Most men and women understand that our diets and the foods we consume directly affect our metabolism, physical appearance, and general well-being. When it comes to hormones, awareness starts to fade and many aren’t aware of what foods kill testosterone. While some foods are bigger culprits than others, testosterone killing foods can derail aging men who aren’t keeping their diet in check. These foods include soy, processed foods, and alcohol to name a few, but there are many more. Below we will discuss the best and worst foods for testosterone.
Before we get started, lets briefly get a quick understanding of what is a normal testosterone level, and what is the difference between total testosterone and free testosterone.
We have a complete guide on this below, but to get right to the point men's free testosterone levels gradually drop by about 1% beginning at the age of 30. But what's the difference between total testosterone vs free testosterone?
Simply put: of the total testosterone floating around in your blood stream, 98% is bound testosterone. The remaining 2% is free testosterone, which importantly, is bioactive.
Only free testosterone can interact with androgen receptors, which play a critical role in your bodily functions.
Normal total testosterone levels range from 300+ to 1000 (ng/dL).
Soy-based products contain compounds called phytoestrogens, which are essentially dietary forms of estrogen. Diets with a high phytoestrogen intake essentially increase your estrogen levels, which simultaneously lowers your testosterone levels. Soy can be found in a wide variety of foods these days, but it's especially popular in meat alternatives like tofu and other plant-based sources of protein.
The high sodium content in most of these kinds of food can be bad, but they're also known to have large quantities of trans fats as well. This can be a problem, as recent studies have shown that trans fats can actually kill testosterone in men. In general, these kinds of foods should be limited no matter who you are, but you should also know that eating them can affect your hormones.
To be clear, nuts can be extremely nutritious. They're loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and many other beneficial compounds. That said, they are one of the foods that destroy testosterone. Some nuts such as almonds also contain a globulin called SHBG. This is a sex hormone-binding globulin that binds to testosterone and lowers the amount of free testosterone in your body. That doesn't mean nuts are all bad, but they may affect your hormones in an unhealthy way.
Other foods that can lower testosterone include:
Renowned for its health benefits and high fiber content, you may be surprised to find flax and flax seeds on this list. Unfortunately, flax and flax seeds contain high amounts of lignan, which reduce free testosterone levels. Additionally, flax can stop testosterone from converting to dihydrotestosterone, an androgen that can amplify the effects of testosterone.
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to cut out or limit alcohol from your life—this is it. According to a study done on alcohol consumption, regular or heavy drinking over time can decrease testosterone levels in men. To keep alcohol from dropping your t-levels, limit the number of drinks you have or kick the habit altogether.
Do you regularly use vegetable oils in your cooking? It could be killing your testosterone. Vegetable oils often contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which can reduce your testosterone levels. Substitute vegetable oil for something more substantial like olive oil, coconut oil, or palm oil.
While mint can help with bad breath, the menthol in mint can reduce testosterone levels. A study done on women showed that mint was effective in reducing their testosterone significantly. Avoiding mint is a bit more difficult than it sounds. The herb is found in several products, from toothpaste to shampoos and more.
Yes, it can. Rice is considered to be refined carbs. These get digested very quick which then gives you faster release of sugar.
Yes, coffee has been shown to reduce testosterone levels. Drinking lots of caffeine can cause cortisol levels to increase, which will then decrease testosterone.
Many kinds of fish contain high levels of Vitamin D, which is an important nutrient for testosterone production. It's also a great source of protein that doesn't contain too many calories. Be sure to moderate your consumption, as tuna and other kinds of fish also contain trace amounts of mercury, which can be hazardous in large amounts.
Another great source of protein and Vitamin D, egg yolks are a good option for those without cholesterol issues. In fact, extra cholesterol can be beneficial for raising testosterone as long as your body can afford it. Egg whites are also decent in this regard but the yolks have more nutrients, which makes them the more effective option for boosting your testosterone levels.
Fortified cereals are an excellent choice for breakfast, as they're a quick way to ingest a variety of helpful nutrients. Be sure to choose one with a decent amount of Vitamin D to benefit your testosterone levels. Also, you can add Vitamin D-enriched milk for even better results but be sure to choose a low-fat or skim variety to avoid saturated fats.
Other foods that can help increase testosterone levels include:
Shellfish like shrimp, crab, oysters, scallops, and more are rich in zinc, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Zinc plays a role in boosting testosterone levels along with other performance benefits, but all three nutrients are necessary for healthy t-levels.
Black beans, kidney beans, canned beans, and more are low in fat but packed with protein, fiber, Vitamin D, and zinc. There are several enjoyable ways to add beans to your diet and it's a great way to boost your testosterone levels while maintaining your heart health.
In moderation, beef can help boost your testosterone levels by fortifying your zinc levels. Lean cuts are especially good for you as they contain less fat. Beef is also a major source of protein, selenium, and other vitamins and nutrients important for your overall health.
The right source of carbohydrates can provide ample energy for testosterone production, and potatoes are an excellent source. Sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, red and brown potatoes, and other potato varieties also make a great alternative to grains and simple sugars as your main source of carbs. Just avoid overloading your potatoes with salt, oils, and other ingredients containing sodium and fat.
You’ve probably heard avocados referred to as a superfood and there's a good reason for it. Avocados contain healthy fats that are essential for hormone health. They’re also a good source of the mineral boron, which may help boost testosterone levels. This superfood is also super versatile—you can add it to so many meals or drop it in a blender for a healthier protein shake.
Having healthy levels of testosterone is essential for men's health, we even made a guide to naturally increase free testosterone levels that is worth checking out. Though there are many ways of taking care of your hormones, the foods you eat every day can play a massive role in maintaining the proper balance. Among other things, finding simple ways to manage your testosterone is a great way to keep yourself strong, resilient, and healthy overall.
With the right information, it's easy to give your body the ingredients it needs to live to its fullest. If you want to boost your testosterone levels even more, try Mdrive!
There is no substantial evidence showing yogurt hurting your testosterone, however, yogurt can be helpful for weight management and digestive health and is a great source of protein.
The current research is a bit split on the topic of almond milk and testosterone levels. On one hand, it does contain nutrients like magnesium and vitamin E that could be helpful for testosterone (limited studies) on the other hand it could lower testosterone levels by interacting with sex hormone binding globulin levels.
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