Testosterone is a sex hormone, which exists in both males and females. In men, testosterone plays a key role in sperm production and sexual function, as well as muscle mass maintenance and growth, bone density increase, and red blood cell production. In women, testosterone is present in low quantity, but is also important.
Therefore, maintaining healthy levels of testosterone is important for a human’s mental and physical health. Here are 8 foods that will lower testosterone levels, so you should be careful if you want high testosterone levels.
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Soy and Soy-based Products
Soy has a high amount of phytoestrogens, which may mimic estrogen in the body and can decrease testosterone levels, while at the same time increasing the “female” hormone progesterone. You can find soy pretty much everywhere – not only in protein powders sold at the gym but also in some brands of ice creams or chocolate bars.
In order to avoid consuming too much soy, you’d better read the labels on each food product carefully. Soy is listed under different names including soy protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, soy milk, tofu, and more.
Flaxseed is popularly used as a health food ingredient in cereal or bread for its fiber content, but it also contains anti-androgenic properties that lower testosterone in men. Similar to soy, flax can interfere with the production of testosterone as well as lower sperm count.
Flaxseed is often used in cereals, bran muffins, granola bars, and even some brands of peanut butter. You can limit your intake by eating more meat, fish, and vegetables instead of processed products that may contain it.
Alcohol is well-known for affecting testosterone levels as well. I know alcohol sounds like an excuse for us guys to always drink beer, but alcohol has been proven to reduce testosterone. It can also lower your sperm count and make you impotent.
Mint (such as spearmint, peppermint) is a plant that contains a compound called pulegone, which has been proven to lower testosterone levels. It also lowers the sperm count of males. If you love mint, then I to tell you that it’s going to lower your sex drive and ability.
It should come as no surprise that a known enemy of testosterone is a food product containing a chemical called licorice. If you love the flavor of licorice, then this is not going to be great news for you. Licorice contains ingredients that have been shown to reduce testosterone levels significantly.
Vegetable Oil and Other Fats
Vegetable oil and other hydrogenated fats can inhibit testosterone production. These harmful oils increase estrogen in men, causing fat to be stored around the stomach and decreasing muscle mass.
Processed foods often contain trans fats and vegetable oil, which lower testosterone.
Nuts, Seeds, and Beans
The ingredients in these foods are called lignans. These are naturally occurring plant compounds that have an estrogen-like effect on the body. These particular phytoestrogens can inhibit testosterone production and lower free testosterone levels in your bloodstream.
Dairy products may lower testosterone levels because hormones given to cows to increase their milk production could be passed into the human body via consumption.
Sugar lowers the level of testosterone because the spikes in blood sugar cause the release of insulin that then leads to testosterone being converted into estrogen.
Baked goods will also decrease your testosterone levels as it contains much sugar, which increases insulin levels and as a result reduces free testosterone in the body.
Fried foods have high levels of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids), which cause an increase in estrogen levels which can lead to low testosterone.
If you want to keep your testosterone levels, avoid or limit your consumption of the food listed above. Also, make sure you’re getting enough testosterone-boosting food in your diet.