List Of Foods That Lower Testosterone
Soy Bean Oil
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Vegetable Oil
Soy-Based Food Products
Refined Carbohydrate Products
Spearmint / Peppermint
The foods we eat have the greatest impact on our health. Sure, exercise is necessary but proper nutrition is far more important.
I’ve already covered the 63 foods that boost testosterone naturally, and now I want to help you avoid those foods that can do just the opposite.
Here are 29 foods that lower testosterone.
Sometimes referred to as nature’s candy, strawberries provide a variety of micro nutrients and they are considered a great way to indulge in sweets without the guilt.
The problem with strawberries is not that they aren’t healthy. In fact, they support your testosterone levels by providing more Vitamin C than an orange. The issue is what is sprayed on the strawberry.
The pesticides that are commonly used on strawberries have been shown to stifle testosterone production and promote estrogen dominance. Yikes! (1)
If you love strawberries and you want to avoid the testosterone lowering effects of the pesticides, you have to buy organic.
Peaches are another super sweet option when you’re looking to indulge without chomping down on a 250-calorie candy bar. While conventional peaches may have a variety of vitamins and minerals, they share the same issue as strawberries in that they are covered with pesticides.
The skin of a peach is extremely thin, making it easy for pesticide to seep through. These are the same widely used pesticides associated with lowering testosterone levels in men. (1)
The solution: Buy organic.
High in fiber and vitamins, apples are said to be a staple of any healthy diet. While they are nutritionally impressive, there is something that apples have in common with strawberries and peaches: pesticides.
Apples, strawberries, and peaches have consistently been on the top 10 most pesticide-filled produce list for years now. Make no mistake about it: These are healthy options but if you’re buying conventional, you’re not doing your testosterone levels any favors. (1)
Make it a habit to buy organic with any piece of produce where you can eat the skin including apples.
Okay, I know you may be wondering why watermelon is on this list and it also appears in my list foods that boost testosterone naturally.
First, as I mention in the foods that boost testosterone article, there’s no hard evidence that watermelon will directly influence an increase in testosterone. What it does do is supply you with plenty of L-Citrulline, which converts to L-Arginine. In theory, that could have a positive influence on testosterone levels but the studies proving this aren’t there (yet).
For this article, watermelon can lower testosterone levels when you eat it in excess. The problem is sugar. Watermelon is a high-sugar food, one of the highest on the glycemic index. Consuming too much watermelon will send your blood sugar levels through the roof. Excess sugar in the body has been shown to lower natural testosterone levels in men. (2)
You can enjoy watermelon but do so in moderation.
Again, it may seem like we have another case of mistaken identity. Yes, kale did appear in 63 foods that boost testosterone naturally and I’m still standing by those proven benefits of kale. However, kale shares something in common with its fruit-counterparts: pesticides.
The pesticides that are sprayed on kale may negatively impact your testosterone levels so once again, go organic with this one, guys. (1)
Let’s cut right to the chase: Yes, spinach does boost testosterone levels but only when you buy organic.
Spinach leaves are sensitive to pesticide spraying and they soak up those chemicals like a sponge. The result is you eat those chemicals and your testosterone levels are going to take the biggest hit. (1)
Just to recap: Whenever you are eating a piece of produce that involves consuming the skin (apples, strawberries, peaches, kale, and spinach), make sure you buy organic and your testosterone levels will thank you by going up.
Available in convenient freezer and microwave-friendly bags, at first glance edamame can understandably jump to the top of your list for protein-rich foods. One cup of cooked edamame can contain up to 17 grams of protein. Not too shabby for a plant-based protein, right? Take a closer look and you’ll realize that edamame may not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Edamame is a pod containing soybeans that have not been matured or fermented. This is one-way ticket to lowering your testosterone levels. Studies show that soybeans contain a compound called equol, a metabolite of the phytoestrogen, daidzein.
These phytoestrogens have a direct impact on your hormones with an emphasis on dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone. (3)
What could be more convenient than a sandwich post-workout or on your way to work? You open up that plastic wrap, take out a few pieces of lunch meat, make the sandwich to your liking, and you’re out the door. Sure, lunch meat is incredibly high in sodium but that a different story for a different article. What you have to worry about with lunch meat is its ability to potentially lower testosterone levels.
First, processed meats are usually from animals that have been pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. Both have been shown to lower testosterone levels but I’ll talk more about that below.
Specifically with lunch meat, the danger to your testosterone levels comes from the plastic wrap. The plastic wrap that is used in your local deli contains the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA has been shown to have a direct impact on testosterone levels, causing them to drop. (4)
I recommend avoiding processed meats and sticking to meats that are organic and have not been injected with growth hormone, antibiotics, or insane levels of sodium.
Red Meat (Steak, Lamb)
Red meat such as steak and lamb can be good for increasing testosterone levels; however, not when you are buying it from sources that pump it full of growth hormones and antibiotics.
Studies show that those hormones and antibiotics find their way into your system when you consume the red meat of your choice. These compounds have been shown to negatively impact your testosterone levels. (5)
If red meat is a part of your diet, go for grass-fed beef and organic options that don’t contain growth hormone and antibiotics.
Just like we talked about above, soy beans that have not been matured and fermented are going to be problematic to your testosterone levels.
Soy beans contain phytoestrogens that can lower testosterone levels. Admittedly, these compounds have the strongest effect against DHT, which is an extremely anabolic hormone. It’s also a hormone that is blamed for androgenic-focused complications such as an enlarged prostate. If your goal is to lower DHT levels, soy beans will do this but they’ll also have an effect on testosterone albeit not as great. (3)
While legumes can be nutritional powerhouses, some legumes do have a testosterone-lowering effect. Lima beans are the best example as they contain phytoestrogens in the form of the fiber inositol. These phytoestrogens, as I have mentioned above, have been shown to lower natural testosterone levels. (3, 6)
Some legumes that are okay to consume in moderation would be black beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas.
Soy Bean Oil
Oils have been getting a lot of attention lately. Since dietary fat has returned to the good graces in the nutritional community, research is revealing specific oils that can have a dramatically positive impact on overall health. For men, these same oils can boost testosterone. For example, I talk about the amazing effects of coconut oil on testosterone levels in 63 foods that boost testosterone naturally. Not all oils are going to help your testosterone levels.
Soy bean oil is one of the worst oils that you can consume if you want to maintain high levels of testosterone. First, the oil is typically over processed, containing very little nutrients. Secondly, and most importantly, it’s made from soybeans that have not been matured or fermented. These immature beans contain phytoestrogens that lower testosterone. (3)
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Vegetable Oil
PUFA vegetable oil for short, this commonly used cooking oil is packed with polyunsaturated fats, something the average American gets too much of already. PUFA vegetable oil and polyunsaturated fats in general have been shown to negatively impact the testosterone levels of men. (7)
Focus on heathy oils that contain monounsaturated fats such as sunflower oil. You can also consume healthy saturated fats to see a huge spike in testosterone levels. Coconut oil is the best option for this.
While some seeds can be extremely beneficial for testosterone levels, not all will bless you with t-boosting benefits. Flaxseed contains a compound called lignans, which is very estrogenic. Studies suggest that flaxseed has the ability to lower testosterone and DHT, which is why it’s such a popular recommendation with medical experts who want their patients to naturally fight back against androgenic issues such as prostate cancer. (8)
Flaxseed does have a great nutrient profile but you can get those same nutrients without losing testosterone by switching it up for pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
Trans fat isn’t a fat in the way you envision unsaturated or saturated fat. Trans fat isn’t natural; it’s man-made. Trans fat is made when you take vegetable oils and pump them through a process known as partial hydrogenation. The result is a fat by-product that can maintain an extremely long shelf life.
While you wouldn’t take a block of trans fat and eat it, you don’t have to because it can be found throughout a variety of processed foods. Margarine and snack foods are two of the most common places where you’ll find trans-fat. Aside from doing a number on your cardiovascular health, it can also wreck your testosterone.
Trans fat has been shown in several studies to promote obesity, which in itself can lower your testosterone levels. Let’s say you’re a healthy guy though without any weight issues and you begin eating products that contain trans-fat. Studies have demonstrated that a diet high trans-fat directly correlates to a significantly lower sperm count in otherwise healthy males. The bigger implication here is that it is knocking your testosterone levels down a few points. (9)
Just as I mentioned above, Americans in particular are getting far too many polyunsaturated fats in their diet. An overabundance of this type of fat has been shown to negatively impact cardiovascular health but it may also lower testosterone levels in men. (7)
Aside from PUFA vegetable oils, try to limit your intake of the following:
- Corn oil
- Peanut oil
If you absolutely MUST have nuts, I would recommend you go with Brazil Nuts.
We are the only species on the planet that continues to drink milk well after we are babies. What’s more, we are the only species on the planet that consumes the milk of another species! Doesn’t this sound strange? Still, milk has been shown to have plenty of benefits but these benefits are short-changed by the nasty chemicals that are showing up in commercial milk.
Commercially bought milk that comes from cows who have been treated with growth hormone and antibiotics is already a one-two punch to your testosterone but it gets worse. This same commercial milk has been shown to contain exogenous estrogen! That is going to be the knockout punch to your t-levels. These estrogens lower testosterone levels while promoting estrogen dominance. (10)
If you want to continue drinking milk, you can but be mindful of moderation. Also, get your milk from a verified organic source. If you’re not lactose intolerant, try getting raw milk from your local farmer’s market. It’s packed with probiotics and nutrients that are normally destroyed during pasteurization.
Processed Cheese (Dairy-based)
Continuing with the point above, processed cheese is made from commercially sourced cow’s milk. The same cow’s milk I talked about above containing growth hormones, antibiotics, and exogenous estrogens, which can lower testosterone. (10)
If you want to indulge in cheese, get an organic and locally sourced cheese that is not coming off of a food factory line.
This beloved dessert can pose a threat to testosterone in two ways:
First, commercially produced ice cream is probably going to be made from the same cow’s milk that I talked about above. You know what that contains: hormones, antibiotics, and estrogen. All three are a triple danger to testosterone levels. (10)
Secondly, ice cream contains a lot of sugar. As I talked about above, studies have shown that excessive sugar consumption can lead to lower levels of testosterone. What’s more, sugar can also play a role in weight gain, obesity, and poor cardiovascular health. (2)
If you’re going to indulge, do so once in a while, opt for a small portion, and try to buy from a local ice cream shop that sells homemade ice cream.
Another double appearance in this article and in the 63 foods that boost testosterone naturally article would be shrimp.
Yes, shrimp can help to promote healthy levels of testosterone. Here’s something you may not have known about shrimp: that bright pink color that you commonly see on commercially sold shrimp can fade and look discolored. To solve this problem and to make shrimp look appealing longer, food companies will use a compound called 4-hexyl resorcinol.
This chemical additive prevents discoloration but it’s also extremely estrogenic, which may lower testosterone and promote higher levels of estrogen.
We put it in our morning coffee, in our smoothies, in our condiments… sugar is in just about everything. It’s also a leading cause of weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and low testosterone levels. As I mentioned above, avoid excessive sugar consumption if you want to keep those t-levels high. (2)
Once the weekend arrives, where do most people go to relax and enjoy themselves? Bars, clubs, and other venues that are serving alcohol. While it might be nice to kick back with a drink after a long week, if you want to keep those testosterone levels high, you’ll want to watch your intake of alcohol.
The ethanol found in alcohol has been shown to decrease testosterone levels in men. What’s more, when it comes to beer, hops are one of the most estrogenic foods out there. Drinking a lot of beer can promote estrogen dominance while lowering testosterone levels. (11)
Furthermore, alcohol has been shown to be detrimental to overall sleep quality, which can also affect testosterone levels.
Your average soda contains around 50 grams of sugar. This is double the daily intake of sugar based on the American Heart Association’s recommendations.
As I’ve covered above, sugar can significantly lower testosterone levels while promoting weight gain and cardiovascular issues. While artificial sweeteners have not been linked to low testosterone, they’ve been linked to a number of other issues such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. (2)
Switch off soda and pick up water. If you must indulge, choose a zero-calorie soda and keep it to a minimal serving.
Soy-Based Food Products
You’ll find soy in more than you realize. If you’re a vegetarian for example, those tofurkey patties that you’ve been eating are packed with unfermented soy. This is the same soy that I talked about above that contains phytoestrogens that may lower testosterone. (3)
What’s more, many food products where soy is used are packed with other fillers such as excessive sodium. Keep it natural and keep those t-levels high.
Refined Carbohydrate Products
White bread and your favorite breakfast cereals are perfect examples of refined carbohydrate products. Stripping wheat of its nutrients, food companies use this wheat byproduct in a number of products. To make up the nutritional difference, these companies add in synthetic vitamins and minerals. The end result is a simple carbohydrate food product that can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and lower testosterone levels. (12)
Despite what you may think, licorice is used for more than candy. This herb can be found in many natural products such as tinctures and teas. While licorice is great for settling your stomach and promoting stomach health, it’s not great for testosterone.
Studies show that consumption of licorice correlates with lower levels of testosterone in men. What’s more, if you’re consuming licorice candy, your testosterone is getting pummeled by the licorice and the sugar content. (13)
Spearmint / Peppermint
Just like licorice, spearmint and peppermint can be found in more than just chewing gum. These herbs make perfect teas, cooking additives, and tinctures for a variety of health issues. Also similar to licorice, spearmint and peppermint have been shown to reduce testosterone levels. (14)
These herbs do have many benefits outside of testosterone lowering so they may be options that you don’t necessarily throw out of your diet as much as limit them to a sparing consumption.
Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly prepared popcorn? While popcorn may complement any movie night, if you’re making popcorn in the microwave, your testosterone levels may be suffering.
Some brands of microwave popular, especially overseas, are still using a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid in the making of the bags where the popcorn kernels are popped. PFOA has been linked to several medical issues; most notably, PFOA may negatively impact testosterone levels in men.
With legalization happening in several states and many more considering it sooner rather than later, marijuana is becoming a part of the culture now more than ever before. It’s been proven to be an effective all-natural source of pain relief while reducing anxiety and depression. While marijuana has may benefits, it may not be great for testosterone levels.
Studies suggest that consistent marijuana usage may lower testosterone levels in men; however, studies also say that this can be counteracted by building up a tolerance. In other words, there may be an initial dive in testosterone levels but if your body is able to adjust to marijuana usage, it will not impact t-levels as much. Still, if this is your thing, please do it responsibly. (15)
Are there any foods that you think lower testosterone that I didn’t mention above? Let me know in the comments below.
FRUITS / VEGGIES
- Goncharov A, Rej R, Negoita S, Schymura M, Santiago-Rivera A, Morse G; Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment, Carpenter DO. Lower serum testosterone associated with elevated polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations in Native American men. Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Sep;117(9):1454-60. doi: 10.1289/ehp.0800134. Epub 2009 May 20.
- Caronia LM, Dwyer AA, Hayden D, Amati F, Pitteloud N, Hayes FJ. Abrupt decrease in serum testosterone levels after an oral glucose load in men: implications for screening for hypogonadism. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2013 Feb;78(2):291-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2012.04486.x.Lund T, Munson D,
- Haldy M, Setchell K, Lephart E, Handa R. Equol is a novel anti-androgen that inhibits prostate growth and hormone feedback. Biology of reproduction. 2004;70(4):1188–95.
- Li DK, Zhou Z, Miao M, He Y, Qing D, Wu T, Wang J, Weng X, Ferber J, Herrinton LJ, Zhu Q, Gao E, Yuan W. Relationship between urine bisphenol-A level and declining male sexual function. J Androl. 2010 Sep-Oct;31(5):500-6. doi: 10.2164/jandrol.110.010413. Epub 2010 May 13.
- Afeiche, Myriam C et al. “Meat Intake and Reproductive Parameters among Young Men.” Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.) 25.3 (2014): 323–330. PMC. Web. 12 Nov. 2017.
- Li J, Mao Q-Q. Legume intake and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Oncotarget. 2017;8(27):44776-44784. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.16794.
- Volek J, Kraemer W, Bush J, Incledon T, Boetes M. Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985). 1997;82(1):49–54.
- Denis L, Morton M, Griffiths K. Diet and its preventive role in prostatic disease. European urology. 1999;35(5–6):377–87.
- Chavarro J, Mínguez-Alarcón L, Mendiola J, Cutillas-Tolín A, López-Espín J, Torres-Cantero A. Trans fatty acid intake is inversely related to total sperm count in young healthy men. Human reproduction (Oxford, England). 2014;29(3):429–40.
- Maruyama K, Oshima T, Ohyama K. Exposure to exogenous estrogen through intake of commercial milk produced from pregnant cows. Pediatr Int. 2010 Feb;52(1):33-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2009.02890.x. Epub 2009 May 22.
- Välimäki M, Härkönen M, Eriksson C, Ylikahri R. Sex hormones and adrenocortical steroids in men acutely intoxicated with ethanol. Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.). 1984;1(1):89–93.
- Chrysohoou C, Panagiotakos D, Pitsavos C, et al. Low Total Testosterone Levels are Associated With the Metabolic Syndrome in Elderly Men: The Role of Body Weight, Lipids, Insulin Resistance, and Inflammation; The Ikaria Study. The Review of Diabetic Studies : RDS. 2013;10(1):27-38. doi:10.1900/RDS.2013.10.27.
- Armanini D, Bonanni G, Palermo M. Reduction of serum testosterone in men by licorice. The New England journal of medicine. 1999;341(15):1158.
- Akdogan M, Ozguner M, Kocak A, Oncu M, Cicek E. Effects of peppermint teas on plasma testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone levels and testicular tissue in rats. Urology. 2004;64(2):394–8.
- Harclerode J. Endocrine effects of marijuana in the male: preclinical studies. NIDA Res Monogr. 1984;44:46-64.