There is an undeniable link between diet and health. For centuries, people have used food as medicine- and for good reason. In the US, over half of the adult population has one or more chronic conditions caused by poor dietary habits or a lack of physical activity. Diet impacts all aspects of our health including everything from weight and heart health to your hormones.
Research shows an inverse relationship between testosterone and insulin, meaning that any foods that significantly raise insulin also lower testosterone. This can lead to moodiness and irritability, increased body fat, and a low sex drive— and while it’s a more common condition in men, low testosterone impacts women as well.
This blog discusses the inverse effect of insulin-rich foods on testosterone in men and women, and treatments that can assist with low testosterone levels. For personalized advice, contact our friendly and knowledgeable team at Okojie Wellness today.
Why are Testosterone Levels Important?
Testosterone (also referred to as T) is a hormone that can be found in almost every organ system of the body. It offers a number of benefits, but when levels are low, you may experience frustrating and disruptive symptoms.
Testosterone levels naturally decrease as we age, but there are treatments available if levels become too low. For most men, testosterone production decreases by 1-2% each year after 20 to 30 years of age.
You may experience some of the following physical, emotional, or sexual symptoms if you have low T:
- Decreased muscle mass or increased body fat
- Loss of body or facial hair
- Low energy or reduced strength
- Low sex drive or erectile dysfunction
- Irritability or depression
- Low confidence or reduced sense of wellbeing.
Which Foods Can Lower Testosterone?
Any food that raises insulin significantly can have a negative effect on testosterone, such as:
1. Processed/Refined Carbohydrates
Foods made with processed sugar contain large amounts of refined carbohydrates. This includes most of the ‘white’ foods, like white bread, white pasta, and white rice.
The body digests refined carbs quickly, meaning sugar is released into the blood just as quickly, which then spikes insulin. Elevated blood sugar is associated with drops in testosterone. But it’s not just food— sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks, and pre-workout drinks are common culprits as well.
2. Foods Made with Hydrogenated Oils
Hydrogenated oils are a type of fat that keeps food fresher for longer. Hydrogenated oils such as margarine are often found in packaged snacks, fried foods, and baked foods, especially those that are pre-made. This type of oil is frequently used in items like cookies, caked, and brownies.
3. Starchy Vegetables
White potatoes are a well-known— and much-loved— starchy vegetable, they’re packed with carbohydrates. As mentioned earlier, this will raise your insulin and therefore cause a drop in testosterone, so it may be best to decrease your potato consumption if you have low testosterone levels.
4. Soy and Soy Products
Soy products like tofu, edamame, and soy milk are high in phytoestrogens as well as soy. Phytoestrogens imitate the effects estrogen has on the body, which in turn can reduce testosterone.
Both spearmint and peppermint can contribute to a decrease in testosterone levels, although this has primarily been studied on animals and in women so far.
6. Licorice root
The name may sound like it just means licorice, but it isn’t related to the candy. Licorice root is used to sweeten food and drinks, and is also used in medicines to treat chronic pain and persistent coughing.
How Can I Increase My Testosterone?
Commencing testosterone treatment by taking testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can increase your testosterone back up to normal levels. TRT is a recognized medical treatment for increasing blood concentration of testosterone, and therefore decreasing symptoms associated with low testosterone levels.
At Okojie Wellness we take a holistic approach to calculate your free testosterone level, giving us the most accurate reading of what your body can use. For personalized medical advice regarding testosterone therapy, book an appointment with one of our experienced physicians.
Give us a call on 971-238-8477 or contact us to make a booking.