As we age, our bodies have a harder time producing certain hormones and maintaining them at the proper levels for optimum health. Hormone imbalance can reduce your energy, cause mood swings and weight gain, reduce your sex drive, cause hair loss or undesirable hair growth, and contribute to osteoporosis and several other diseases.
Hormone production is affected by diet, however, and by eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones, you can influence your body’s hormone levels. This is especially true for the primary sex hormones, testosterone and estrogen.
Both sexes produce and require both of these hormones, but in different amounts. Men require a higher level of testosterone, and women require a higher level of estrogen. Too little or too much of either can have negative health impacts on both sexes.
Low testosterone (“low T”) can lead to weight gain, depression, and loss of bone and muscle mass, among other concerns. And it of course impacts libido and fertility in men. To maintain high levels of testosterone and inhibit estrogen production, men should reduce consumption of alcohol, ice cream, soy, and soda. Soda often contains phthalates, which have estrogen-like properties. Drink alcohol in moderation, as it has been linked to reduced testosterone in men. Soy contains estrogen, and while many men gladly avoid tofu, miso and edamame, soy is also present in soy sauce and many other Asian foods and as a filler in processed foods including breads, cereals and processed meat products, so read the label. Frozen treats? Ice cream reduces testosterone but frozen yogurt does not.
Men who want to increase the testosterone level should look to olive oil, oysters, pomegranates, and coconuts. Oysters may be considered an aphrodisiac for good reason. These briny bivalves contain high levels of zinc, a mineral your body needs now more than ever. There is a strong correlation between consumption of olive oil and increased testosterone. Cook with it, use it in salad dressing, and report back if you see virile results! Researchers have found that one daily glass of the deep red, sweet juice of the dark pomegranate can increase testosterone levels between 16 percent and 30 percent, to improve mood and increase libido. Start your smoothie with this fruit and coconut, whose healthy fats can help control weight gain and improve your waning T.
During menopause and even earlier in the cycle of life, women can experience the symptoms of low estrogen which manifests as weight gain, low energy, depression, headaches, diminished sexual pleasure, and irregular periods. Eat more soy, ladies! Snack on edamame, add a splash of soy to your latte, and use more tofu, which is delicious in a stir-fry. We also love salads with chickpeas, nuts, olives, and sprouts. These fiber-rich foods may boost estrogen levels and they’ll fill you up and help you maintain your weight. For women whose bodies are showing “masculine” traits that they don’t find flattering, see the above paragraph addressed to men concerning foods that reduce estrogen and increase testosterone, and avoid them. Oh gee – it looks like ice cream is back on the diet!
If you want to talk further about hormone levels and diet, aging and feeling great, contact a helpful professional at Evolved Medical. We can set up a free consultation in San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Lafayette or Monterey to make a plan for the vitality of your life.