“Are bananas bad for testosterone levels?”
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me that, I’d realistically be able to afford a few bananas at least.
Jokes aside, I’m quite surprised just how much of a stigma these fruits carry when it comes to discussing male health. Not only do many men seem to think bananas damage their T levels, they attribute that to the fruit’s nutritional value. After all, your average banana has around 89-110 calories per serving (approximately 100 grams).
And that seems to be the main issue many men have with bananas. They actually believe that, because of their caloric content, bananas might cause a lot of weight gain. I’ve also heard other men complain about bananas being a “waste of calories” because - as they put it - “there are plenty of other protein/fiber-rich foods in that calorie range that are better than bananas.”
First, let’s address the weight gain bit. Eating bananas won’t make you gain fat because of their caloric value - as long as you don’t overdo it, obviously. Basically, I’m talking about eating 10 bananas a day or so without doing any physical activity.
Always remember - your body normally consumes more calories than it burns, so you need to make sure you’re engaging in physical activity to enhance the calorie-burning process, while also making the extra calories really count. And believe me - bananas are an excellent way to capitalize on those extra calories.
How come? Well, the fruit itself contains plenty of healthy nutrients, but we’ll get to that in a bit. For now, let’s focus on its 2 main nutritional factors that influence the relationship between bananas and testosterone: Carbohydrates and sugar.
One banana generally has around 27 grams of carbohydrates, and you’re likely to hear many people blame the weight gain aspect of bananas on that. However, did you actually know that carbohydrates are essential for optimal T levels?
Yeah, not many people would tell you this, but in order to enhance your testosterone levels, you need to consume various macronutrients, and carbs are among the most important ones.
Don’t take my word for it alone, though. Consider this - carbohydrates are so vital that they are actually able to influence the main neurons in your brain, namely the ones that are responsible for releasing the master hormone (GnRH) which is responsible for starting up the body’s testosterone production.
Oh yeah, and let’s put the whole “you only need protein not carbs” myth to rest while we’re at it too. Here’s a study showing just how important an adequate balance between proteins and carbs is. According to it, men who engaged in physical activity and only focused on an intake of proteins with little to no carbs essentially experienced suppressed testosterone production.
So, adding a few bananas into your diet to complement your protein intake is definitely a smart move.
One banana tends to have around 12-14 grams of sugar per serving. Once again, sugar seems to be considered a testosterone boogieman, as its mere name is usually associated with getting fat.
But did you know that sugar is basically a type of carbohydrate? Yep, that means it’s likely to have some of the testosterone-enhancing properties I mentioned above. What’s more, sugar is what mainly fuels your thyroid gland, which - in turn - is responsible for controlling your body’s metabolic rate.
And research shows that, as long as an adequate content of sugars is stored in your liver, your body has an easier time converting the T4 hormone into the T3 form, basically enhancing your body’s energy and metabolic rate.
Of course, I’m not advocating you start ingesting tons of sweet sugary foods. It’s important to understand that to enjoy all those health benefits I discussed, you have to consume the right type of sugar. Don’t forget - sugar mainly comes in 4 types:
The ones you should focus on are glucose and fructose (especially since fructose is also present in your gonads and sperm, in case you didn’t know), and you should do your best to get them from sources like honey, potatoes, and - naturally - fruits.
Besides that, sugar has got plenty of other health-boosting advantages too:
“But what about that study that showed how sugar lowers T levels?”
You mean this one? Yeah, I’m quite familiar with it. For those of you who aren’t aware of what it’s about, it’s research showing how 66 men who received 75 grams of sugar in the form of glucose immediately experienced a dip in T levels by around 25%.
However, there are certain things I need to discuss here:
So, it’s easy to see how the sugar found in bananas won’t make you fat, and will - in fact - help your overall health and the testosterone production in your body.Lastly, regarding this topic, I’d also like to mention that ripe bananas (the yellow ones) are the ones that have a decent amount of sugar in them. Unripe bananas (the green ones, essentially) have a higher composition of starch in them. During the ripening process, all that starch gets converted into sugar.
Starch is another type of carbohydrate, and while I haven’t found anything pointing to it being beneficial for testosterone production directly, it’s worth noting that starch is pretty good at offering you an extended feeling of satiety. Basically, that means you’ll feel full for longer after consuming starch.
So, something worth keeping in mind when picking out the bananas at the store.
Bananas and Testosterone - Other Nutrients Worth Mentioning
Sugar and carbohydrates aren’t the only health and testosterone-boosting nutrients found in bananas. These fruits are chock-full of many other amazing micronutrients as well, and I’m going to go over each one of them in-depth to show you that there’s no reason to worry that bananas are going to steal your gains.
So, let’s get started:
Magnesium (27 mg)
Magnesium offers plenty of health benefits like helping calm nerves, enhancing energy production, and preventing migraines. Oh yeah, and it also helps with muscle cramps too.Well, this little nutrient can also do wonders for your T levels. For one, Magnesium has actually been found to increase free testosterone levels in men’s bodies - especially when they engage in intense physical activity.
That’s not all, though. Magnesium is also an excellent dietary addition for older men. That’s because, according to this study, older men who had high serum Magnesium levels also had high testosterone levels.
Oh yeah, and your body actually needs Magnesium to create carbs, fats, and protein. And it’s also been found that Magnesium can help out guys with low T levels too.
Manganese (0.3 mg)
Manganese has been found to have a direct stimulating effect in the brain regarding the Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). If you recall, I already mentioned that said hormone is responsible for producing testosterone.
“But can’t Manganese also reduce T levels?”
Yes, it actually can, but only when overdosing on it. Luckily, bananas have quite a small quantity of Manganese, so this isn’t an issue.
Vitamin B6 (0.4 mg)
Vitamin B6 is well-known for its ability to help people combat bad moods, and keep fatigue at bay too (which sounds perfect after an intense workout, right?).
But besides that, vitamin B6 is also great at enhancing T levels. For instance, did you know that this vitamin promotes the production of androgens in your body? Yep, and androgens are directly linked to high testosterone production.
On top of that, vitamin B6 can also keep prolactin levels down. If you don’t know what that is, it’s basically a hormone that’s responsible for lowering T levels in male bodies. It’s also known as one of the causes behind the “man boob” syndrome.
Lastly, here’s a study showing how low levels of vitamin B6 are linked to low levels of circulating testosterone in the body, essentially showcasing just how important this micronutrient is.
Vitamin C (8.7 mg)
Besides being a vital vitamin for human survival, vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant in the body. I’ve already mentioned how antioxidants benefits testosterone, but there is something else worth discussing regarding Vitamin C, namely that it can lower cortisol levels.
If you don’t know what cortisol is, it’s basically a stress hormone that can actually rise following strenuous exercise. As a result, vitamin C should help enhance the balance between cortisol and testosterone in your body, which is ideal for men who train hard.
Potassium (358 mg)
Potassium is quite great at stabilizing blood sugar levels, preventing cramps, strengthening muscles, and even reducing muscle disorders. Obviously, it’s quite an ideal nutrient for any man who works out.
But what about its relationship to testosterone? Well, while I haven’t been able to find too much info on this, I did come across this study carried out on mice. Basically, according to it, potassium can help modulate circulating testosterone, thus exerting a regulatory role when it comes to controlling androgen actions.
Also, here’s other research showing how potassium deficiency can cause a serious decrease in plasma testosterone.
Zinc (0.2 mg)
While the amount is small, keep in mind that even the slightest amount of Zinc can help enhance T levels for men - both for those who are athletes or just normal people. Not only that, but Zinc also tends to act as an estrogen-blocker.
Furthermore, Zinc is considered an aphrodisiac, (which is why foods rich in Zinc - like oysters - are seen as aphrodisiacs as well), and there’s some truth to that. For example, this study found that Zinc can increase sexual competence in male rats. And since human male reproductive systems are similar to those of male rats, the results of that study are relevant for us too.
To Sum It All Up, Bananas and Testosterone Go Hand in Hand
There’s really no reason to think that bananas can harm testosterone production in your body. As I’ve just shown you, they are chock-full of amazing nutrients - all of which do their part to help optimize your T levels.
So yes, you should definitely throw a banana or two into the mix to enhance your diet. Plus, if you’re going to the gym, bananas are an excellent way to add even more nutritional value to the post-workout protein shake - not to mention it offers the shake an even better taste!
Just remember - eating only bananas and nothing else won’t give you the testosterone boost you want. You need to add them to your existing diet to complement its testosterone-enhancing qualities.