Men with low testosterone production may suffer from low sex drive, extreme fatigue, depression, and erectile dysfunction. Daily stress and diet might also cause your testosterone levels to drop.
In short, you may be eating foods that kill testosterone. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of the foods you consume to understand what helps and does not. We’ve put together the top 9 testosterone-killing foods and three testosterone-boosting foods to help you achieve your fitness goals.
If you want to learn more about the foods that kill and boost testosterone, keep reading.
10 Foods That Kill Testosterone Production
If you want to increase your testosterone levels, avoid the following foods:
1. Soy Products
Phytoestrogens are present in several foods, including tofu, edamame, and soy protein isolate. These plant-based compounds share structural similarities with the hormone estrogen and share some of its biological properties. The results of various studies are conflicting, and the verdict still needs to be put on soy foods.
In a 2013 study, researchers discovered that men who consumed 20 grams of soy protein isolate daily for two weeks had lower testosterone levels than those who consumed whey protein isolate or a placebo.
However, a 2010 meta-analysis found no adverse effects on male hormones. If you’re already worried about your hormone levels, it’s safest to assume that soy could be a testosterone killer until there is conclusive data and to reduce your intake.
So, if you want to eat soy, make sure it’s fermented soy like miso or natto because they’re likely to contain fewer phytoestrogens.
If you are worried about your T levels, you should consider cutting back or stopping drinking.
According to research, a small amount of alcohol may increase testosterone levels, while other studies show this is not the case. If you drink frequently or heavily over an extended time, it may lower your testosterone levels.
Moreover, the same endorphins created when you drink alcohol, which give you a happy feeling, are also the molecules that deplete your T-levels. Unfortunately, it also causes your waistline to overgrow, reducing your testosterone as all those liquid calories add to your belly.
All varieties of mint, including spearmint, peppermint, and other hybrids, affect testosterone levels negatively.
You might think that the most effective way to stay away from mint is to avoid putting it in your cuisine, where it is all too common. Although, the problem is more complex because you may find mint in personal care items, such as toothpaste, cough drops, soaps, and shampoos.
According to certain studies, mint may negatively impact testosterone. Consequently, you should avoid using this herb in high dosages.
4. Trans Fat
Trans fats are a form of fat resulting from vegetable oils’ chemical processing. The oil becomes more solid due to this process, extending its shelf life. Processed foods like margarine, crackers, and cookies frequently contain trans fat.
Moreover, trans fat intake has been associated with inflammation and insulin resistance, affecting testosterone levels. It has also been demonstrated to lower levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that binds to testosterone and prevents the body from using it.
So, avoid trans fats because they increase the risk of diabetes and reduce serum testosterone levels. They also increase the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases as well.
Choose “trans-fat free” products on the label if you want to stay away from trans fat. You can also look for “partially hydrogenated oils” on the ingredient list.
5. Licorice Root
Licorice root is different from the licorice you’re used to finding in the confectionery section. Instead, it is frequently used as a tea sweetener, herbal supplement, or beverage sweetener.
This ingredient is used as a testosterone-lowering medicinal treatment for several diseases in women with excess testosterone since it is substantially connected with reduced testosterone. Studies have shown that it can kill testosterone, so men looking to increase their testosterone levels should avoid it.
6. Vegetable Oil
Processed meals frequently contain vegetable oils like soybean oil and palm oil. Meanwhile, vegetable oils are hydrogenated to increase food’s flavor, texture, and shelf life. They have a lot of polyunsaturated fatty acids as well (PUFAs).
Although PUFAs are frequently referred to as “good” fats, you should only use them in moderation. Since so many foods are cooked in commercial vegetable oils, it is simple to ingest too many PUFAs. They have frequently refined mixtures of canola, coconut, maize, cottonseed, palm, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oils.
Furthermore, they are present in several “healthy” products, such as granola bars and vegetable chips.
However, the levels of testosterone may be adversely affected by these oils. They contain large amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which have been associated with inflammation. As a result, it affects the body’s other hormones and lowers testosterone levels.
7. Baked Goods
We all love a good slice of bread or biscuit, especially one that has just come out of the oven. Unfortunately, many baked goods include trans-unsaturated fatty acids, also known as trans fats, which are strongly linked to declining T levels.
A 2017 study found that people who consumed foods high in trans fat had testosterone levels that were 15% lower than those who consumed the least amount.
Baked foods like pastries, danish, pies, and other sweet delicacies can boost your insulin levels and waist size, leaving you with low testosterone. So, when you next feel inclined to reward yourself with that second doughnut, think of this.
Flaxseed is an odd choice given its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which are fantastic for your health and help maintain a healthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Sadly, this superfood has a lot of lignans, which inhibit testosterone in a variety of ways.
Flaxseeds block the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone, a potent androgen that can increase the effects of testosterone. Lignans reduce the levels of free testosterone. Free testosterone becomes inactive as SHBG levels grow.
Therefore, avoid flaxseed or flaxseed oil if you’re worried about how they might affect your testosterone levels. You could also restrict the total amount of omega-3 fatty acids you consume.
Some nuts can seriously disrupt your hormonal balance. They have a well-deserved reputation for supplying healthy fats and minerals.
Still, multiple studies(1)(2) demonstrate that polyunsaturated fatty acid-rich nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, peanuts, and almonds, might harm storage cells by inflicting oxidative stress. As a result, it lowers your testosterone levels.
If you enjoy snacking on nuts, choose those that are nutrient-dense and higher in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are suitable for your heart and cholesterol (MUFAs). These can be chestnuts, macadamia nuts, or brazil nuts.
10. Fried Foods
PUFA levels in fried foods are high and are highly detrimental to testosterone. They also frequently have high salt levels, which can have negative health consequences.
3 Foods That Boost Testosterone Levels
Now that you are aware of the foods to stay away from, here are the foods that boost testosterone production:
Ginger is a typical root vegetable with medical benefits. It’s mainly known for its ability to help with nausea. Additionally, it treats indigestion and has anti-inflammatory properties. But did you know that ginger also increases your testosterone levels?
Studies have shown that infertile men who regularly consume ginger have significantly higher testosterone levels and better-quality sperm.
Ginger is also simple to incorporate into your diet; you can grate it and use it in curries or dry veggies or add it to your morning tea.
Zinc is a crucial component of male fertility. It affects sperm membrane stability and lipid flexibility, among other vital aspects of spermatozoa physiology. Additionally, zinc has a controlled role in the sperm acrosome reaction and is essential for embryonic and conception implantation.
Luckily, oysters have numerous minerals and are good sources of support for sexual health. For example, the zinc in oysters increases testosterone and supports the maintenance of appropriate dopamine levels.
A substance called indole-3-carbinol, which is present in cruciferous vegetables, can lower men’s “bad” estrogen levels and healthily increase testosterone levels.
Some of the best sources of indole-3-carbinol in the diet are brassica vegetables like bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli. Increasing your intake of these vegetables should increase your testosterone levels.
Cutting off some foods, like fruits would be impractical. Your best chance is to be aware of the chemicals in your food and stay away from those that decrease testosterone levels.
The secret to everything, as always, is to have your testosterone levels balanced. Therefore, you should also take an active role in maintaining high testosterone levels. Hydration and frequent exercise are also vital.
Lastly, always consult your doctor or a dietitian to be sure you’re still meeting your nutritional needs before making a significant adjustment to your diet.
If you liked this article, please read our other reviews at ExpertFitness.org.
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- Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Raw Eggs?
- Why Am I Gaining Weight On Testosterone Therapy?
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.