What is Testosterone?
In simple terms, testosterone is a male hormone which is essential for the development of reproductive and sexual health. According to the National Institutes of Health, this hormone ranks as the most crucial hormone for men. Since it is a naturally produced hormone, women also have this hormone but at lower levels when compared to men. Testosterone gets classified under the male hormone class and sometimes referred to as steroids or anabolic steroids.
Testosterone in men gets produced mainly from the testes with adrenal glands acting as secondary sources. The production rate and amount get controlled by the pituitary gland the hypothalamus part of the brain. The mechanism behind the production is straightforward. First, the hypothalamus decides the amount of hormone production and instructs the pituitary gland. This message then gets passed to the testes, which starts making the hormone. This message passing mechanism happens through chemicals or different hormones in the bloodstream.
As we have already discussed, testosterone is dominant in males which is directly proportional to the development of sex organs before birth and other secondary characteristics that happen during puberty. For men, these include changes like deepening of the voice, growth of body and facial hair, and the increase of penis and testis size. Other vital points that focus on the importance of this hormone are libido health, distribution of fat in the body, production of red cells, and muscle strength as per the studies of Mayo Clinic. According to the research published in 2008 by the Journal Frontiers of Hormone Research, testosterone levels help in the prevention of osteoporosis in men.
Considering these facts, more and more people have started focusing on their T-levels. From supplementation to foods that boost testosterone in men, the topic has started emerging on different health-related studies and discussions.
Why is it Important to Boost Testosterone?
Testosterone is vital for both the sexes, but what could go wrong when the balance disrupts? Well, the side-effects for men weigh larger than for females. We should also keep in mind that testosterone in men biologically decreases with age. Many other factors affect the rate of reduction, but one cannot completely halt the decline of this hormone as the calendar changes its numbers. There are several adverse effects but let us see some of the most visible ones.
Importance Of Boosting Testosterone For:
1. Reduction in Sex Drive
I mean what else could go wrong for a male? Testosterone is the critical factor for sex drive in men. The process gets naturally low with age, but low testosterone can cause a decrease in the urge of reproduction at an early age.
2. Impotence or Erectile Dysfunction
The topic is related to the one discussed before. Erection in male is the sign of healthy testosterone levels. These hormones also define the longevity and the number of times your little friend gets hardened. For this process, the hormone directs the brain to produce nitric oxide in the body. This molecule helps to trigger chemical reactions in the body required for erection.
3. Loss of Hairline and Muscles
Testosterone in men is responsible for several bodily functions in men which includes hair production. Balding is a natural process which occurs in men with time. Early loss of hair does not necessarily mean low testosterone. It can be due to genetics and lack of proper hair care. Also, low testosterone in men can the cause of patchy beards or no beard at all.
Testosterone in men is essential for maintaining and building muscle. Keep in mind that low levels of this hormone do not necessarily affect the strength or functionality of muscle. People who fall in the lower hormonal margin have a hard time gaining and maintaining gains.
4. Fragile Bone Density
The thinning of bone mass is called Osteoporosis, and the process gets often associated with women. But, for men with low testosterone levels, it might pose a problem. The male hormone helps the production and strengthening of bones. We can see the effects in older men, who have declining rates of this hormone due to their age. They are more susceptible to bone fractures and have brittle bones.
5. Affected Memory and Blood count
Cognitive function and testosterone levels drop with age, and this has led the doctors to theorize the relationship between low T-levels and mind. A research done by the Journal of the American Medical Association among a small group of individuals have shown that supplementing testosterone have shown memory improvements in patients.
Along with this, low T-levels increases the risk of anaemia in men. When such patients got administered supplementation, they saw considerable improvements in the blood count as compared to those with placebo treatment. Some symptoms that denote low levels of blood count in the body are leg cramps, dizziness, rapid heart rates, sleeping problems, etc.
6. Low Sperm Count
This problem is yet another thing that links the rate of testosterone in the body and the sex health for men. The next time you perform sexual activities with your partner focus on the quantity of your sperm. If the volume seems low as compared to previous experiences, check your testosterone levels.
Which Foods Increase Testosterone the Most?
Boosting your testosterone levels naturally is a long-term process. The whole project requires proper weight training, nutrition, resting, and some other small things that add up to promote the healthy levels of this hormone in men. So, let’s have a look at some of the readily available foods that increase testosterone in men.
List of Foods that Increase Testosterone Naturally
- Milk(Low-fat) with Vitamin D
- Egg Yolks
- Fortified cereals
- Shellfish and Oysters
- Portions of beef
What are Testosterone Boosting Foods?
Tuna fish has a substantial amount of Vitamin D, which means longer life and good testosterone production. For those, battling with weight loss, this is a great supplement which provides enough protein and heart-healthy calories. You can increase your testosterone naturally by eating this fish, either fresh or canned. A single serving can fulfil you Vitamin D needs for the day.
If you do not like tuna, try out other fishy sources of Vitamin D which include salmon or sardines. We should also take food-proportion into consideration because too much of anything is harmful. Seafood is a significant source of mercury, so, aim for a two to three servings per week.
2. Milk(Low-fat) with Vitamin D
We already know the benefits of dairy. They are rich in protein, calcium, and other fats. As a child, our mothers have encouraged us to drink our glasses of milk every day for better bone health. This is quite true, to be honest. The vitamin D in the milk helps to keep the testosterone levels along the fine line. But, not all kinds of milk suffice the requirements. While choosing, always pick the one that’s fortified with Vitamin D. Go for low-fat or skimmed versions that provide the same nutrients as whole milk but deprived of saturated fats.
3. Egg Yolks
Egg yolks? But, aren’t they supposed to increase cholesterol in people? Yes, but if taken in moderation, the yellow part has more nutrients than the white outer part. If you do not have any pre-existing cholesterol issues, you can eat one full egg per day. The cholesterol in yolks can help in balancing the testosterone levels in men.
4. Fortified cereals
When we talk about breakfasts, eggs are the next option for many of us. But guess what, eggs are not the only option when you are fighting for high testosterone levels. If you are battling cholesterol issues already, switch to cereal brands that get fortified with Vitamin D. They also boost heart health as a bonus. Just avoid the cereals with high sugar quantity or additives. Just add some skimmed milk, and you have a healthy breakfast that boosts your hormones.
5. Shellfish and Oysters
Zinc is an essential component for proper testosterone levels. You don’t have to go overboard as an occasional serving of lobster or crab can fulfil your Zinc intake. National Institutes of Health has concluded that an Alaskan king crab can provide 43 per cent of your daily zinc requirement from just a 3-ounce serving. Same is the case with Oysters. The meal is different, but they are good sources of Zinc too.
6. Portions of beef
With the increasing health fanatics, red meat has gained a bad reputation over the years. The main reason behind their downfall is their fat content and the possibility of certain cancers, like colon cancer. If you can maintain the levels of fat in the meat and opt for a leaner portion, you can help your body to boost testosterone levels. The liver part of beef is a good source of Vitamin D. Ground beef, and chuck roast contains adequate amounts of Zinc too.
People often neglect the health benefits of seeds. These weirdly-shaped plant extracts are packed with different types of vitamins. Be it white, black, kidney, or any other beans, a proper amount of these foods in your diet can help you fulfil your daily intake of Zinc, and Vitamin D. Baked ones are also beneficial, but it’s best to supplement them with other sources.
Pomegranates are excellent sources of Vitamin C which is vital to stay healthy and maintain excellent levels of testosterone levels. The blood-red colour indicates the presence of antioxidants in an abundant amount. It also boosts your haemoglobin levels. Studies show that consuming pomegranate seeds daily increase testosterone levels by 24 per cent.
You remember “Popeye” busting open a can of green vegetables and boosting his energy? Yes, the substance inside the box is spinach. Spinach is an excellent source of magnesium which plays a vital role in the development of muscle and reproduction. If the body gets enough magnesium, it is easier for the body to increase testosterone levels naturally.
Foods that Hinder the Boost of Testosterone
Okay, we know what to include in the diet. But, some foods can cancel out your dietary benefits of foods that boost testosterone in men. Below discussed are some of the foods that you need to avoid or consume in lesser proportions.
List of Testosterone Killing Foods
1. Soy Products
The thing you should look-out for is phytoestrogens. These compounds mimic the works of estrogen in our body and hinder the proper production of testosterone. Men should avoid foods like tofu, soy protein isolates, Edamame, and some other derivatives. The research on soy is still not transparent enough, but, some studies show the higher levels of estrogen in men who consume soy-products daily.
2. Dairy Products
People looking to increase the levels of testosterone in their body should cut down on their dairy intake. The reason is simple; cow’s milk contains synthetic and natural hormones that might alter the hormonal imbalance of a person. Also, cow’s diet consists of soy which again increases estrogen levels.
Do I even need to talk on this topic? Ethanol has less to none benefits for the human body. For people concerned about their dropping testosterone, consider limiting or completely giving up drinking. The case is stronger with males rather than females. Alcohol disturbs the natural balance of hormones and is harmful to your natural filtration system.
With this, let me debunk the confusion on beers too. Yes, beers have all the minerals required for the human body, but no one drinks beers for their mineral quantity (anymore). Also, hops in beers which act as natural preservatives contain phytoestrogens. If possible, look for a hop-free beer or drink limited quantities.
4. Bread, Desserts, Pastries
According to a journal published in Nutrients, Taiwanese men showed decreased levels of testosterone when their diet had high quantities of food, pastries, and other desserts. Their food also included high dairy consumption and less dark green vegetables. They eventually had lesser muscle mass and increased body fat percentage. Anything from refined sugars and gluten will disrupt your natural insulin sensitivity.
Ah, a nice cup of peppermint and spearmint tea to freshen the mood. But, who knew, the menthol in mint helped in reduction of testosterone. A study paper published by Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin described a particular experiment on rodents with spearmint essential oil. When the female rats with the polycystic ovarian syndrome were injected with the oil, they saw reduced levels of testosterone.
Thus, including the above-mentioned foods and avoiding some eatables can help you maintain the optimum testosterone levels. The list of foods that boost testosterone in men is long, but picking up some of them and slowly changing your eating habits can show great improvement in the long-run.