The sex hormone testosterone plays an important role in male health. It supports the building of lean muscle mass and strength, while helping to regulate fat distribution. It plays a role in maintaining bone density; greater bone density means stronger bones that are and less prone to breaks and fractures. Testosterone also has an impact on a man’s emotional health and well-being.
Some of the most common symptoms of low testosterone levels are increased body fat (those dreaded “man-boobs” and excess belly fat), depressed mood, memory problems, and impaired sexual function (decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction.)
It’s well-known that a man’s testosterone levels decrease with age, typically from about 40 years of age onward. However, men today are experiencing the onset of this age-related decline at a much younger age, due in part to environmental factors. We’re routinely exposed to endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as those found in household plastics, as well as pesticides like Glyphosate that are sprayed on food. Common medications like statins, a cholesterol lowering drug, can also have an impact on testosterone levels (a good reason to work on keeping your cholesterol level in check by eating a healthy diet, rather than resorting to medication if you don’t have to.)
Given the importance of this hormone and its natural decline with age, every man needs to be pro-active in taking steps to keep his testosterone levels up. Here are some recommendations to help you do so naturally.
Get more zinc into your diet:
There’s a well-established relationship between the mineral zinc and testosterone, whereby boosting your zinc intake can help boost your testosterone production. Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, lamb, and pumpkin seeds. You can also increase your zinc intake by taking a daily zinc supplement.
Keep your weight in check:
Low testosterone levels and excess body weight are closely tied together, as each contributes to the other. Make an effort to reduce your consumption of junk food and sweets, in order to shed any excess weight you’re carrying. Doing so will help to balance your testosterone levels, and this in turn will make it easier to manage your weight going forward.
Do some strength training:
In addition to getting fit, acquiring a better-looking physique, and building confidence, strength training will also help to boost your testosterone levels. You’ll get the most benefit from short, intense training, i.e.: fewer reps with heavier weights. You’ll also want to target as many muscle groups as possible, for maximum impact on your testosterone levels. Can’t make it to the gym and don’t have exercise equipment at home? Not a problem – you can find plenty of workouts online that rely solely on body weight, which will allow you to effectively work all muscle groups.
Learn to manage stress:
Chronic stress doesn’t just affect your mind, it affects your body, too. The most important thing to note is that stress messes up your hormone balance, putting your body into an unbalanced state that compromises your health. Several hormones are affected by stress, including testosterone. It isn’t possible to eliminate stress entirely; there will always be something or someone that gets you bent out of shape. The key is learning how to manage stress effectively, so it doesn’t throw you and your body off entirely. Breathing exercises, mental imagery, exercise, and meditation are some of the techniques shown to be highly effective in helping people manage stress.