Seed Cycling for Acne, Energy Bite Recipe Included

Eating specific seeds throughout your menstrual cycle is thought to balance hormones which can improve hormonal acne. Seed cycling includes eating pumpkin and flax seeds during the follicular phase and sesame and sunflower seeds during the luteal phase. Recipes included for energy bites to make seed cycling for acne easy and delicious.

Pumpkin and Flax seed bites seed cycling for acne

Menstrual Cycle Review

The menstrual cycle has four phases: menses, follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase.

  • Menses: day one is the start of your period. A normal period is usually three to seven days. It is the shedding of the uterine lining.
  • Follicular phase: includes menses and lasts until ovulation starts. During this phase, estrogen and follicle-stimulation hormone (FSH) levels rise and lead to the thickening of your uterine lining and a mature egg.  
  • Ovulation: usually occurs around day 14. Luteinizing hormone (LH) increases and causes the ovary to release the mature egg.
  • Luteal phase: usually lasts day 15 to 28. The released egg travels to the uterus. Progesterone levels rise to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, then estrogen and progesterone levels decrease and menses will occur.

Hormonal Acne

If your hormone levels don’t increase and decrease as they are meant to during the different phases, then it can cause hormone imbalances that can lead to hormonal acne. Stress and lack of sleep also contribute to hormonal acne.

If you tend to breakout around the same time each month or when you are stressed, and it appears primarily along your jawline and chin, then it is likely hormonal acne.

I was on birth control pills for over 10 years and had small, manageable breakouts around my period. When I decided to stop birth control, my face broke out all over my jawline, chin, and cheeks with painful pimples that I could not get cleared.

Hormonal Acne Treatment

A dermatologist can appropriately diagnosis the cause of your acne and prescribe medications to clear your skin. Estheticians can help determine a skincare routine that works for your skin type. Diet plays a role in your skin as well. A review study found that diets higher in sugar can aggravate acne. Eating an omega-3 fatty acid rich diet may improve acne.

Since I could not control my acne after I stopped birth control, I saw a dermatologist who prescribed medications that eventually cleared up my skin. Getting facials from an esthetician also helped. I still breakout around my period and I would prefer not to have to use prescription medications for my skin long term. I read about seed cycling and as a dietitian, I love the idea that food could possibly clear my skin.

What is Seed Cycling?

Seed cycling involves eating certain seeds during the menstrual phases to try to balance hormone levels and prevent acne. Ground seeds are recommended for better absorption. A coffee grinder can finely grind the small seeds.

During the follicular phase (day 1-14):

  • Take 1 tablespoon each of pumpkin and flax seeds

Flax seeds are high in lignans, which can bind to excess estrogen (1). Pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, which can help support the start of progesterone production for the luteal phase (2).

During the luteal phase (day 15-28):

  • Take 1 tablespoon each of sesame and sunflower seeds.  

Sesame seeds contain lignans, which can block excess estrogen levels. Sesame seeds are also high in zinc to promote progesterone production. Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, which supports healthy progesterone levels (3), and high in selenium, which can help the liver clear out excess estrogen (4).

pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds

Does Seed Cycling for Acne Work?

There is one study from 1993 that had 18 women take flax seeds and monitored their menstrual cycles and hormone levels. The authors suggest that lignans play a role in hormone levels. I could not find a study looking at all four seeds for seed cycling and their role in hormone levels in the menstrual cycle.

Even though there isn’t research to firmly say seed cycling will clear hormonal acne, it is a simple intervention that doesn’t have negative side effects. It isn’t a medication. You eat seeds that have several known health benefits so there is no harm in trying it out. Seeds are good sources of fiber, which helps you feel full longer, stabilize blood sugar levels, have regular bowel movements, and lower cholesterol levels. The rest of your diet will have an impact on your acne as well. You can’t count on seed cycling to clear your acne if you aren’t eating a diet that provides nutrients your body needs. Focus on eating lean protein sources, a variety of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and healthy fats.The addition of these seeds to a healthy and balanced diet my help your hormonal acne.

Seed cycling can start while taking medications for acne. Consult your doctor before stopping any medications.

How to Try Seed Cycling for Acne

There are many different ways to add seeds to your diet. You can add seeds to:

  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Salads
  • Energy bites

The easiest way for me to incorporate seeds in my diet is to make energy bites. I enjoy one with my breakfast. The bites can also be flattened in muffin cups with melted chocolate added on top for a delightful sweet treat.

seed cycling for acne chocolate bites

One energy bite has about one tablespoon of each seed. Eat one bite daily to get the recommended amount of seeds for seed cycling. The pumpkin and flax seed bites are for your follicular phase and the sesame and sunflower seed bites are for your luteal phase. I really enjoy the pumpkin and flax seed bites as they have a sweet flavor with the dates.

These energy bites are also a great way to get in extra fiber. The pumpkin and flax seed bites have 3 g fiber and 2.5 g protein. The sesame and sunflower bites have 2 g fiber and 2 g protein.  

Ingredients

Follicular Phase: Pumpkin and Flax Seed Bites

  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds, raw, shelled
  • ½ cup flax seeds
  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted

Luteal Phase: Sesame and Sunflower Seed Bites

  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds, raw, shelled
  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted

Chocolate and olive oil (optional to make chocolate seed bites)

How to Make Seed Cycling for Acne Energy Bites

It is recommended to eat ground seeds for seed cycling for better absorption. A food processor won’t finely ground the small seeds. A coffee grinder can be used to finely ground seeds. I have made these energy bites with ground seeds and whole seeds and both ways taste good. When I want to save time, I skip the grinder.

Follicular Phase: Pumpkin and Flax Seed Bites

In a food processor, add pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and dates. Blend for about 3 minutes or until mixture can easily be formed into balls and does not crumble.

Use a tablespoon to scoop mixture, then roll to form a ball in hands. Yields 14 balls. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Luteal Phase: Sesame and Sunflower Seed Bites

In a food processor, add sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and dates. Blend for about 3 minutes or until mixture can easily be formed into balls and does not crumble.

Use a tablespoon to scoop mixture, then roll to form a ball in hands. Yields 14 balls. Freeze for 30 minutes.

To make chocolate covered bites: Prior to freezing, flatten balls in muffin cups. Silicon muffin cups make it easier to remove. Freeze for at least 30 minutes. In a microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup chocolate chips with 1 tsp. olive oil by microwaving in 30 second increments. Stir each time.

How to Store

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Energy bites freeze well. I usually make more than one recipe at a time to have energy bites ready to go in the freezer.

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Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.

Pumpkin and Flax seed bites seed cycling for acne

Seed Cycling Energy Bites

Pumpkin and flax seed bites for the follicular phase. Sesame and sunflower seed bites for the luteal phase.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Freeze 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 28
Calories 96 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 food processor

Ingredients
  

Follicular Phase

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, raw, shelled
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds
  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted

Luteal Phase

  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, raw, shelled
  • 15 Medjool dates, pitted

Chocolate Bites

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp. olive oil

Instructions
 

Follicular Phase: Pumpkin and Flax Seed Bites

  • In a food processor, add pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and dates. Blend for about 3 minutes or until mixture can easily be formed into balls and does not crumble.
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop mixture, then roll to form a ball in hands. Yields 14 balls. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Luteal Phase: Sesame and Sunflower Seed Bites

  • In a food processor, add sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and dates. Blend for about 3 minutes or until mixture can easily be formed into balls and does not crumble.
  • Use a tablespoon to scoop mixture, then roll to form a ball in hands. Yields 14 balls. Freeze for 30 minutes.

To make chocolate covered bites:

  • Prior to freezing, flatten balls in muffin cups. Silicon muffin cups make it easier to remove. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate chips and olive oil. Microwave in 30 second increments. Stir each time.
  • Pour over seeds bites. Freeze for 30 minutes.

Notes

  • Nutrition information for pumpkin and flax seed bites (without chocolate): 96 calories, 2.5 g protein, 13 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 4.5 g fat; (with chocolate) 161 calories, 3 g protein, 21 g carbs, 3.5 g fiber, 9 f fat
 
  • Nutrition information for sesame and sunflower seed bites (without chocolate): 98 calories, 2 g protein, 12.5 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 5 g fat; (with chocolate) 163 calories, 2.5 g protein, 21 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 9 g fat.
 
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy only. This information comes from online calculators. Figures are only estimates.

Nutrition

Calories: 96kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2.5gFat: 4.5gFiber: 3g
Keyword energy ball, energy bites, seed cycling
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