How Your Diet Can Optimise Your Testosterone Levels
All hormones are important in the right balance for your optimal health and wellbeing. One important hormone for men’s health is testosterone. Testosterone plays many important functions such as creating a healthy libido, promoting strong bones, supporting muscle mass growth, and erythropoiesis or the production of red blood cells. There are many factors which affect your levels of testosterone and one of these is your diet.
There are a number of nutrients which play important roles in production of optimal testosterone levels. These include:
- Eating Enough Calories to Be a Healthy Body Weight
Both being overweight and underweight is linked to a reduction in testosterone levels. By eating a diet which provides the right number of calories to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight is a key component to achieving optimal testosterone levels. On top of the calorie’s food provide, meeting the amount of serves in each food group recommended for health will also promote not only a healthy body weight but a well-functioning body. Whole foods not only provide calories but a matrix of nutrients which support your health including optimal levels of testosterone.
- Include Enough Fat
Fat is needed to produce testosterone. This does not mean that excess fat is superior but rather a healthy balance of unsaturated fat. The sweet spot for testosterone levels seems to be around 30%. One systematic review and meta-analysis found that men who followed a lot fat diet of 20% fat had 10-15% lower testosterone levels than those men who followed a high fat diet of 40%.
Above the amount of fat present in your diet it is important to include types of fat which support optimal testosterone levels. Specifically monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats seem to have a positive effect on testosterone. Monounsaturated fats can be found in foods such as avocado, extra virgin olive oil, and nuts. Omega-3 fat can be found in good amounts in fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies, herring, and mackerel. Omega-3 fat can also be found in plant foods such as chia seeds, walnuts, and hemp seeds.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and acts as a hormone in your body. It has been found that men who have low levels of vitamin D have significantly lower levels of testosterone than men with optimal levels. Vitamin D is best sourced from the sun but can also be found in foods such as seafood like seafood, dairy foods, egg yolk, and fortified products.
Zinc is a mineral which has a direct link to testosterone levels. As a result, having adequate amount of zinc in your diet is important. Foods rich in zinc include seafood, meat, poultry, nuts, seeds, legumes, and wholegrains, or wholegrain containing foods like Corn Thins slices.
Magnesium is a mineral which is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. Several studies report a link between adequate levels of magnesium and levels of testosterone. Good sources of magnesium include wholegrains, or wholegrain containing foods such as Corn Thins slices, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans.
Flavonoids are a phytonutrient found in plants. They have many health promoting effects in your body including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions. They also have aromatase inhibitors which prevent the conversion of testosterone to estradiol, the primary form of estrogen in your body. Foods rich in flavonoids include fruits, vegetables, and tea.
Take home message: Having adequate levels of testosterone is important for health and plays a number of functions. Your diet can influence your levels of testosterone in many ways. If you feel like your levels of testosterone are suboptimal, make sure you are ticking all the boxes above in your diet to help promote optimal levels of testosterone.
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