Hear the word “hormones” and what comes to mind?
Food probably isn’t the first thing that pops up, but you might be surprised to learn how big of a role it plays in the daily and long term regulation of our natural hormone levels. We talked in a previous blog (see here) about the role hormones play in regulating hunger – aka telling you if you’re hungry or full – but it can also work the opposite way.
What you put in your mouth matters and if you want to perform at your peak for years to come then there has never been a better time to get on track.
Food & Testosterone
Your body likes consistency and your eating schedule is a great example of this. Eat fairly consistently day-to-day and your body gets on track with regulating your hunger hormones to match. This ensures you stay fueled for what your body expects may be coming your way.
Unfortunately, today’s hectic world doesn’t always allow for it and we can pay for it with energy crashes and fluctuations when we find ourselves out of routine.
For the fellas, there can be benefits of some more non-traditional schedules like intermittent fasting (we’ll get to that later) but the truth is you just need to work to find a schedule that’s realistic for your day.
There’s nothing magic in eating 6 meals versus 2, but whatever you do consistently your body will get used to.
If you’re reading this we can comfortably assume you’d love to build some muscle and lower your body fat. We know healthy testosterone levels are our ally in this battle of the bulge so we need our food to be working for us, not against us.
Don't get stuck in the cycle: higher body fat = less testosterone = less muscle mass.
Making a few needed shifts in your diet to optimize fat loss is going to be the first key.
Building muscle is a must but often times testosterone levels will be lower in relation to the amount of bodyfat on one’s body.
We’d love to chase the unicorn and get jack shredded all at once, but focusing on muscle maintenance while lowering body fat is the first low hanging fruit.
If you’re trying to eat to reduce your body fat, it may seem obvious that whole foods are the way to go….we love that. But there are great whole foods that can actually help to support daily hormone production as well as some that can work against it.
These might surprise you:
What Foods To Eat
Healthy Fats – Getting healthy fats like egg yolk, seafood, and nuts in your diet isn’t only a great way to help you stay full while eating less, but they can improve your good cholesterol. Ding Ding Ding!!!
We have a winner!
Cholesterol is a precursor to hormone production so this is a great thing. Also, if you talk to many docs they’ll tell you that just about everyone could benefit from supplementing with Vitamin D - rarely found in foods and mostly created through exposure to sunlight.
You can however get some amounts in eggs and fish. This vitamin is actually known to block estrogen and raise testosterone, which for many fellas is a solid double whammy.
Cruciferous Vegetables – These veggies include broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and kale; they are allies in the battle against hormone deficiencies for men.
They are what we call aromatase inhibitors - Aromatase is an enzyme that turns testosterone into estrogen.
Not exactly what you want when you’re trying to elevate testosterone levels. Veggies like these also have a compound that lowers the estrogen you already have…….so double up on those veggies to make an impact.
Grapes – The Greeks often have paintings of men crafted as the epitome of manliness, with their muscular bodies and robes lounging around eating grapes… they were on to something. The skin of red grapes have a testosterone-boosting compound that is also found in anabolic steroids. Bring on the juice!.....(get it?)
Getting a natural source of resveratrol can (legally) boost your testosterone without having the negative side affects that come along with steroids.
P.S. Grapes can also make your sperm better swimmers.
Honey – This natural sweetener may come as a surprise, but it does have a few qualities that can boost your testosterone.
It has a mineral called boron, which is linked to high levels of testosterone.
It also acts as a vasodilator, opening up your blood vessels to provide better blood flow during workouts or even an erection. So what we’re saying is, a little bit of honey can lead to better sessions in the weight room and the bedroom.
Garlic – Garlic contains a stress-hormone lowering compound and if we can lower stress levels then – you guessed it – we can elevate testosterone. Testosterone and cortisol (stress hormone) are constantly at battle inside of your cells so any leverage we can get over cortisol is a good thing.
What Foods To Avoid
Dairy – The way that dairy is produced now is really the problem unlike the milk your great great grandfather may have used to drink. Research isn’t conclusive but the synthetic/artificial hormones found in cow’s milk may alter the hormones your body produces. If you’re like us you don’t want to “wait” for the research to prove it.
If your body senses a high amount of testosterone, it will stop naturally producing it. However, the testosterone from the dairy isn’t going to have the same benefits as what’s produced naturally inside the body.
Alcohol – This doesn’t mean a couple drinks spread out over the course of a week is going to affect your testosterone. It’s more heavy drinking or regular drinking over a long period of time that does the damage.
This can’t really come as much of a surprise though. Anyone looking to become healthier in any aspect of their body should know that limiting alcohol as much as possible is usually a good first step.
Even just a few drinks though have been shown to negatively impact testosterone levels in the short term.
When in doubt – cut it out!
Processed foods – The food industry could be crushing your hormone levels. Seriously though, we know that many processed foods are crap. We’re not going to dance around it and if you don’t like it then suck it up or pay the toll later in life.
Many (not all) are filled with artificial ingredients, chemicals, tons of sodium, and a whole lot of other garbage.
Would a you put crap oil in a high performance car? Of course you wouldn’t because you’re smarter than that and you know it’s a shortcut leading to a blowout down the road.
They may not directly lower testosterone levels but they can indirectly impact them by adding to excess calories that lack the nutrient density your body is likely in need of.
What To Do About It
There’s a lot of information out there and a lot of it is conflicting. It’s hard to decide what steps to take with your nutrition and which ones to leave behind.
Good food, mixed with great workouts and a dash of better sleep are a killer foundation. If you want to time collapse your progress and optimize your daily function then some of the other food tips in here could also help to get you on the right track.
Best thing you can do........ Find a group of men with the same lifestyle and health goals and stay accountable.
This is exactly why we created the Mansformation Challenge.
As dudes we’re not always great at asking for help or admitting that we need coaching and someone watching over our shoulder on occasion to hold our feet to the fire.
This special program limited to just 20 men starts in September. Turn-key and results guaranteed this 8 week program is built around getting you on track and optimizing your performance in all aspects of life.
When your health & fitness are on track then everything else seems to fall into place.
Want to find out more? Click here for details and no matter what you do….get to work on your body and health because there has never been a better time than now.