Hormones such as testosterone are the messengers that deliver signals throughout the body that control vital physiological processes. The foods you eat can sometimes help or hinder hormones in the performance of their jobs. By examining foods that increase and decrease testosterone, it is possible to make better dietary choices for a positive hormonal impact.
As the body ages, key hormone levels such as testosterone begin to decline. This is true for both males and females. Everyone needs testosterone, and if the food consumed further reduces testosterone levels, deficiency can occur.
Opting for foods that increase testosterone levels over those that decrease production can reduce the risk of Low T symptoms. This is especially true as men and women enter their forties and fifties – a time of considerable hormonal imbalance. Menopause and andropause play havoc with hormone levels. Improper dietary choices can further affect these levels.
You may think that you are feeding your body healthy foods based on the latest research. While something may be good for your heart, it may be harmful for your hormones. Take, for example, flaxseed – beneficial for its omega-3 fatty acids. While flaxseed has many benefits, it is not one of the everyday foods that increase testosterone. Instead, flaxseed may reduce free testosterone levels by increasing estrogen conversion. A 2007 report was one of the first to publish results showing how flaxseed reduced the effects of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) – a condition frequently associated with high testosterone levels in women. Flaxseed intake was responsible for lowering testosterone levels.
Why What You Eat Can Influence Testosterone Levels
A well-balanced diet ensures that all nutritional requirements of the body are met. Nutrient-rich foods help nourish and increase hormone production. Nutrient-deficient foods interfere with hormone secretion and functions. For the most part, foods that increase testosterone in females will be similar to those that we recommend for men. A few minor dietary adjustments can have quite an impact on your health.
When we look at foods that increase and decrease testosterone, some of the foods promote cortisol production. Higher blood levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) impair testosterone and growth hormone secretion. Alcohol and caffeine are two substances that can increase the production of cortisol.
Eating the right types of food to promote healthy hormone levels is sometimes hard for vegetarians. You wind up giving up beneficial forms of animal protein that can increase testosterone. That is not always bad news for vegans as the right dietary choices can lead to higher levels of testosterone.
With these foods that increase testosterone, vegans and vegetarians can receive a significant hormonal boost:
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
Most foods that increase testosterone and libido work equally well for women and men. Since testosterone helps maintain an active libido, it is essential to protect hormone production at any age.
Top 10 Testosterone Boosting Foods
The best dietary changes you can make are opting for foods high in vitamin D and zinc. Foods that increase testosterone in males can also be used by women to promote healthy testosterone levels.
The best foods that increase testosterone production include:
Choose organic milk from grassfed cows whenever possible. Eggs are on the list of foods that increase and decrease testosterone because they contain the healthy cholesterol that serves as a basis for hormone production. Without enough cholesterol, the body cannot synthesize progesterone, the source hormone for testosterone.
5 Foods That Lower Testosterone Levels
We have already mentioned that alcohol, caffeine, and flaxseed are three foods that lower testosterone levels. They are by no means the only ones that adversely impact testosterone production.
Five other foods that reduce testosterone are:
- Vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, and corn
- Cheese – processing of cheese is the problem, especially when dealing with chemicals and hormones added to the animal’s feed
- Chocolate – although one ounce a day of dark chocolate is not necessarily bad, too much or poor-quality chocolate each day can lead to increased estrogen conversion
- Mint – peppermint and spearmint can significantly lower testosterone levels
- Microwave popcorn – it may be low in calories, but the lining of the bags contain perfluorooctanoic acid that can decrease testosterone and sex drive
Avoiding these foods that lower male testosterone or cutting back and adding in some of the healthier choices listed can significantly improve testosterone production.