What are some other good foods? Here is a favorite: broccoli. Broccoli has compounds that keep us from making bad estrogen. Some testosterone gets converted to estrogen. Now, here is the crazy thing we are going to learn more about in the future: Guys need estrogen. A few decades back, it was kind of radical to say women need testosterone, and now, it is totally accepted. So, guess what? Guys need a little estrogen. There is increasing data that when men have too little estrogen, it causes health problems with brain aging and bone aging. So, we need some estrogen, but we can easily get too much. Broccoli has many good compounds that help us regulate that. You may hear concerns that broccoli harms your thyroid function. If you are living somewhere where goiters are common because of iron deficiency, then this effect of broccoli is small and subtle. If you are anywhere else in the modern world, where we fortify our salt with iodine, the effect is nil – not at all relevant. So, have your broccoli and enjoy it, as it is good stuff.
Another food I love for a lot of reasons is Brazil nuts. We need selenium for producing testosterone and allowing ourselves to respond more effectively to it. We can easily get low in selenium. Brazil nuts are so potent in selenium, you can actually get too much. Two or three nuts a day, on average, is about what you need. Just a few of them make a big difference.
There are also some common parts of the diet that work against your body’s production and use of testosterone. Public enemy number one is fructose. This is the most dangerous part of sugar and ironically, even things like fruit juices and dried fruits have fructose. So, in terms of actual amounts, you want to keep your sugar intake (especially fructose) down to a few grams per meal at most. Really avoid all dense sources of sugar and all the processed foods that contain it. If that sounds like a big step to take, give it a shot for a week, and go one hundred percent. Here is my motivation for saying that: I have seen time and again that if someone tries to reduce their sugar intake, they are still in that craving cascade. They are still getting enough to be addicted, so they’re struggling and exerting a lot of willpower. If you actually ditch the stuff for a week, it really is not that big of a deal. Your taste buds change. Your brain chemistry changes, your blood sugar improves and you will not be missing it. So often, we think our cravings are core elements of our personality or psychology, but many are not. Many are just functions of our blood sugar getting thrown all around, and that’s what a lot of sugar cravings are. So, make it easy: Ditch the stuff for a week, and do not look back.
The other big thing that works against testosterone is alcohol. There has been some talk in public press and popular literature that alcohol promotes health. Honestly, from looking hard at the data, I do not really see that. If your blood is thin because of alcohol, you’re less apt to have a stroke or a heart attack, but you can easily get the same benefits from fish, nuts, seeds, garlic or ginger. The detriment of alcohol is it causes our fats to make very dangerous estrogens that block testosterone. It also puts our body into a state of harming our brain cells. Studies have shown how the size of your brain changes as you age. The most well-known brain doctor, Dr. Dan, says when it comes to the brain, size does matter, so you want to keep your brain volume sustained. Every serving of alcohol you have – even if it’s only one a week – causes you to have less brain volume than those that have less alcohol. So, the detriments of alcohol are clear.
What about alcohol and cancer? As a woman, if you have over three small servings of alcohol a week, every amount is raising your risk of breast cancer higher and higher. Many have argued that ninety percent of cancers result from obesity, tobacco and alcohol, so those are the big three. Alcohol is a strong carcinogen. Personally, I am sure I have my bias, but I do not have the strongest liver so could never function as an alcoholic. It’s a way to weaken the liver. I probably have about 6-10 drinks per year, if even that. I do not formally drink, but have noticed when I do drink, my functionality is down for days. I am not at my sharpest nor performing at my physical best. So, I would rather be better for longer periods of time than to have a short, truncated period of time being disoriented. So, an easy way to raise your testosterone and your vitality is to drop the alcohol. If that is not compelling enough to stop or slow drinking, then think about your skin. Each serving of alcohol is also damaging your collagen layers, causing your skin to age faster and become wrinkly much more quickly because of the collagen loss.
The last big food that affects your testosterone level is wheat. There is no shortage of data beating up wheat nowadays, but it does have detrimental, hormonal effects in terms of shifting your testosterone and estrogen subtype ratios. This is even separate from its roles with celiac disease, as an intolerant food or affecting digestion. It is simply more of an estrogen-type food.
So, lower the wheat, the sugar and the alcohol. Have some oysters if you can stomach them. You may even acquire the taste, as I love them. Throw in some Brazil nuts, some pumpkin seeds and some broccoli. The big picture is your sleep, relationships, connections, freeing up your time and managing your body’s whole fight state. This is good, targeted training, and you can become more energized. You can recover from exercise easier, and enjoy it more. So take care, and we will talk again real soon.