When a man is looking to lose weight, build muscle or gain weight, sometimes testosterone is blamed. However, it looks like what is eaten may play a major role in whether or not testosterone levels are normal. Men of all sizes may have lower testosterone than is actually healthy for the body. It is quite apparent, too, that the balance is a delicate one.
Calorie counts and calorie sources play a major role.
Some in the body building industry recommend fasting to clear the body of toxins and other harmful build up. However, testosterone levels can be lowered significantly in just five days of fasting. While five days doesn't seem like much, and while it may be all right to do it once in a while, regular fasting is definitely not a good idea. Not only are testosterone levels affected, but muscle starts breaking down and energy levels get too low to allow for proper focus or activity.
Conversely, when body fat starts increasing, testosterone levels often decrease as well. Again, the same lack of energy and muscle breakdown can occur. Testosterone levels are important to keep even. When levels are up and down or consistently low, it can cause problems with maintaining muscle or building it, depression, and may increase risk for diseases like heart disease. It's a pretty important hormone for men. There are some foods that can help increase testosterone levels when they're low.
Zinc plays an important role in increasing and maintaining testosterone levels. Foods that have loads of zinc that are easy to eat, delicious and quick to prepare include the following:
- Oysters - These are high in zinc and protein. They also contain quite a bit of magnesium which is important for bone growth, among other things.
- Lean Beef - It can come in steak form or roast form, but the important thing is that in addition to loads of zinc, it also contains lots of protein and magnesium.
- Beans - While protein levels aren't necessarily as high as one would get from meat, they do contain a lot of zinc. They're also good for providing daily fiber.
On the other side of the equation is what happens when there is an increase in fat. The more fat there is, the more the body converts testosterone into estradiol. Estradiol is a type of estrogen that does a number of negative things in a man's body when there's too much of it. The main negative side effect is an increase in fat accumulation. There's a substance called Indole-3-carbinol that can help reduce the amounts of estradiol in the body which, in turn, can help preserve healthy testosterone levels. They are also good for helping prevent cancerous growth and promote repair of cellular DNA. Foods that have a lot of Indole-3-carbinol are:
- Broccoli - It's got a lot of Indole-3-carbinol and it also contains high levels of fiber.
- Cabbage - When getting Indole-3-carbinol via cabbage intake, a person will get a lot of fiber, as with broccoli.
- Brussels sprouts - Like broccoli and cabbage, Brussels sprouts contain tons of Indole-3-carbinol and fiber.
With the exception of oysters, which should only be eaten about once a week, the rest of the foods can be eaten more frequently. It's recommended that protein intake be balanced between beef, chicken and beans, but when it comes to the vegetables that help promote healthy testosterone levels, a person can eat as much as desired, for the most part. The best way to prep the vegetables is to steam or roast them so that more of the healthy nutrients stay within.
Remember when embarking on a new diet or changing up a current one, even testosterone is a key to most goals, whether the goal is to lose weight or bulk up with more muscle.Last Updated: Thursday, August 16, 2012