Some foods, including soy, dairy, and specific fats, may lower testosterone levels in the body.
However, a person can also increase testosterone levels naturally, by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthful weight.
The food a person eats can affect many aspects of their health, not just their waistline. Food powers the cells and may affect some of the body’s other components, including hormones, such as testosterone.
Consuming too much of certain foods may throw the body’s hormones out of balance or make it more difficult for the body to use hormones correctly.
Testosterone is one of the major sex hormones in the body. Although men produce more testosterone, it is an important hormone for women as well. Testosterone promotes an increase in muscle mass, bone mass, body hair, and influences reproduction.
Typically, the body does an effective job regulating the hormones and keeping levels of testosterone where they need to be.
However, some foods may interfere with this process by unbalancing the hormone levels. People worried about their testosterone levels might choose to avoid the following foods.
A study in the journal German Medical Science notes that although scientists have carried out a lot of research into soy, they still do not understand it fully.
The paper notes that many studies have not found a connection between eating soy products and altered serum testosterone or estrogen levels. However, another study showed that breast tenderness and estrogen concentrations returned to normal after a man stopped using soy.
The researchers suggested that phytoestrogens in soy might affect the body without changing the body’s hormone levels, which could cause symptoms of high estrogen.
Researchers need to do more high-quality research in both males and females to identify the exact effects of soy in the body.
Many people looking to raise their testosterone levels might choose to avoid dairy products. This may be because some cow’s milk contains synthetic or natural hormones, which might affect a person’s testosterone levels.
Also, animal feed may contain soy, which could increase the levels of estrogen in the cow’s milk.
Anyone with concerns about their testosterone levels might also consider giving up or limiting drinking alcohol. This may be especially true for males.
While some studies have found evidence that a small amount of alcohol increases testosterone levels in men, this is generally not the case. As a study posted to Current Drug Abuse Review notes, heavy drinking or regular drinking over long periods causes a decrease of testosterone in males.
The paper also notes that alcohol consumption causes an increase in testosterone levels in women.
Peppermint and spearmint may make a calming tea, but the menthol in mint may reduce testosterone levels.
According to a study paper in Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin, scientists treated female rats with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with spearmint essential oil to test its effects on the disorder. Researchers noted that spearmint essential oil reduced testosterone levels in these rats.
A review posted to BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine also noted that there is some high-quality evidence showing that mint lowers testosterone levels in women with PCOS. However, there is not enough high-quality evidence surrounding the effect of the herb in general.
Most of the research on the topic focuses on animal models or women. Future studies should investigate the effects of mint in both sexes to get a better overall picture.
A study in the journal Nutrients linked a diet high in bread, pastries, and other desserts to low total testosterone levels in Taiwanese men. Additional factors included high dairy consumption, eating out regularly, and not eating enough dark green vegetables.
According to the article, these men also had decreased muscle mass and increased body fat.
A study in Integrative Medicine Research notes that licorice root can reduce testosterone in healthy women during menstrual cycles. Animal studies also show that licorice supplementation can reduce testosterone levels.
Ideally, any future studies would look into the effects of licorice on both sexes to better understand how the herb acts in general.
The type of fat a person eats may also affect their testosterone levels and function. A study in the Asian Journal of Andrology looked at the dietary patterns of young, healthy men in regards to their hormone levels and testicular function.
Their research indicated that eating trans fats may lower testosterone levels in the body. They also found that too many omega-6 fatty acids appear to reduce testicular size and function.
However, eating plenty of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids may increase testicle size and improve function. The researchers called for more studies to confirm their findings, but people who are worried about their testosterone levels may want to avoid trans fats and limit omega-6 fats.
Other factors that may influence hormone imbalances or low testosterone include:
There may also be some ways to boost testosterone naturally, including:
- eating a more balanced diet focused on fresh foods
- avoiding overeating
- avoiding obesity
- doing regular exercise
- getting plenty of sleep each night
Diet and exercise play an essential role in maintaining good health and keeping the hormones balanced. Some foods, such as dairy, fats, and soy, may reduce testosterone levels in the body. Anyone who has concerns about their testosterone levels may want to avoid these foods.