There are a lot of factors that work together to regulate the amount of testosterone your body produces. Some of these factors include the natural results of time and the aging process, and you can’t reverse them without hormone therapy. Other factors contributing to the reduction of this major sex hormone may be surprising.
The choices you make, including the foods you eat, can have a heavy impact on the way your body looks and works. Low testerone can contribute to health concerns like reduced sperm count, lower sex drive, and less energy.
If you’re concerned about the possibility of declining testosterone levels, here’s a few things you may want to keep off the grocery list.
How Does Food Affect Testosterone?
Simply put, your diet affects your health. Very fit and active people usually don’t eat a lot of fast food or added sugars. Instead, they’re focused on eating to fuel their body and reach their goals (which may help them increase testosterone in the process).
Unhealthy choices can contribute to unwanted weight gain, bloating, brittle nails, weak hair, and yes, even low hormone levels. Your body is working hard to produce an appropriate amount of testosterone, and the food you eat will support that process.
Some foods will work against your general health. Other foods contain compounds that may directly interfere with testicular health and your body’s ability to produce the testosterone it needs to keep you looking and feeling good.
Although a glass of aged scotch or a wine tasting may make your week go by a little smoother, it’s best to enjoy alcohol in moderation, especially with testosterone levels in mind.
Those who have higher alcohol consumption on average also have higher body fat, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and lower defined muscle mass.
Alcohol doesn’t benefit the body at all. Although the antioxidants in wine make it a “better” choice than other alcoholic beverages, you can just as easily get the same antioxidants from eating fruit.
The occasional drink won’t do anything to significantly impact your levels of testosterone; a few beers on the weekend is unlikely to cause significant harm to your testicular health.
However, the effects of prolonged drinking can be serious. Frequently drinking alcohol can negatively impact every aspect of your health, and it is absolutely a beverage that will kill testosterone levels.
2. Dairy Products
Dairy products come from lactating female cows that naturally produce a lot of hormones, and trace amounts of these hormones can be passed to you when you ingest dairy products.
Plain milk isn’t naturally high in hormones. Dairy products like cream or butter that condense milk solids, though, will contain more hormones. These products are high in fat, and hormones are stored in fat. A diet that contains a lot of full-fat dairy products will increase your intake of estrogen and other hormones that work against the testosterone in your body.
Skim milk has almost all of the fat removed. If you use dairy products, opting for skim, fat-free, or low-fat dairy will minimize the amount of trace hormones you ingest.
Luckily, a few servings of low-fat dairy every day probably won’t significantly impact your testosterone levels.
3. Soy-Based Foods
Soybeans, soy milk, tofu, edamame, and even soy protein isolate in soy-based protein powders naturally contain phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens are compounds that naturally occur within soy plants. These compounds aren’t quite the same as human estrogen, but there’s been speculation that they may affect the body in a similar way when ingested.
In truth, the jury is still out on this one. Some holistic wellness practitioners recommend avoiding soy if low testosterone levels are a concern — half of soy’s fat content is made of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which could contribute lower testosterone levels.
However, the medical research on soy is inconclusive, so if you don’t consume a lot of soy, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
If you eat a plant-based diet and soy is an important staple, consider eliminating soy products from your diet for just a few months to see how you feel. If your symptoms of low testosterone stop, you can continue to exclude it from your diet. If your dietary changes don’t make a difference, the soy probably isn’t what’s affecting you.
4. Some Types of Fat
There are healthy fats and bad fats. Animal-derived fats like lard and fats from fried foods aren’t good for your body. Animal fats contain cholesterol, a type of fat that remains in your body that can harm the health of your heart and arteries. Although this doesn’t directly contribute to low testosterone, poor blood vessel health and poor circulation can contribute to erectile dysfunction.
Omega fats, on the other hand, are recognized as some of the healthiest fats. Your heart and your brain can receive health benefits from small amounts of omega fats you’ll find in seed oils and some fruit and vegetable oils — although the key phrase is “small amounts.” You can always have too much of a good thing.
Some research links the overconsumption of omega-6 fats to reduced testicular function. Omega-6 fats naturally occur in animal-based foods, soybeans, corn, nuts, and seeds. Since animal products are the primary source of concentrated omega-6 fats and they’re also high in cholesterol, limiting your meat intake is likely to take some stress off your body.
5. Heavily Processed Foods
Heavily processed foods don’t have much nutritional value. We all want a burger, some colorful breakfast cereal, or a soda from time to time. Just remember that it’s important to use these foods as treats rather than staples in your diet.
Processed foods are high in fat, sugar, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates that our bodies don’t need. They pack a lot of calories into just a few bites, which makes it easy to overeat. A diet high in processed foods can easily lead to health conditions like obesity and diabetes. When your body lives under the strain of these conditions, it’s hard for it to perform its most basic functions.
Fat cells also produce estrogen. When you’re overweight, your fat cells are larger, which increases their estrogen-producing capabilities, and can bump up your estrogen levels. As a result, your body may struggle to keep up with testosterone production.
Avoiding processed and calorically dense foods can help to keep this process under control. If you’re overweight, reduce your body weight. Have your thyroid checked to ensure your metabolism is healthy. Incorporate more movement into your daily life, and prep some balanced meals.
What If I Need Hormone Replacement Therapy?
Making healthier lifestyle choices is an important part of managing your testosterone levels. However, these changes may not be enough to create noticeable change. If your body isn’t capable of producing the amount of testosterone it needs to keep you healthy, hormone replacement therapy may be your best treatment option.
The experienced hormone replacement doctors at Elite HRT can work with you to determine whether you’re a good candidate for testosterone replacement therapy. Set up a telemedicine appointment with us to address your low testosterone levels from the comfort of your own home.
At Elite HRT, we’ll help to arrange tests in your local area. After reviewing your test results and your medical history, we’ll be able to determine the best way to safely boost testosterone levels. If necessary, we’ll prescribe testosterone supplements that you can use at home under the guidance of your Elite hormone therapy doctor.
Keep up with your positive lifestyle changes and use your testosterone as directed. Within a few weeks, you should find relief from the symptoms of your low testosterone. Look and feel more like yourself with Elite HRT.