One of the main reasons I decide to approach this subject is because I myself have been a bit worried recently that some of the food I eat could harm my testosterone levels. After all, certain foods can boost testosterone, so it’s normal to expect that other food items can lower it.
And since low testosterone can have a very negative impact on how we live our lives, it’s not something that should be taken lightly. I mean, we’re looking at a low sex drive, increased body fat, reduced fertility, an increase in the refractory period (basically, the time it takes you to be able to have sex again) - among other issues.
That’s why I wanted to discuss the top five foods that seriously harm our testosterone levels, and also share everything I find with all of you.
So, without further ado, let’s see who the main culprits are:
1. Soy Products Can Shut Down Your Body’s Production of Testosterone
The problem with soy is that it contains isoflavones (daidzein, genistein, and glycitein, to be specific). These are compounds that end up acting as phytoestrogens (basically, an imitation of estrogen) in your body.
That’s not a speculation - phytoestrogens are actually structurally and functionally similar to mammalian estrogen and its corresponding active metabolites. So, you can expect them to have similar effects to estrogen in your body.
And, well, you don’t have to be a scientist to know that having high levels of estrogen in your body, as a man, can significantly lower your testosterone levels.
Plus, I should also mention that consuming isoflavones can result in equol (a type of isoflavone metabolized from daidzein) forming in your gut. The problem is that equol is a rather strong anti-androgen, which means it can actually stop the activity of dihydrotestosterone/DHT (the most powerful androgen there is) altogether.
Other things you should know about soy products and testosterone levels:
Of course, it is possible to find some studies that showcase how consuming soy products doesn’t impact testosterone levels too much or at all. However, in such situations, you should try finding out who sponsored those studies, as they’re often backed by large soy brands and producers. So, they are biased.
Naturally, I recommend avoiding soy products completely. In case you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, I advise substituting soybeans with actual beans. They’re low in fat, and contain a decent amount of protein, fiber, and zinc, which help boost testosterone levels.
2. Shrimp - The Inorganic Kind, That Is
Shrimps don’t just pack a lot of nutrients. They’re also considered a decent, exotic aphrodisiac. So, it’s only natural that you would add this to your diet.
But be careful when doing so. You need to make sure you are eating organic shrimp. Why? Because inorganic shrimp is usually treated with a pesticide that’s called 4-hexyl resorcinol. The pesticide is used to prevent the shrimp from developing “blackspot,” a natural-occurring discoloration.
Well, it just so happens that this pesticide actually imitates estrogen to the point where it can lower your testosterone levels. Moreover, this chemical has even been linked to a reduced sperm count in men.
Now, I’m not saying you need to give up on shrimp completely. But you do need to make an effort to buy only organic products. So, when buying shrimp, ask the vendors if it’s imported or caught locally. If it’s not possible, try seeing if there’s at least a certificate of sustainability on the product.
3. Flaxseed Products Contain Estrogenic Compounds
Flaxseeds are pretty popular nowadays. You’re very likely to see any self-proclaimed “health nut” on Instagram pouring flaxseeds in their porridge, or sprinkling them over it. And it’s all because Flaxseed products are proclaimed to be extremely healthy.
True, that’s not exactly a lie. After all, flaxseeds actually contain a decent amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for preventing high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as reducing fat in the liver.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to consuming flaxseed products - especially if you’re a man. See, the problem with them is that they are quite a rich source of lignans. What are lignans, you ask? Phytoestrogens, essentially, so you already know they are detrimental to your testosterone levels.
That’s not all, though. A study also showcased that it’s possible for lignans to reduce free testosterone levels while also suppressing a certain enzyme in your body, namely 5-a reductase. Well, said enzyme is responsible for converting testosterone into DHT.
Furthermore, lignans can increase the levels of the Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). That globulin can bind into free-testosterone molecules and effectively make them “inactive,” which means androgen receptors cannot directly use them.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, here are two specific studies:
- 40 male subjects were given a dose of 30g of flaxseeds per day for a month. At the end of the study, the subjects experienced an approximately 10% decrease in testosterone.
- 25 male subjects were given the same amount as above.. The results were that their testosterone levels dropped around 15%, while their free testosterone levels went down by approximately 20%.
4. Microwaveable Popcorn Contains Testosterone-Hostile Chemicals
Yes, our quintessential movie night snack can actually endanger our testosterone levels. And there’s two reasons why.
First, there’s the fact that most microwaveable popcorn products are seasoned with butter that’s full of PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty-acid) oils. Well, these oils are loaded with omega-6 fatty-acids , which can disrupt the omega-3 and omega-6 levels in your body, thus decreasing testosterone production.
Furthermore, a study also found that PUFA oils can reduce the serum concentrations of free testosterone and testosterone in men ().
The second problem with microwaveable popcorn is that the lining of the bag is chock-full of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). According to one study, PFOA can have some serious negative effects on humans:
My advice? Forget about microwavable popcorn as a movie snack, and opt for something more practical (both in terms of nutrition and testosterone-boosting abilities) and tasty, like beef jerky, for instance.
Still, if you’re really adamant about eating popcorn while relaxing with a good movie, I suggest getting some quality kernels, and popping them on the stove. Also, be sure to use a fruit-based oils, such as coconut, palm, olive, or avocado oil.
5. Too Much Alcohol Can Lead to High Estrogen Levels
I know, I know - alcohol consumption is usually associated with manly, testosterone-heavy behavior (especially in the media). Some of the toughest fictional characters you see online or on the TV are alcoholics.
However, the reality is far from it. For example, beer actually contains two chemicals that can increase estrogen levels: Phytoestrogen and prolactin, which can be found in hops and barley. Wine and bourbon also contain chemicals like these.
But before I start discussing how alcohol impacts your testosterone levels more in-depth, let me make one thing clear: It all depends on how much alcohol you drink. So, if you like relaxing with a beer after a long day of work and going to the gym, that’s not a huge problem.
Now, here’s why you should never overdo it when drinking:
And in case you’re still having some doubts about how excessive alcohol intake can ruin your testosterone and flood your body with estrogen, you can check out this guy’s video to see documented proof of this.
The Bottom Line
If you care about your body, manhood, and testosterone levels, it’s important to make sure you eat and drink right. Some of the items on this list can be enjoyed in moderation (like alcohol), but I still advise you avoid the more serious ones (like microwavable popcorn and soy).
I really hope this list helped you as much as it helped me. While doing the research for this article, I came across things I didn’t knew before, and I hope the information will help you safeguard your testosterone levels in the future.
Feel free to leave any comments in the section below. I’m really looking forward to hearing if you enjoyed this rundown - especially if you have any extra insights to offer, or would like to mention other foods that should be present on this list.
Oh, and be sure to share this article if you found it useful. It’s paramount to get this sort of info across to as many men as we can so that they can enjoy an overall better quality of life.