In the current COVID-19 world, many of us are hyper-aware of our health and looking for ways to improve it. We need to keep our immune systems strong, and maintain healthy and active lifestyles despite the difficulties of lockdown.
Our testosterone levels may not immediately spring to mind as an area of concern, but it’s increasingly recognised that having low levels of this hormone can be very damaging for our health in a range of different ways. With all this in mind, let’s take a look at why testosterone is important for our health, and how we can maintain healthy levels of this crucial hormone through our diet.
Testosterone and our health
Both men and women produce testosterone, but in lower amounts for women.
In men, testosterone:
- Regulates muscle and bone size and strength
- Coordinates the production of sperm and red blood cells
- Drives the development of the reproductive organs, facial and body hair, and deepening of the voice in puberty
- Regulates libido
If this isn’t enough, testosterone plays an ever wider role in our health – both mental and physical. Memory loss, lower concentration levels, reduced libido, and weight gain are all common symptoms of low testosterone. For males, these symptoms can also include breast tissue growth and erectile dysfunction – further impacting on their levels of self-esteem. As well as experiencing sleep-related problems and mood swings, those with low testosterone are more prone to anxiety and depression too.
The picture is clear: testosterone is important for our mental and physical health, and we need to make sure our body has the right levels.
What about my diet?
According to one guide, vitamin D and zinc are particularly important for increasing levels of testosterone in our diet. Vitamin D can be found in a range of foods, such as:
- Eggs (especially the yolks)
- Fortified cereals
For zinc, some of the best foods include:
- Animal protein
- Oysters and shellfish
- Milk and cheese
As you can see, there are a variety of options you can go to if you’re looking for natural ways to increase your testosterone levels. Meat eaters may have a wider range of ingredients to choose from for their meals, but there’s certainly no shortage of options for vegetarians and vegans either.
Knowing which foods to target is only one half of the battle, though – without tasty recipes to take advantage of, it may be a struggle to properly integrate the right nutrients into your diet. But this is also where the fun begins! There are tonnes of recipes you can look up online, or you can even get creative at home by trying out different combinations.
Meat eaters can make salmon, tuna, and other fish the centre of the meals to take advantage of the high levels of vitamin D and omega-3. It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated, either – even something as simple as a tuna and spinach sandwich will pack a big testosterone boost.
For vegetarians and vegans, there are plenty of delicious plant-based recipes to choose from – such as mushroom burgers, kidney bean and avocado bowls, and even black bean brownies for those with a sweet tooth.
Talk to your doctor
Finally it needs to be remembered that, if you’re worried about your testosterone levels, it’s important that you seek medical advice from your doctor. It may be that there is an underlying condition you don’t know about that’s causing the problem. Although improving your diet is helpful, it may not be enough to address the entire problem if there is a medical cause. The good news is, though, that there are still solutions for this – after consultation and tests, it may be that your doctor will recommend testosterone replacement therapy, for example.
Author: Ellie Hayes