When we think of testosterone, a lot of things come to our mind. It is necessary for everyone, especially young men, to know what testosterone is, its importance, functions, and how you can take good care of it.
We refer to testosterone as the male’s primary sex hormone. It is the hormone responsible for developing a boy into a man. This includes maturing (deepening) of voice, growth of pubic hair, and enlargement of testes.The main role of testosterone is for the development of the reproductive tissues of males.
Testosterone is associated with sex drive or libido as it plays a vital role in sperm production and also red blood cell production. Interestingly, testosterone affects the mood of males. Having known that testosterone is present in males, it is important to know that it is also present in females. The only thing that differs is that the level in females is significantly lower than in males. Same as in men, testosterone contributes to women’s libido, bone density, and muscle strength. The Leydig Cells and ovaries are responsible for the secretion and production of T-cells of males and females, respectively.
What causes testosterone levels to decline?
Aging causes testosterone levels to drop, therefore causing males to produce lower estradiol levels. Hypogonadism is a reduction in the production of testosterone levels which can lead to changes in physical appearances. Additionally, low levels of T cells may also lead to depression. T-cells deficiency may provoke an increased risk of heart diseases and metabolic problems. There is also a strong relationship between diabetes and an increased incidence of having prostate cancer.
Every hour, testosterone levels change. Usually, the highest level comes during the morning and the lowest comes during the night. According to Mayo Clinic, a man’s testosterone levels are the highest during the teenage years or youthful years. However, declining testosterone levels does not necessarily mean that it is because of aging. Other factors include injury or infection of testes, having chemotherapy, metabolic problems, taking medications that alter hormone levels, kidney failure, HIV/AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse, and poor nutrition. That is why it is important to get good nutrition, not just for your body but for balancing your hormones as well.
As we all know, the food we eat generally affects our health. The nutrition we choose to put inside our body is what makes us function properly. Therefore, having a healthy, balanced diet and living a healthy lifestyle plays an important role in our overall wellness. Take note that when we eat nutritious foods, we do not just take care of our physical appearance but we also take care of our hormones.
Poor diet or poor eating habits can result in lower testosterone levels, but there are specific foods that can kill testosterone if taken regularly or without moderation.
Foods that can kill testosterone:
Although this one depends on the amount you take, regular use of alcohol does not just lower performance during intercourse but kills testosterone levels as well. According to the study, aside from heavy drinking occasionally, frequent use of alcohol could already lower down levels of T-cells.
Alcohol in general decreases testosterone. It was found out that alcohol consumption decreased testosterone by 23% for up to 16 hours. Therefore, if you want to increase the production of your testosterone levels, it is about time to bid farewell to alcohol.
- Low-quality meat / processed food
Processed foods contain preservatives, trans fatty acids, and artificial ingredients. Yes, we know that these components damage our health, but we should know that our hormones, including the T-cells, are being damaged as well. This is because there are high amounts of vegetable oils which are sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids that kill testosterone.
- Added sugar
If sugar level increases or what we call insulin, the testosterone level decreases. This happens because too much sugar in our body causes inflammation and the appearance of a fat belly. When there is inflammation, there is a reduction in the production of T-cells.
- Diet sodas
Diet sodas contain aspartame. Although aspartame is just a low-calorie sweetener, it damages T-cells and affects overall health, as well.
- Soy products
Isoflavones are present in soy products. These isoflavones greatly affect androgen and estrogen in our body. When soy products are consumed, the androgen receptors do not regulate well, and instead, estrogen receptors boost. When estrogen boosts, it causes a reduction of T-cells.
Also, soy products affect thyroid hormones by decreasing their activity. When thyroid levels are low, testosterone levels decline, as well.
When we think of mints, we think of breath freshener, cooling of mouth and stomach soother. Amazingly, these mints are not just for temporary effects, but mints affect our health including T-cells. According to a study, mint decreases testosterone levels. In the study using women who had hirsutism, mints were given to these women to treat the condition and the results showed that testosterone levels started to fall off.
One of the components of licorice is glycyrrhizic acid, which neutralizes the enzyme responsible for the production of testosterone. When the enzyme is neutralized, T-cells are killed.
- Vegetable oils
Vegetable oils affect our entire health and it does not just focus on our testosterone levels. When these oils oxide by heating, they turn into unsaturated fatty acids and these unsaturated fatty acids can promote inflammation and other chronic illnesses. According to a study, vegetable oils are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids which can kill testosterone levels.
Nuts are very commonly used in food. However, some nuts such as almonds and walnuts catalyze the level of a substance called sex hormone-binding globulin, which causes a reduction of the production of testosterone.
Additionally, nuts have high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids which reduce testosterone production.
Flaxseed contains lignan, a precursor of phytoestrogens. This chemical is a steroid-like substance that when bound to testosterone, is excreted together from the body. Therefore, when it is bound, T-cells are reduced.
According to a study, men and women show evidence that flaxseed can greatly reduce T-cells.
Beets are sweet vegetables that can harm libido. Although beets can support healthy estrogen levels, they kill testosterone levels on the other hand.
- Microwave popcorn
Perfluorooctanoic acid can be found on the popcorn bag’s lining. This chemical can kill testosterone levels, which results in a decrease in libido and may cause prostate problems as well.
- Dairy products
As the food a cow eats may contain soy, dairy products coming from cow’s milk should be avoided as soy increases estrogen. Therefore, a cow’s milk affects human hormones which can result in an alteration of testosterone levels.
It is clear that food does affect our health and there are many ways of how we can protect our health including our hormones, and one way is by carefully choosing the best nutrition we give our body. We should make sure that we are buying fresh products and avoid processed ones. Choosing organic is another way of taking care of our body. When purchasing food, make sure to read the labels and ingredients to avoid testosterone killer products.
Get your testosterone levels checked
Now that we know the foods that kill and destroy testosterone levels, it is a must to understand that having a higher level of testosterone than normal is as bad as having low testosterone levels too. Therefore it is important to get your testosterone level tested especially when you feel the symptoms.
Indeed, one thing that hinders men to be in contact with health professionals is because they may be uncomfortable talking about the issue. You should understand about these conditions and how they affect overall health is critically important.
Testosterone deficiency diagnosis can be done through a simple blood test. When the cause is found out, health care providers will look for treatment, to avoid the possibility of other serious illnesses associated with T-cells.
Ways to boost testosterone
If there are testosterone killers, there are testosterone boosters, as well. The ways to increase testosterone levels naturally include of course eating a more balanced diet, which means focusing on fresh and organic foods. Avoiding overeating and avoiding obesity is a must. Some medications can help like taking vitamin D and zinc. Doing regular exercise is also helpful.
In a study, it was found out that there is a link between T-cells, obesity, and the food we eat. In the study, participants with a low balanced diet called a western-diet showed an increased risk of developing hypogonadism. Also, having a food diet like this resulted in a decrease in skeletal muscle mass.
Food patterns affect sperm counts being released by testosterone. This study was done by examining the diet pattern with men’s testicular function using blood and semen of participants. In the study, there were four groups: Prudent healthy patter, Open-Sandwich pattern, Vegetarian-like pattern, and Unhealthy Western pattern. Participants from the first pattern ate fish, chicken, vegetables, fruits, and water. Participants from the second pattern ate processed meats and dairy. Participants from the third pattern ate a large number of vegetables with soy milk and little or no chicken. Lastly, participants from the last pattern ate fast-food like foods, sodas, and processed meats and grains. The result showed that the group who followed the prudent healthy group got the most number of sperm counts with 68 million sperm counts higher than the unhealthy western group followed by the vegetarian-like pattern with nearly 33 million sperm counts higher than the unhealthy western pattern and then the open-sandwich group coming third. It was concluded that a poor-quality western diet kills testosterone levels.
In the same study, it was found out that eating seafood, fruits, and vegetables gives the body antioxidant and omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for increasing the production of T-cells.
There is this “It’s always your choice” or “It’s always up to you” cliché and it is true. We can make better food choices. We can take better, healthy steps to increase and maintain our hormones including testosterone levels. We have to have a goal – a goal that will make us fit and healthy. It is all about us. We are the ones in charge of this one life so why not choose to live a healthy one? Be happy, be fit, choose healthily, and start now.