Among the large number of hormones that control all kinds of metabolic functions in humans is testosterone the responsible for regulating the sex drive and the function and maintenance of reproductive systems.
The human being of both sexes produces and needs the presence of this hormone to maintain an integral health. The sexual organs, the production of gametes, the balance in the red blood cell count, the good functioning of the hypothalamus, the maintenance of the cardiovascular system, the health of muscles and bones, the distribution of fat, the moods and the push to lead an active life, all this depends to a greater extent on the presence of testosterone at adequate levels.
The woman normally produces only a small amount but this doesn’t imply they can afford to ignore it. Men maintain much higher levels and in testosterone lay the basis of their virility.
THE VARIABLE PRESENCE OF THE TESTOSTERONE HORMONE
The amount of testosterone in the blood, and therefore its normal values, vary with age, from its lowest levels during the fetal stage to peak values in early adulthood, around 30 years of age. From this point the amount of the hormone begins to decrease at a rate of approximately 1% per year.
This loss is normal, expected, and does not represent a health hazard although it is associated with many common problems in old age.
But it is possible that certain situations accelerate the fall, considerably increasing that 1%, in which case acute health problems can occur, especially in men.
These symptoms of low testosterone levels are varied and numerous:
- Decreased number and loss of vigor in the erection.
- General loss of energy.
- Appearance of anxiety and depressive states.
- Hair loss.
- Reduction of muscle mass and, consequently, loss of strength and physical resistance.
- Decrease in the amount of semen, which may be coupled with a decrease in the size of the testicles.
- Loss of sex drive and weakening of the libido.
- Difficulty to sleep.
- Hot flashes.
- Increase in body fat especially around the waist.
HOW TO FIGHT LOW TESTOSTERONE WITH FOOD?
Usually these conditions of hormone deficiency are fought with treatments designed by a doctor, the consumption of dietary supplements, or by injections.
Hormone replacement therapies are usually carried out with injections every 2 or 4 weeks to increase and maintain adequate levels according to age. They require a prior examination and constant monitoring to ensure that the treatment is doing its job and to control any side effects that may appear.
The use of testosterone supplements has not yet been extensively studied, so the conclusions are not definitive, but it is an easy and practical way to contest the fall of the hormone.
Now, what about those people who want to increase values in a natural way?
VEGETARIAN FOOD AND TESTOSTERONE
“Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food”. Hippocrates.
It has been said that a balanced diet is all you need to stay healthy, with adequate energy, and a positive mood. In food there are all the nutrients that the body requires to function well. In fact, all the important components that are used for the manufacture of medicines are taken out of food and other natural sources. For example, ubiquitous aspirin, the common name for acetylsalicylic acid, is extracted from the bark of white willow.
The main difficulty of this point of view is our lack of discipline to adopt and maintain a complete and healthy diet.
In the case of low testosterone levels, the consumption of meat, eggs and fish is usually recommended to increase it.
WHAT ABOUT VEGETARIANS?
No problem. Let’s talk about thirteen basic foods that can ostensibly improve testosterone values
- Pumpkin seeds: They are full of zinc, an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the sexual and reproductive organs such as the prostate. It is also an important source of protein and omegas fats.
- Avocado: It contains high levels of B6, an essential vitamin to reduce cortisol levels, whose presence in the body is counterproductive to testosterone.
- Chia seeds: Considered by many as a superfood, it is rich in zinc and omega-3 fats in addition to iron, magnesium and potassium.
- Coco: It improves the overall hormonal balance, especially testosterone. It provides the right amount of saturated fats and regulates the production of cholesterol.
- Broccoli: It has all the minerals you need and a lot of the vitamins. It also helps control the levels of estrogen, another hormone that is not friendly to testosterone.
- Maca: It is a root, also called Peruvian ginseng, is especially recommended for those who practice weightlifting for its ability to increase muscle fibers.
- Garlic: It is a nutrient that inhibits cortisol and, therefore, favors the increase of testosterone.
- Bananas: It is another superfood rich in almost everything, especially B vitamins, enzymes and potassium.
- Nuts: They contain important amounts of amino acids and unsaturated fats.
- Spinach: This green is rich in magnesium that lowers the amount of sex hormone-binding hormone (SHBG) that inactivates testosterone in the blood.
- Tomatoes: It is a very important source of lycopene, essential protein for the health of the male reproductive system.
- Ginger: It is directly related to the decrease in DNA fragmentation in semen and the drastic increase in testosterone.
- Granada: It is a fruit rich in vitamin C and K and in polyunsaturated organic acids.
Maintaining adequate levels of testosterone is important from any point of view and is a guarantee of a proper state of health for when a man reaches the last stage of his life. Sexual functions do not have to be lost in the third age nor is it inevitable to fall into a general state of weakness and passivity.
Testosterone is essential for the health of man and it is worth dedicating care and attention to its maintenance no matter what lifestyle or diet you have.
- Hill, P. B., & Wynder, E. L. (1979). Effect of a vegetarian diet and dexamethasone on plasma prolactin, testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone in men and women. Cancer letters, 7(5), 273-282.
- Raben, A., Kiens, B., Richter, E. A., Rasmussen, L. B., Svenstrup, B., Micic, S., & Bennett, P. (1992). Serum sex hormones and endurance performance after a lacto-ovo vegetarian and a mixed diet. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 24(11), 1290-1297.
- Armstrong, B. K., Brown, J. B., Clarke, H. T., Crooke, D. K., Hähnel, R., Masarei, J. R., & Ratajczak, T. (1981). Diet and reproductive hormones: a study of vegetarian and nonvegetarian postmenopausal women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 67(4), 761-767.