Testosterone is the vital male sex hormone secreted in the testes and the adrenal gland. It is in charge of the male sexual traits and other useful functions in the body. The testosterone levels, however, drop naturally as one progresses with age. There are other factors that can cause testosterone levels to fall. They include injury on the testes; diet one takes among many others. Diet has a huge impact on testosterone levels. Your diet may cause your testosterone levels to rise or slump. Some of the food one takes can lower the testosterone levels in a big way. Most of them cause hormonal imbalance, the worst-case scenario being inhibited testosterone production.
Foods that will lower testosterone are:
- Processed foods
To meet the demand for food in the world, processing food has been adopted as a way of keeping the foods healthy and safe for a long time. During the processing periods, many of the nutrients are lost, more so in whole foods. When whole wheat is processed, 75% of the zinc is lost. Most of the minerals lost are essential in the body. They may also be aids to the process of testosterone production. Most of the processed foods also lead to insulin resistance which has a negative effect on the testosterone levels. Similarly, most of the chemicals used in the preservation also affect the endocrine system and also leads to low testosterone.
- Diet soda
Diet soda has high levels of concentration of artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are believed to be among the enemies of good health in the body for many reasons. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame affect the hormone serotine which is the hormone responsible for high spirits. Reduced serotine levels have been linked to low libido too. Also, when the hormone is low, the stress-causing hormone cortisol is high. This means testosterone levels are suppressed in a significant way.
- Microwave popcorn
Popcorns is a preferred meal when one is traveling along, when in the library, or while watching movies in cinemas. Their white color may never make one think that they have any negative effects, especially to the testosterone. However, research has found that popcorns contain a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid which is associated with low libido. Continuous use of popcorns can lead to prostate cancer which in return leads to low testosterone. Cancer affects the testes, where testosterone production takes place.
The mention of marijuana most likely creates a lot of questions in your mind. There are a lot of myths concerning this particular product. The legalization of the substance further puzzles one whether it can have effects as bad as lowering testosterone. Research has found the use of marijuana to have estrogenic effects which would lead to gynecomastia. Research further reveals that marijuana blocks GnRH from being produced in the hypothalamus. This leads to low production of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone which in turn leads to low testosterone levels.
The USDA’s Pesticide Data Program indicated that an average person is at the risk of getting exposed to around 10-13 pesticides. One of the concerns is that most of the pesticides used are mostly endocrine disruptors meaning that they affect the normal body hormones production. This disruption affects testosterone negatively. Seafood is mostly affected by the frequent use of pesticides; this implies the sea animals, mostly shrimps, have high concentrations of 4-Heyl resorcinol. The substance is used to make it retain its color. This compound is known to reduce testosterone significantly.
Taking alcohol has been referred to as a way of getting pleasure and a way of killing time with friends mostly during parties and weekends. Taking a low amount of alcohol has been associated with several health benefits including reduced chances of heart attack, reduced chances of diabetes, and stroke among many other conditions. However, intake of alcohol in high amounts has negative effects on testosterone levels. Beer has been found to have phytoestrogen and prolactin. These two chemicals lead to an increase in the estrogen levels leading to the suppression of testosterone. Wine also contains phytoestrogens. Also, ethanol in some alcohol has toxins that destroy the testes, which in turn leads to low production of sperm and testosterone.
- Breakfast Biscuits and cookies
Biscuits and cookies are some of the products which are commonly used as light meals since they are sweet, cheap, and readily available. They can be taken at any time. They are mostly taken with soft drinks. However, researchers have found that they contain a high percentage of Trans fats. This is because they are processed. These trans-fats have been linked to causing an imbalance in the endocrine system. Testosterone is among the hormones which are affected by the imbalance.
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- Whole grains
Nutritionists recommend the use of the whole grain foods as they help in digestion. Researchers, on the other hand, have found that whole grain has a negative impact on testosterone levels when consumed in high quantities. They found a compound called gluten in whole grains. This compound causes prolactin levels in the body to rise significantly. The rise of prolactin causes testosterone levels to reduce significantly. Another research reveals most of the whole grains, when used in excess, cause the body to lose essential minerals which would otherwise be used in the process of making testosterone.
- Nachos and Chicken Wings
Too many people have chicken as their favorite meal. Chicken wings being included in the list may make you skeptical since we’re talking about white meat. Doctors recommend white meat over red meat. The sad bit of the story is that chicken wings and nachos have been found to have high levels of carbohydrates. Nachos have been identified as having lots of plastic elements due to their packaging and processing. The plastic element has a negative impact on the endocrine system and majorly impact the testosterone and estrogen levels.
- Fast foods
Most of the fast-food joints are known by many since their dishes are prepared very fast. Many of these joints use low-grade meats to make their products,. The meat source most of the time is from animals that are fed on low-quality foods and others that are injected with growth-inducing hormones. These hormones affect the endocrine system negatively. Also, most of the foods are greasy as most of them are deep-fried. Most of the oil used is from sunflower and soybeans which have a negative impact on the testosterone levels.
- Low-fat diet
Many of us have been advised to get a low-fat diet with the expectations of reducing the overall fat intake in the body, especially to those who wish to reduce their body weight. However, researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles did a study on the impact of low-fat diets on healthy men 50 to 60 years old. The study revealed that after the end of the period there was a notable decline in the androgens flowing in the body. They also noticed that it’s not the amount of fat you take that makes the difference, but the quality of fat you take. Healthy fats like Omega 3 fatty acids are important in the production of testosterone.
Flax seeds have been used for a long time for their medicinal purposes. They are believed to help the body in many ways since they contain a lot of important nutrients. They help in lowering cholesterol, reducing sugar cravings, treatment of cancer, and in fighting obesity among many others. However, when it comes to improving the testosterone levels, they do the opposite. Flax seeds are rich with compounds that are called lignans. Lignans are classified as phytoestrogens. They are hormones plants release to push away herbivores. When phytoestrogens are taken by humans, they cause testosterone levels to reduce sharply.
- All-purpose flour
This kind of flour commonly referred to as white flour is another testosterone killer. This kind of floor, while in the process of manufacturing, loses a lot of essential nutrients. The minerals lost are also some of the nutrients used in the process of manufacturing testosterone. For example, 75% of Zinc is lost during the manufacturing stage. Consuming all-purpose flour in excess without enough proteins leads to diabetes which can result in heart complications and worse of all low testosterone levels. This should make you exercise caution while buying flour, and products like bread.
A commonly used product in breakfast meals is cheese. This is a product extracted from milk protein casein. Farmers will usually use synthetic products when tending to their cows. The milk, therefore, contains traces of these compounds. The cheese made from such milk is also bound to have such compounds. This means it interferes with estrogen and testosterone.
- High dose of dietary fiber
Fiber has been known to be useful to humans especially due to its aid in digestion. On the other hand, dietary fiber, through research, has been found to affect testosterone levels negatively. Research in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry done in Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland found that after healthy men took high amounts of dietary fiber, their testosterone levels reduced significantly.
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Sugar is a compound most people take daily. Research demonstrates an average American takes 6 teaspoons of sugar daily. Sugar has a not so sweet side as it causes an increase in insulin levels. An increase in insulin levels increases the amount of fat stored in the belly. It also leads to insulin resistance which is associated with low testosterone levels.
- Canned soup
Canned soup has also been associated with a reduction of testosterone levels in the body. Most of the canned soup has high levels of sodium concentration. High sodium levels in the body have been linked to high blood pressure and many other heart conditions. Worse still, sodium can also reduce the blood flow in the blood vessels. This leads to impaired blood flow. This means low nutrients and oxygen are supplied in the body. The result is the low production of testosterone.
Licorice is an extract from the Glycyrrhiza glabra roots commonly found in Europe and Asia. It is a traditional herb used for its perceived medicinal value. The main compound in the root is glycyrrhizin which is 50 times sweeter than sucrose. A study done on the extract found that when one takes the extract, the testosterone levels reduce by 40%. This is due to the effect of the glycyrrhetinic acid on the 17B-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase a body enzyme, which is responsible for the production of steroid hormones.
Strawberries are considered to be among the many fruits which provide important vitamins and nutrients in the body. Strawberries also act as natural antioxidants among many other benefits. Due to the high demand for berries, farmers have been growing them with a lot of chemicals to enhance their growth. Strawberries, being among the fruits whose skins are edible, contain a high level of the chemicals used during cultivation on the skins. These compounds are known to adversely affect the levels of testosterone in the body.
- Deli Meats
This may be one of your favorite foods. Right? More often than not, deli meat is packaged with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). The fatty part of the deli meats usually absorbs the PVC. The Deli meat meal, therefore, has a negative impact on the body hormonal balance. This hormonal imbalance affects the testosterone levels in the body. However, this can be averted through having the meat wrapped in brown butcher papers.
Spearmint is one of the products we use daily. It is used in a majority of the products we use on a daily basis such as toothpaste, breath refreshers, and chewing gum. The mint enhances fresh breath. On testosterone production, one would think that the mint would enable one secrete more testosterone but the sad truth is that it suppresses the levels of testosterone. Spearmint is known to raise the levels of estrogen and in the process affecting the levels of testosterone.
- Bottled Water
Many warnings have been issued concerning bottled water. The warnings are mostly linked to cancer. The research found that commercially bottled water contains the largest levels of Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a chemical mostly found in plastic food containers. A study in the Fertility & Sterility journal found that BPA affected men and caused erectile dysfunction, and low sperm count. BPA has also been known as one of the contributors to low testosterone levels in men.
- Low-grade meat
Low-quality meat is highly used because of its low cost and because it’s readily available. However, researchers have found that most of the commonly sold low-grade meats like hot dogs and hamburgers contain high levels of hormones and antibiotics which are majorly used in the preservation of the meat. Researchers further revealed that most of the preservatives used are very harmful to the body as they cause hormonal imbalance in the body. They found testosterone is negatively affected as a result of the intake of such meat. Researchers advise that you take leaner unprocessed meats like turkey and chicken.
- Ice cream
When temperatures are high, ice cream is a common junk food we take to lower our body temperatures. The sweetness and the cooling nature it has, are almost irresistible. However, researchers have found a bitter side of the mouthwatering ice-cream. During the process of making the ice cream, many sweeteners are used, and a lot of sugar is also used. These sweeteners and sugars, when taken in excess amounts, cause migraine, fatigue, and insulin resistance which in the end causes the testosterone levels to decrease.
Edamame is among the most loved protein sources around the world. Soybeans fall under the classification of Fabaceae, mostly found in parts of East Asia. Although they are a source of an important nutrient used for bodybuilding, they have isoflavones. These are phytoestrogens that are derived from plants and contain high levels of estrogen.
They are metabolized to form equol, which is a non-steroidal estrogen. The estrogen hormone has a very negative impact on testosterone production. It prevents prostrates from growing and eve worse, decreases the levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is the most potent form of testosterone.
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- Cruciferous vegetables
Vegetables have always been hailed for their high nutritional values. However, cruciferous vegetables increase the raffinose and sulfate levels in the body. Raffinose is a sugar compound mostly in the cruciferous veggies that is very hard to digest. The complex sugar is fermented to produce methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen which prevent important mineral absorption in the body. This leads to low testosterone. Testosterone production depends on some of the minerals like magnesium.
- Trans Fats
Trans fat also refers to trans-unsaturated fatty acids. Trans fatty acids are the unsaturated fats that are commonly made by processing industries for use in making products like snack food, packaged baked products, margarine among many others. Trans fats have been proven to cause blockage of the blood vessels specifically the arteries. These blockages lead to reduced blood flow in the body. The body is therefore deprived of important nutrients, which are central to the production of testosterone.
Taking beets before doing body workouts has been demonstrated to have a good impact on the muscles. However, other studies reveal that taking this vegetable has a negative impact on testosterone levels. The research found that beets contain a substance that triggers the body to produce a lot of estrogens. When the estrogen levels are high, they suppress the testosterone levels significantly. The effect would be worse if you had an imbalance in your endocrine system.
Coffee is commonly used as a stimulant because of its caffeine; it adds more energy to the body. One would think that coffee will help in producing more testosterone in the body. But is that the case? A 2008 study in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism indicated that when a dosage of 800mg of coffee was given to rugby players an hour before exercise, the players’ testosterone reduced by 21 %. Those who did not use coffee had their testosterone levels rise by 15 %.
Soy contains a lot of phytoestrogens; soy milk has the highest concentration of soy. These compounds cause the body to produce estrogen. Taking too much of soy leads to high estrogen in the body, and this leads to hormonal imbalance. Also, high estrogen suppresses the levels of testosterone significantly.
Pasta is loved by many as it is sweet and easy to prepare. Pasta has a high concentration of carbohydrates. A high intake of pasta leads to a high number of calories in the body. The calories are not used up by the normal body processes which lead to the body converting excess calories into fats mostly around the belly. The high amount of fats contributes to low testosterone.
Legumes are commonly used in many diets, because of the proteins which are useful in the buildup of new cells in the body. However, researchers have found that legumes have estrogenic activity in the body. When taken in high quantities, they lead to hormonal imbalance. Lima bean, for example, contains phytoestrogen fiber inositol and lignans which are dangerous to the T levels.
Asparagus has been linked to increasing testosterone levels. Its high concentration of folic acid, potassium, and vitamin E helps in the improvement of testosterone levels. However, further research has indicated that when taken in large quantities, it lowers testosterone levels. The research is based on the bad odor coming from the urine though it has not been done conclusively.
As sweet as the chocolate may be, especially the dark chocolates, it has its bitter side. Some of the sweeteners used have effects on the hormonal balance. Also, the processed sugars used, when taken in large amounts, lead to insulin resistance which in turn leads to low testosterone.
It may not classify as food per se, but it’s something we consume. Some of the medications like antidepressants, Adderall, and birth control medication affect the hormones, especially serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine which are closely related to testosterone levels.