Testosterone Killing Foods: What to Avoid and What to Eat

Jun 26, 2024 | 6 min read

Question on this topic? Get an instant answer from AI Doctor.Instant answer from AI Doctor.

Testosterone-killing foods such as sugar, alcohol, and processed foods can lower your hormone levels, impacting overall health. Identifying and managing these foods is crucial for maintaining optimal testosterone levels.

testosterone killing foods

Understanding Testosterone and Its Role

What is Testosterone?

Testosterone is a vital hormone in both men and women, although men produce it in larger quantities. It plays a crucial role in various bodily functions.

Primarily, testosterone is responsible for the development of male reproductive tissues, including the testes and prostate.

It also promotes secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair.

Maintaining healthy testosterone levels is essential for overall well-being. Testosterone influences mood, energy levels, and overall physical health.

It helps maintain muscle mass and strength, supports fat distribution, and contributes to a healthy libido. Low testosterone levels can lead to various health issues, making it important to understand how to keep these levels balanced.

Symptoms of Low Testosterone

Low testosterone, often referred to as "low T," can manifest through various symptoms. Recognizing these signs can help individuals seek appropriate treatment and lifestyle changes:

  • Low Libido: A noticeable decrease in sexual desire or interest in sexual activity.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: Difficulty in achieving or maintaining an erection.
  • Fatigue: Persistent tiredness and low energy levels, even after adequate rest.
  • Reduced Muscle Mass: Difficulty in building and maintaining muscle mass.
  • Increased Body Fat: Higher fat accumulation, particularly around the abdomen.
  • Loss of Bone Density: Increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  • Mood Changes: Increased irritability, depression, or mood swings.
  • Cognitive Changes: Problems with memory, focus, and concentration.
  • Disturbed Sleep Patterns: Insomnia or other sleep-related issues.
  • Decreased Motivation: A general lack of drive and enthusiasm for daily activities.

Recognizing these symptoms early can lead to better management and treatment of low testosterone, improving overall health and quality of life.

Docus AI Symptom Checker

Docus AI Symptom Checker

Just 3 simple steps to efficiently understand and manage your health symptoms online.

7 Testosterone-Killing Foods

1. Sugar

Excessive sugar intake is one of the primary dietary factors that can reduce testosterone levels. High sugar consumption leads to increased insulin levels, which in turn can lower testosterone production.

This connection is significant, as the American Diabetes Association notes that men with type 2 diabetes, a condition often associated with high sugar intake, are twice as likely to suffer from low testosterone compared to those without diabetes.

Also, a 2018 study from BMC found that men who consumed high amounts of sugar had testosterone levels that were significantly lower compared to those who had a balanced diet.

Limiting sugar intake is a practical step towards maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Opt for natural sweeteners and whole foods to reduce your sugar consumption.

2. Vegetable Oils

Vegetable oils, including canola, soybean, and corn oil, are high in polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). While PUFAs are essential in small amounts, excessive consumption can negatively impact testosterone production. 

A study published in the Nutrients Journal indicates that high intake of PUFAs can lead to oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which can lower testosterone levels.

Opting for healthier fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil can support better hormonal health. These alternatives provide beneficial monounsaturated fats that are better for maintaining testosterone levels.

3. Nuts

Certain nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, contain polyunsaturated fats that can affect testosterone levels if consumed in large quantities. While nuts are a good source of healthy fats and nutrients, their PUFA content can potentially lower testosterone.

4. Alcohol

Alcohol is another significant factor that can lower testosterone levels. Excessive alcohol consumption, defined as more than 15 drinks per week for men, can impair the liver's ability to metabolize hormones. This can lead to increased estrogen levels and decreased testosterone.

Studies have shown that heavy drinking can significantly reduce testosterone production. Limiting alcohol intake and opting for healthier beverage choices can help maintain optimal testosterone levels and overall health.

5. Licorice Root

Licorice root, commonly used in candies and herbal teas, has been shown to lower testosterone levels. A study from Pubmed found that consuming licorice root led to a significant decrease in testosterone levels after just one week.

To avoid this effect, it is best to limit the intake of licorice root products. Being mindful of herbal supplements and foods that contain licorice can help maintain healthy testosterone levels.

6. Processed Foods

Processed foods, including fast food, packaged snacks, and sugary drinks, are high in trans fats and low in nutrient density. These foods can lead to rapid weight gain and obesity, which are associated with lower testosterone levels.

Interestingly, according to studies, the fried-processed dietary pattern is negatively associated with testosterone levels but positively associated with the severity of impaired kidney function. This highlights the broader impact of processed foods on overall health.

Avoiding processed foods and choosing whole, unprocessed options can help maintain a healthy weight and support testosterone production. Fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are better choices for overall health.

7. Mint

Mint, especially spearmint and peppermint, has been shown to reduce testosterone levels in some studies. To avoid this, it's best to consume mint in moderation and be aware of its potential effects on hormone levels.

Foods That Boost Testosterone

  • Red meat: Rich in zinc, vitamin D, and saturated fats, crucial for testosterone production.
  • Eggs: Packed with protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like vitamin D, beneficial for hormone health.
  • Wild fish: Contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation and support hormone production.
  • Honey: Contains boron, a mineral linked to increased testosterone production.
  • Avocados: Nutrient-dense, rich in healthy fats, vitamin E, and potassium, supporting hormonal balance.
  • Fruits (berries, cherries, pomegranates): Rich in antioxidants that help protect cells responsible for testosterone production.
  • Shellfish: Particularly oysters, rich in zinc, essential for testosterone production.
  • Leafy green vegetables: High in magnesium, a mineral key to testosterone production.
  • Nuts rich in monounsaturated fats: Hazelnuts, cashews, and macadamia nuts provide healthy fats that support hormone health.
  • Whole grains: Excellent sources of essential nutrients and fiber, supporting hormonal balance and overall health.

Other Tips to Improve Testosterone Levels


Certain supplements can help boost testosterone levels. Popular options include:

  • Vitamin D: Essential for testosterone production, especially in individuals with low levels of this vitamin.
  • Zinc: Plays a critical role in hormone production and overall health.
  • D-Aspartic Acid: An amino acid that may help increase testosterone levels. 
  • Ashwagandha: An adaptogenic herb known for its stress-reducing properties, which can help increase testosterone levels and improve overall reproductive and sexual health.
  • Combination of Supplements: For example, a Testosterone Booster includes magnesium, zinc, and other supplements that can help improve testosterone levels.

You can take our quiz to discover the ideal combination of supplements tailored to your needs.

Before starting any supplement regimen, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Targeted Supplements

Tailored Supplements

Take the checkup quiz, explore your personal supplement kit, and have it delivered straight to your door.

Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity is one of the most effective ways to boost testosterone levels. Exercise helps stimulate the production of testosterone and improves overall health. Weight lifting and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are particularly beneficial. 

Weight lifting can increase muscle mass, which can in turn increase testosterone,” says Dr. Eisenberg, the director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health and a male fertility specialist in Sunnyvale, California. 

HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest periods, effectively enhancing hormone levels. Incorporating these exercises into your routine can significantly improve testosterone levels and overall fitness.

Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in testosterone production. During sleep, the body undergoes repair and regeneration processes, including hormone production. Poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep can lead to reduced testosterone levels. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. 

According to a study from PubMed, the increase in testosterone depends more on sleep than on circadian rhythm and requires at least 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep with a normal sleep cycle.

To improve sleep quality:

  • Establish a regular sleep schedule.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Ensure your sleep environment is comfortable and free from distractions.
  • Limit exposure to screens before bedtime.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can negatively impact testosterone levels. When stressed, the body produces cortisol, a hormone that can inhibit testosterone production. Managing stress effectively is essential for maintaining healthy testosterone levels. Techniques for stress management include:

  • Meditation: Practice mindfulness or guided meditation to relax and reduce stress.
  • Deep breathing exercises: These can help calm the mind and reduce anxiety.
  • Physical activity: Regular exercise can also help manage stress.
  • Time management: Prioritize tasks and set realistic goals to reduce stress.

Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions?Ask AI Doctor

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding and maintaining healthy testosterone levels is crucial for overall health and well-being.
  • Certain foods, like sugar, alcohool, and processed foods, can lower testosterone levels and should be limited.
  • Incorporating foods that boost testosterone, such as red meat, eggs, and wild fish, can help maintain hormonal balance.
  • Regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and maintaining a healthy weight are essential for optimizing testosterone levels.
AI Assistant

Have Questions?

Have a question on this topic? Submit it here and get an instant answer from our AI Doctor.

Please Note!This tool is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a professional before taking any actions.

Make Informed Health Decisions

Talk to Docus AI Doctor, generate health reports, get them validated by Top Doctors from the US and Europe.

Make Informed Health Decisions

You’re only one click away from a life-changing journey

Virtual health assistant powered by AI
350+ world-renowned Doctors