By: Amy Bondar
When it comes to health, men have a lot to think about. Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, hypertension, heart disease, elevated PSA and other prostate problems, low libido, low immunity, heartburn, a growing mid-section, aches and pains, poor sleep and high stress. At the root of most of these health challenges is low testosterone.
Naturally as men age, testosterone levels drop and estrogen increases which can trigger a cascade of undesirables. Ever wonder why some men develop breasts, a growing belly and a shrinking ____?! Testosterone levels begin to drop when men hit their 20’s and according to Brad King in The Beer Belly Blues “the presence of excessive estrogen inhibits the production of natural testosterone, which in turn reduces muscle mass, leads to prostate problems, a low libido, erectile dysfunction and in some cases cancer. In fact, it is well known that men can produce more estrogen than women by retirement age.”
Estrogen becomes elevated due to the consumption of excess sugar and refined carbohydrates, alcohol, soy intake (especially from hydrogenated soybean oil found in many processed packaged foods), environmental toxins (xenoestrogens – found in shampoo, shaving cream, after-shave, antiperspirant, to name a few) and elevated insulin (which gets elevated as a result of skipping meals and taking in too much sugar, alcohol and coffee). The good news is there is a great deal we can do with the power of foods to increase testosterone, improve so many of men’s health challenges and to help keep the testosterone: estrogen ratio in better balance.
1. Consume clean, lean, quality protein at every meal(whey protein isolate or hemp protein powder, free-range eggs, lean poultry free- from hormones and antibiotics, grass-fed beef, bison and other wild game meat, lamb, wild-caught fish, seafood and legumes. Protein is high in zinc, B-vitamins and amino acids which is important for the production of lean muscle mass, testosterone, neurotransmitters in the brain and energy.
2. Increase zinc rich foods as zinc is essential for the production of testosterone and haven’t you heard… “zinc for your dink!”. Consume raw unsalted pumpkin seeds, 100% natural pumpkin seed butter, sunflower seeds and sunflower butter, grass-fed beef or bison, oysters and other seafood, wheat germ, spinach and mushrooms.
3. Increase essential fats in the diet to keep you satisfied, satiated, free of cravings, and to produce good cholesterol, feed and fuel the brain, balance insulin (which helps keep estrogen in check) and to lubricate the joints. Consume raw nuts and seeds, nut butters, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, olives, hemp seed, hemp oil, ground flaxseed (pulls excess estrogen out of the body), chia seeds, salba seeds, coconut oil, organic butter or clarified butter, and therapeutic omega 3 supplements.
4. Eat your cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Swiss chard and watercress. The Indole-3 Carbinol (I3C) found in these vegetables helps to pull out bad estrogen in the body which can help maintain safer estrogen to testosterone levels. They also help to prevent prostate cancer and support liver detoxification.
5. Eat Lycopene for prostate health. Cooked tomatoes are a great source, including tomato sauces, tomato paste and tomato soup. Grapefruit, guava, papaya and watermelon are also high in lycopene.
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