Testosterone is a male reproductive hormone. Do you feel that libido is not what it used to be, or you feel weak, or you do not have the strength to get up in the morning, can’t focus on your task, or spend some quality time with family? The chances are that you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, also known as “Low T.” You might be wondering how testosterone levels decrease. There can be some reasons. For example, day-to-day stress or an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle can reduce testosterone. In addition, your diet can play a significant role in lowering your testosterone levels. For example, your food may contain some testosterone reducing foods. Therefore, you need to be watchful of such foods.
What is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a male reproductive hormone found in humans and other animals. In men, the testicles primarily make testosterone. However, women’s ovaries also produce testosterone, though in much smaller amounts.
Testosterone production increases significantly during puberty and dips after age 30 to 50. Testosterone is most often associated with sex drive and plays a vital role in sperm production. However, it also affects bone and muscle mass, how men store fat in the body and even red blood cell production. Therefore, an optimum level of testosterone is essential for overall health. It also boosts energy and strength.
On the other hand, fried foods, high fat, red meat and processed foods reduce testosterone levels.
Foods that Reduce Testosterone
1. Soy Products
Soy has high amounts of a compound called isoflavones. It is a compound that structurally resembles the female hormone oestrogen. Oestrogen is responsible for breast development, voice changes etc. A study suggests that isoflavones in soy which is considered a testosterone reducing food. It is because soy products activate oestrogen receptors.
A conflicting study shows that isoflavones help improve oestrogen levels. Therefore, it benefits certain people, like post-menopausal women.
In normal conditions, oestrogen functions differently, rather diametrically opposite to testosterone. However, phytoestrogen inhibits androgen receptors. Testosterone deficiency impacts sperm synthesis, motility and viability. In addition, It affects secondary sexual characters in men. It can reduce the development of:
- Muscle growth and strength
- Body physique
- Voice changes
Soy is also a goitrogenic food that reduces thyroid function in your body. Thyroid suppression reduces the secretion of thyroid hormone- Thyroxine, T3, T4 are thyroid hormones. These hormones have an essential role in growth and maturation. In addition, soy oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids or PUFAs. They are healthy fats. However, a study shows that excess intake of PUFAs can reduce testosterone secretion.
The findings are not conclusive. Further research is required to ascertain the inverse relationship between soy products and testosterone levels in humans.
2. Dairy Products
Full-fat dairy products may play a role in reducing sperm count. A study suggests that there can be a link between greater total dairy food intake and higher FSH levels. FSH is Follicle Stimulating Hormone. It is a female sex hormone. However, it is also present in males in minimal amounts. Its function is to improve sperm production. But excess dairy intake increases the levels of this hormone in men. High levels of FSH, therefore, can reduce sperm count in men.
3. Mint (Spearmint and Peppermint)
Your sweets, chocolates etc., contain mint. In addition, you can find it in most of your cosmetic products like medicines, toothpaste, soaps etc. Mint contains menthol that negatively affects testosterone levels.
A study shows that mint, especially spearmint triggers oxidative stress, leading to radical cell injury to the testis’s cells. As a result, it lowers the production of two hormones; luteinising and follicle-stimulating hormones. In addition, another study suggests that not using peppermint in recommended fashion may lead to adverse effects on testosterone.
Our bodies need these hormones in minimal amounts for sperm production. Free radical cell damage reduces the levels of these hormones, affecting sperm production. So, avoid excess intake of mint-based foods to be on the safer side.
4. Liquorice Root
Liquorice roots is another testosterone reducing food. It contain high levels of glycyrrhizic acid that neutralises the enzyme that helps in testosterone production. In addition, Liquorice roots can significantly lower testosterone levels in both men and women.
5. Vegetable Oils
Refined vegetable oils can cause multiple health issues. Reducing testosterone secretion is just one of them. Vegetable oils have high polyunsaturated fatty acids. Studies suggest that MUFAs lower testosterone levels. Moreover, vegetable oils trigger the production of free radicals. It causes oxidative damage to cells. Radical cell injury causes many diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, etc. Obesity and diabetes again impact testosterone synthesis.
Vegetable oils also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 is healthy when consumed in recommended doses. However, other types of fat, such as omega-6, reduce the function of testes. Several studies prove the harmful effects of excess omega-6 free fatty acids. In addition, they minimise testosterone synthesis. All these factors make vegetable oil unhealthy for testosterone levels.
6. Trans Fats
Trans fats are unhealthy fats, the most harmful type for your health. Vegetable oils give you the most trans fats. They are present in margarine, fried and processed, and packaged foods. When you reheat the oil, it forms the trans-fat. The preparation of trans-fat also makes them highly inflammatory. As a result, it might increase the risk of chronic diseases. In addition, PUFAs reduce testosterone levels within an hour of consumption.
Trans fats cause obesity, metabolic disorders, and diabetes. These health conditions inhibit testosterone synthesis. Studies suggest that body fat contains aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone into oestrogen. As we know, oestrogen is a female reproductive hormone. Excess oestrogen levels reduce testosterone secretion. Therefore, it reduces the level of testosterone.
Nuts are nutritious foods that offer various health benefits. However, certain nuts negatively affect testosterone levels. For example, almonds, pistachios and walnuts lower testosterone levels by elevating sex hormone-binding globulin hormone (SHBG). In addition, it combines with testosterone and reduces its secretion, reducing its functions.
Nuts also have high levels of phytosterols, a compound vital for heart health. However, phytosterols can suppress testosterone synthesis. Nuts also have high PUFAs, which further reduce testosterone levels. Almost all nuts contain a combination of all types of fat. As long as you consume them in moderation, they are not harmful. Consult a physician and dietitian to get more clarity.
Studies suggest that flaxseeds can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. That is because flaxseeds have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. They have various health benefits too. For example, it promotes heart health. Additionally, it also prevents hypertension and stroke. However, it also has significant levels of omega-6, which lowers testosterone.
Flaxseeds are also high in lignans, which are plant compounds. They reduce testosterone functions differently. They bind with testosterone and reduce the free circulation of testosterone. Also, Lignan causes the excretion of testosterone. It also prevents the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. It is the active form of testosterone. Additionally, SHBG levels may also increase the risk of improper testosterone function.
A recent study shows that regular consumption of alcohol over some time is harmful. It reduces your testosterone levels, especially in the case of heavy drinking. Alcohol consumption fuels multiple health issues. For example, alcohol reduces the function of cells that produce sperm. These cells are known as Sertoli cells, which reduce the release of reproductive hormones. It also reduces the secretion of LSH and FSH hormones. As a result, it reduces overall male fertility. These are hormones that regulate your reproductive cycle and sperm maturation.
Moreover, alcohol drinkers also have high levels of oestrogen. Oestrogen is a female hormone. It imparts opposite functions to testosterone. As a result, infertility and a reduction in male secondary sexual traits can occur. Symptoms include:
- Reduced facial and chest hair
- Chest enlargement
- A shift in fat deposition from the abdomen to the hip area
10. Commercial Baked Foods
A diet that includes commercially baked foods reduces your testosterone levels. Foods include bread loaf, pastries, doughnuts and furthermore. A study shows that men who eat baked foods regularly have low testosterone levels. This diet also increases your abdominal fat and boosts fat deposition around your belly. Abdominal fat suppresses your testosterone levels. Moreover, baked foods contain trans fat, which also impairs testosterone functions.
11. Fried Foods
Fried foods have higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). As a result, they inhibit the secretion of testosterone. Even lightly fried foods increase the absorption of PUFAs. Moreover, fried foods cause obesity. Body inflammation directly affects the lowering of testosterone. So, you should avoid eating fried foods, especially deep-fried foods. You can instead opt for steamed foods.
12. Processed Foods
Almost all processed foods contain trans fats and artificial contents. As a result, they impact your testosterone levels and overall health. Besides trans fats, processed foods also contain vegetable oils, making them full of PUFA. PUFA and trans fats reduce testosterone levels, making processed foods unhealthy for testosterone.
Excess consumption of sugar elevates the insulin levels in your body. As a result, it reduces testosterone synthesis in men. Sugar also triggers abdominal fat deposition and inflammation. Both limit testosterone synthesis. Moreover, it impacts overall health.
How to Boost Testosterone Levels?
Moderation is vital in almost everything, whether your diet or workouts. A well-planned approach to maintain your testosterone levels is essential. A healthy diet, rest and regular exercise can be helpful.
As per studies, testosterone deficiency is associated with many health disorders, including obesity, diabetes, and heart diseases. Many factors regulate testosterone levels. However, a healthy diet is of great help. Here are a few methods to naturally boost testosterone levels.
Include Foods that Boost Testosterone Levels
Eating good quality protein such as eggs, lean meats, fatty fish, pulses can help maintain healthy levels and help lose fat. You should include enough fruits and vegetables in your diet. You can also have fatty fish, pomegranates, eggs etc. In addition, include high-quality proteins like fish and chicken. These foods boost testosterone levels.
Studies suggest that testosterone levels reduce stress. However, stress can affect your testosterone levels negatively. When you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. It is stress regulating hormone. However, this hormone reduces testosterone levels. Stress is a significant factor in reproductive disorders in both males and females. Therefore, you should reduce stress to boost your testosterone levels.
There are various ways to reduce your stress. For example, deep breathing techniques, meditation, and brisk walking help to reduce your stress levels.
Get Adequate Sleep
Adequate sleep improves your physical and mental health. As a result, it prevents lifestyle disorders like obesity, weight gain, diabetes and hypertension. These health disorders lower testosterone. Appropriate sleep enhances your overall health. Therefore, it normalises your testosterone levels. Testosterone release also occurs during sleep. Sleep in pitch darkness for at least 6-8 hours.
Include Regular Workouts
Regular workouts and planned exercise promote your overall health. It helps you lose and maintain a healthy weight. Excess body weight or obesity results in lower testosterone levels. Exercise burns calories. It also enables you to maintain an optimum weight. Therefore, it prevents fertility disorders in men.
Testosterone is the primary male reproductive hormone. Low testosterone levels are due to various reasons. Consequently, it impacts male reproductive function. It can also trigger hormonal imbalance. In addition, it affects the development of sperms. Some changes due to low male hormones include voice changes, physique, muscle growth and strength, etc. Therefore, you should refrain from eating the foods mentioned above.
An effective way to maintain optimum testosterone levels is through lifestyle modifications and dietary changes. It also promotes your overall health. Moreover, lifestyle modification also involves regular workouts and adequate sleep. You should also include testosterone boosting foods. It is unrealistic to refrain from some foods, especially oily and sugary foods.
However, you could make yourself aware of certain foods that might harm you. Therefore, limit their consumption and try to avoid testosterone reducing foods. Talk to your physician and dietitian for personalised help.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What are the five foods that kill testosterone?
A. Although several foods cause damage to testosterone levels in your body, five food that kills testosterone are:
- Dairy Products
- Soy Products
- Mint (spearmint and peppermint)
- Vegetable Oils and trans fat
- Processed foods
Q. Do bananas lower testosterone?
A. No, bananas do not lower testosterone. In contrast, bananas help increase testosterone levels in the body. Several studies confirm that it increases sex drive and testosterone levels in the body.
Q. What food increases testosterone most?
A. Dark leafy green food products increase testosterone levels. In addition, several foods help increase testosterone levels in the body. They are:
- Cocoa products
- Berries, cherries, and pomegranates
Q. Do heavy squats increase testosterone?
A. Yes, all forms of exercise are beneficial for increasing testosterone levels in the body. Squats stimulate the production of growth hormones as well. Post-workouts, testosterone levels are often at an all-time high in the body.
Q. What exercise builds the most testosterone?
A. While all forms of exercise have been found beneficial, squats are most helpful. However, this is because it leads to a more significant burn in calories, which increases the testosterone levels in the body. Also, weight lifting and resistant training provide the same benefit.
Q. Does Peanut increase testosterone?
A. Yes, Peanuts can increase testosterone levels. This quality is because peanuts contain arginine, which contains nitric oxide that affects hormonal changes in the body and increases testosterone and endorphin levels.
Q. Is Chicken good for testosterone?
A. Yes, chicken is good for increasing testosterone because chicken contains zinc and protein, which increases the testosterone levels in the body.
Q. What food decreases testosterone the most?
A. Several food materials decrease testosterone levels in the body. They include:
- Dairy Products
- Soy Products
- Mint (especially spearmint and peppermint)
- Vegetable Oils
- Trans Fat
- Commercially Baked foods
- Processed food
- Fried food