eaten alone as a snack, mixed into a superfood yogurt bowl or enjoyed as a milk.
✔️ Almonds: the anti-inflammatory fats in almonds can improve insulin sensitivity to better regulate blood sugar levels and they're packed with fiber to keep you feeling fuller for longer! Note: Almonds are crops that require a substantial amount of water year-round which clashes with the worsening droughts tied to climate change. For this reason, we recommend being mindful of your consumption (especially almond milk) and rotating with other nuts and seeds (remember, macadamia and flax milks are amazing alternatives).
✔️ Walnuts are rich sources of nutrients and antioxidants that can improve memory and concentration. Walnut oil is high in omega 3 fats which makes it amazing to cook with AND it can be used at high heat, unlike olive oil which can go rancid. Use your walnuts in a root veggie bowl or salad, as a butter on top of toast or in oil form for roasting veggies and cooking your favorite meat and seafood dishes.
PSA: not everyone can handle nuts and/or seeds so it’s important that you determine which ones work best for you. One of the easiest ways to do this is by experimenting with them via weekly rotation (unless you have an allergy).
Which of these nuts and seeds will you be rotating this week?
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