With every passing second as we go about our day, our endocrine system is hard at work taking care of an extremely important function of our bodies hormonal regulation system; ensuring that a delicate balance is maintained, regulating testosterone levels within the body. The severity of even a marginal imbalance of testosterone can lead to serious health conditions such as heart disease and severe depression. A physical examination and blood test can be conducted to determine testosterone levels and a recommendation can be made for treatment. Many GP’s will easily prescribe testosterone replacement therapy which although shown to be effective in many cases, should only be advised when extremely necessary. Testosterone is an essential hormone found in higher quantities within the male body and ensuring you have adequate testosterone levels is vital for your overall health.
Let’s Go Back To Basics : Hormones
In case you’ve forgotten how a hormone functions in the body, the simplest way to explain is that hormones are essentially chemical messengers which are secreted by your various glands and organs such as the thyroid, pituitary, adrenals, ovaries, testicles and the pancreas. Since testosterone is a vital male hormone and responsible for various functions in the body, we’ll focus on offering suggestions to regulate testosterone levels naturally through diet so that artificial means can be avoided wherever possible.
Testosterone: A Man’s Best Friend or Worst Enemy?
So all you men out there who think you have optimal levels of testosterone because you’re hitting the gym every second day, taking your protein supplements, and eating your leafy greens, you may be misguided; there’s a lot more to it than that. In North America, many men experience a testosterone imbalance. The average testosterone in the male body should be between 280 -1,100 nanograms per decilitre (ng/dL) according to the University of Rochester Medical Centre. Testosterone is important for controlling secondary male sex characteristics. With too much or too little testosterone, the body may be thrown out of wack, causing conditions like heart disease, linked to high T, or depression which has been linked to low testosterone. Testosterone is also important for bone and muscle development, sperm production and hair growth.
High Testosterone Symptoms:
- Increased sex drive and higher libido response (shorter refractory period)
- Back and shoulder acne
- Reduced fertility
- Enlarged prostate
- Hair loss
Low Testosterone Symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Mood related problems
- Loss of muscle mass
- Erectile dysfunction
What if we told you that you could balance your levels of testosterone by incorporating certain foods into your diet, would you believe us?
At around the age of 30, testosterone levels start to decrease at a rate of -1% per year, and having too little of the hormone can lead to some serious conditions later on in life. Hormonal therapies often prescribed by doctors, should be avoided unless extremely necessary as they often create a dependency from the user as well as put them under a higher risk for complications. In addition, treatments like these often only function by masking symptoms of imbalances rather than correcting them and in our opinion is a good enough reason to think again before starting one; best to consider natural methods for testosterone regulation. So with that said, let’s get into it and introduce you to some foods you’re familiar with and others you may never have heard of or knew had incredible benefits for regulating testosterone.
Foods that Increase Testosterone Levels
Foods that are rich in Vitamin D3, Zinc, Selenium, Omega-3’s, monounsaturated fats, and good cholesterol, all help in testosterone production. Ensuring that your body is receiving the micronutrients it requires with help keep your testosterone levels in check! By incorporating the following 6 foods into your diet you’ll be treating your body right and fuelling it with what it needs to help raise your levels of testosterone the all natural way.
Have your fill! What’s great about this staple is that it’s quite easy to pop a few more potatoes in our diet since it’s already something we’re use to eating. Consuming potatoes of all varieties (russet, sweet potato, yellow, purple etc) helps increase testosterone production by contributing to the amount of magnesium and B6 our bodies are taking in; since these minerals and vitamins are essential building blocks for testosterone production, the more we have in our diet, the more testosterone our bodies with produce. Potatoes are also a great source of non gluten starch and are extremely nutrient dense, making them a great all around food for our diets.
High in monounsaturated fatty acids which directly results in testosterone increases means that adding a handful of macadamia nuts to your diet a day could provide maximum benefits!
**Alternative: If you’re not a fan of Macadamia nuts, stock up on Brazilian nuts. They are packed full of micro and macronutrients and are a natural selium supplement. These nuts also contain L-Arginine which acts to increase nitric acid production and as a result allows for better dialation of veins, equalling better blood circulation.
Here’s a great pro testosterone food if you can even call it a food; what’s so great about gelatin is that it’s hassle free when it comes to incorporating into your diet. Simply adding a spoonful of powdered gelatin to smoothies or yogurt on a daily basis will help balance out your neurotransmitters, thus improving on your sleep quality and the normal signaling in your body which will lead to an increase of testosterone production.
If you’re not already using parsley to flavour your food, consider picking up a bunch next time you’re in the grocery store. Parsley contains a compound called Apigening which increases the amount of STAR, a steroidogenic acute regulator protein. This protein provides a better conversion of cholesterol to free testosterone which in the end means more testosterone in the body.
Speaking of Cholesterol: Eggs are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and HDL cholesterol; since testosterone is synthesized by cholesterol, the more you have of HDL the better. Cholesterol and fatty acids are major building blocks for testosterone production. Considering incorporating eggs into your diet to help increase testosterone.
Raw Carob Products
Chocolate is a definite love by many but often lacks some valuable nutrients that are stripped in the processing process. Raw carob undergoes minimal to no processing which means that it maintains its antioxidants, essential for keeping your good gut bacteria around! This product has a perfect , it’s loaded with minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese, and contains a low amount of polyunsaturated fats. Raw carob products have been classified by many as an erection boosting food…is your curiosity increasing? If you’ve never heard of raw carob here’s a great product to sample so you can test out the benefits.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
We’ve all heard of the Mediterranean diet and the positive benefits to consuming foods rich in quality fats and proteins, high fibre, and products with anti inflammatory properties. Switching over from animal fat to extra virgin olive oil, due to the high fat ratio mainly, results in helping increase testosterone production. Other great health benefits can be seen by consuming extra virgin olive oil such as lowering inflammation and fighting free radicals.
Choose a trusted brand when searching for an extra virgin olive oil to ensure it hasn’t undergone excessive processing and is of the highest quality.
Foods that Decrease Testosterone Levels
There are many factors that lead to a decreased level of testosterone in men such as age and lifestyle. In general, eating a low calorie and low nutritionally dense diet will result in a decrease of testosterone production; additionally, there are certain foods which have been shown to have extremely negative effects on testosterone production. Here are 6 foods that fall into the category of foods that decrease the bodies ability to produce testosterone.
Consuming foods with soy have a negative effect on testosterone production. Soy is a phytoestrogen and is high in isoflavones (genistein, daidzein, glycitein) which are proven estrogenics. Soy is also highly goitrogenic; leading to a disruption in the production of thyroid hormones. Suppressed activity of the thyroid is a major cause of low testosterone. Soy can have a negative effect on male sexuality and has been shown to lead to a development in erectile dysfunction in older men.
Even though flax is a solid source for Omega 3 fatty acids and dietary fibre, it should be consumed only in moderation. The estrogen mimicking properties in flax are three times more than what is found in soy and an over consumption can result in such a high level of estrogen in the body that the amounts would be similar to what is found in a birth control pill.
Normally, the greatest consumption of licorice root comes from the black licorice candy packs that we often find ourselves snacking on at a movie or while at home lounging in front of the television. Although tasty, licorice contains high estrogen compounds along with Glycyrrhizic acid, the ingredient that gives the licorice it’s distinct flavour profile, which is a main component in reducing testosterone.
Legumes & Beans
Lima beans in particular contain phytoestrogen fibres which act to mimic estrogen in the body; they also contain inositol which lowers levels of testosterone. These phytoestrogen lingans act to lower serum testosterone and inhibit dihydrotestosterone which is why, consuming lima beans and other legumes should be in moderation.
Now now, it’s not time to stand up and shout with joy, we haven’t given you the go ahead to cut all these great things from your diet completely; they have many benefits such as keeping cholesterol and blood glucose levels low. Foods high in dietary fibre such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, alter the metabolism of testosterone, causing a decrease in production. Also, gluten from grains, increases prolactin levels which results in a decrease of testosterone production.
What do we classify as junk? Well, if it’s a soft drink, alcohol, or fast food like a burger from your typical chain restaurant, sorry to say but it’s probably best to stay away unless you want your testosterone to take a huge hit. These items are all loaded with empty calories and promote fat accumulation. When you gain excess body fat, your system begins to respond by excreting estrogenic effects. With an increase in the total estrogen level, there in a decrease in testosterone. In addition, many fast foods such as burgers are made with extremely low grade meat which often means that the meat also contains a greater than average amount of hormones and antibiotics, all of which will lead to a decrease in your testosterone if you continue to consume these products. Sorry to say guys, but you may want to limit those beers you binge on too; the hops in beer are made of estrogenic compounds which are present in high quantities.
Let’s Wrap Up : Regulating Testosterone
Whether you find yourself in your early to late thirties, or are still a young buck, it’s important to focus on creating a balanced diet with compounds essential for testosterone regulation so that as you age, and your testosterone levels decrease, you won’t be at risk for developing certain health conditions associated will low testosterone.
It’s important to note that diet alone will not fully regulate your testosterone levels; a healthy gut also plays an important role in hormonal regulation. The use of probiotics, to help in the production of healthy bacteria along the lining of the stomach and intestinal track will ensure that your body will effectively process the nutrients it receives so it can effectively put them towards the production of hormones required for healthy body function. To keep your testosterone levels in check, consume a diet full of Omega-3’s, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Zinc, and Monounsaturated fats and try to stay away or limit foods with phytoestrogens, which mimic the presence of estrogen in the body. Creating a balanced diet, having a healthy gut, and exercising regularly are the first steps in keeping your hormones in check and avoiding unpleasant imbalances.
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