Testosterone is a hormone that is usually associated with sex drive in the male population. However, what many people do not know is that it plays a major role in the development of bones and muscles, hair growth, deepening of the voice, and many other things.
Also, did you know that females also have the testosterone hormone? There are many misconceptions and various concerns regarding this particular hormone.
It is a scientifically proven fact that the consumption of certain food items significantly lowers the testosterone level in the body. But before we learn what these foods are, we must understand what this hormone is and how it helps our bodies function.
What is Serum Testosterone
It is a hormone that is essential to the development of male reproductive tissues like the prostate and testes. It also promotes certain manly characteristics like muscle mass, bone growth, increased strength, and growth of body hair.
Testosterone is also associated with the making of sperm in males. The production of this hormone increases during puberty and begins to dip after the age of 30.
Women’s ovaries also produce testosterone but in much lower quantities.
Optimal Testosterone Levels
The normal or healthy hormone levels vary depending on factors such as protein status and thyroid function.
The American Urological Association (AUA) states that the level should be at least 300 nanograms (or above) per deciliter (ng/dL) in men and 8- 60 ng/dL in women of ages 19 and above.
Common Imbalances Due to Low Testosterone Production
The maintenance of serum testosterone levels according to metabolic and endocrine parameters is essential to the male reproductive system. Low or extremely high testosterone levels, called hypogonadism, can cause many problems.
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low sperm count
- Swollen, sensitive, or enlarged breast tissue
- Loss of muscle mass
- Loss of body hair
- Increased body fat with decreased strength.
- Reduced energy levels and constant mood swings
- Testicular shrinkage
5 Healthy Foods That Kill Testosterone
The body is capable of producing and maintaining testosterone levels on its own. However, various factors, including age, work against this hormone mechanism. In addition, there are a few food items that, although healthy, may lead to the lowering of testosterone.
The foods that lower testosterone are ones that you may be consuming every day. If you find significant bodily changes that point towards lower testosterone plasma levels, you must consult your physician.
Here is a list of testosterone-killing foods you should avoid if you notice these changes.
Soy is a plant-based source of protein and is often lauded for its health benefits. However, foods rich in soy protein like tofu, edamame, etc., contain phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens are structurally similar to serum estrogen and function like it. Research on whether soy triggers estrogen receptors is still too vague.
But, a 14-day study conducted in 2013 found that men who drank soy protein isolates were found to have lower testosterone levels than those who drank whey protein isolates.
Dairy products, especially those made with cow’s milk, are said to contain synthetic as well as natural hormones that affect the testosterone levels of our body. This is because most commercially sold milk comes from pregnant cows.
Their milk is rich in estrogen and progesterone, which adversely affects testicular function by suppressing the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and Luteinizing Hormone levels (LH) in men.
The suppression of these hormones, in turn, stops the testes from synthesizing testosterone. Additionally, the animal feed also contains soy and this increases the estrogen level in milk.
Vegetable oils are a staple part of our diet. The problem is that they come with polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) that are often labeled healthy but must be consumed only in moderation.
Studies have found that in overweight men, the ingestion of polyunsaturated fats leads to lower testosterone levels. Thus, avoiding too much vegetable oil may be a step in the right direction.
You must think we are nuts to mention this here as these are considered to be the manna of fitness. Among others, almonds and walnuts have been found to be aiding in the production of a particular substance called SHBG.
This binds testosterone, reducing its production level. Nuts are also known carriers of the above-mentioned PUFAs that prove detrimental to testosterone serum production.
This is another shocker because flaxseed is known as a superfood for its properties of producing omega-3 and helping the body in various ways. But unfortunately, they also contain high amounts of lignans that affect testosterone production.
It stops the natural conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, a potent androgen that boosts testosterone levels. Lignans also reduce free testosterone levels, making it essentially inactive, by allowing SHBG levels to rise.
Other food items that belong on this list include trans fats and pomegranates. While studies show that consumption of trans fats leads to a lowering of testosterone levels, pomegranates lower the level of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that inhibits the production of the sex hormone.
What Can You do to Boost Testosterone Levels
Lower testosterone levels are more common today than you think. If you are struggling with this problem, following a testosterone-associated dietary pattern would be a great way to improve things naturally.
Rather than having to take supplements for overall well-being and health, it is a much better option to avoid food items that not just kill testosterone, but also take your confidence with it.
Adopting simple lifestyle changes goes a long way in avoiding such conditions. Unlike the food items mentioned here, there are many other food items like leafy greens, vegetables, beef, oysters, fish, and fruits that help boost testosterone levels.
The Bottom Line
The food you eat greatly influences the way your body functions. We may even go as far as saying that “You are what you eat” in the sense that what you choose to put into your mouth decides how healthy, fruitful, and long a life you will be able to live.
The bottom line is this: there are so many medical conditions in our world today that don’t have such quick fixes. But lower testosterone level, if caught early enough, is definitely reversible by avoiding certain types of foods and exercising regularly.
Nonetheless, we recommend seeking the advice of a physician before making any jarring changes to your diet. Even with healthy adult males, avoiding the consumption of food items like trans fats and polyunsaturated fatty acids will definitely reduce the risk of testosterone hormone problems, maintain androgen receptors, and help in enhancing sperm quality.