Men, you really don’t want to reduce your testosterone levels, especially as you age, so why risk it by eating the wrong foods? Yes, certain foods can actually adversely affect your T levels. It’s another thing to worry about, but thankfully, we’ve compiled the list for you so that you know what to avoid. By avoiding the following foods, exercising consistently and maintaining lean muscle mass/lower body fat percentage, you can even increase your levels naturally.
The Importance of Food for Hormone Health
The food you eat is the backbone of your health and future. Nutrition and the fuel you give your body day in, and day out will dictate how you feel each day. It’s not just how many calories you consume and whether this food will make you fat or not. Food gives energy to our cells so that they can work efficiently, properly and regenerate so that we do not age quicker than necessary. Not only this, but nutrition also affects the endocrine, or hormone, system, including testosterone levels.
The consumption of too much of a certain food can cause hormone imbalance or even make it more difficult for the body to utilize various hormones in the way the body needs them.
One of these important hormones is testosterone, which is need by both men and women. It’s a hormone that can increase lean muscle mass, bone mass, grow more body hair and also plays a major role in a man’s fertility. These are the foods that can cause testosterone deficiency, especially in older men.
The Foods That Reduce Testosterone
Soy: I bet that most of you are not surprised by this one topping the list. Soy includes not just soybeans, but tofu, edamame (soybeans), tempeh, soy milk and soy protein isolates (found in a lot of protein bars). All of these have phytoestrogens in them which are molecular compounds that are similar in chemical structure to estrogen. They can even function in a similar way in the body. As a man, you do not want too much estrogen, no way!
How soy products affect a man is not fully understood at this point in time, even though a fair amount of research has been done on the topic. Many studies found that there is no connection between the consumption of soy products and a change in either testosterone or estrogen levels. But one study did conclude that breast tenderness and estrogen concentrations were reduced once the male subjects stopped eating soy products.
Scientists suspect that soy products might not be changing the hormone concentrations of testosterone or estrogen but could be causing symptoms of increased estrogen. Clearly, more research needs to be done to come to a final conclusion. In the meantime, it may be best to reduce your consumption of these foods.
Dairy: If you want to increase testosterone, consider avoiding all dairy products. Cow’s milk contains a lot of hormones (since it’s the food for a baby cow, who needs to grow and development), both natural and synthetic, depending on the source. These could adversely affect testosterone levels. In addition, animal feed could contain soy, which we just learned causes its own issues.
Alcohol: Yes, unfortunately you may want to give up your beer, whiskey or vodka. In general, alcohol does not increase testosterone levels even though some studies have shown small amounts could do so. We would not believe this true coming from a known neurotoxin. One study, published in Current Drug Abuse Review, concluded that heavy or regular drinking over long periods of time causes a decrease of testosterone in men. In women, it increases testosterone levels. Dang.
Mint: Put down those peppermint or spearmint teas, gentlemen, because a study, published in Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin, noticed that spearmint essential oil reduced testosterone in their laboratory rats. These female rats were being treated for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with spearmint essential oil. These are rats, not humans, so it’s definitely possible that such effects would not apply to adult men.
More studies need to be conducted because the majority of the current ones use mostly animal subjects or women, not men.
Bread, pastries and desserts: A study published in Nutrients found that a diet high in these three food items resulted in low total testosterone levels in Asian men. Other factors included dairy consumption, regularly eating take-out and not eating a lot of dark, leafy greens. Not only were there low testosterone levels, but the men also suffered from low muscle mass and increased fat.
Certain Fat Sources: There is a lot of confusion over what type of fat people should be consuming for health. Studies show that trans fats are definitely out and can even lower testosterone levels. A high omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio can result in reduced testicular size and function. However, changing this ratio to higher omega-3 fatty acids has the opposite effect with increased testicular size and better function.
There you have it! If you want to improve your health and hormone levels, ditch these foods or at least try reducing them to see how it feels. Check up on your results by getting your testosterone levels checked after a few months of dropping these foods from your menu. It’s super easy to get your levels checked – just contact our clinic to find a location near you!
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