Christmas time, more testosterone and better health!
Christmas time; rich foods, alcohol, bad TV, lots of homemade cakes and puddings (they say they are homemade anyway) – after a week or so of that we often find we have added a little bit of weight around our middle. We feel tired, run down and, if you’re a male, it’s quite likely you have lowered your Testosterone levels to quite a degree.
Firstly, part of the reason is that we tend to fast leading up to big meals, slowing our metabolism down and triggering our body to go into storage mode. Now, don’t get me wrong, fasting is very beneficial; it causes higher amounts of growth hormone to be released, which in turn lowers blood pressure, protects your body against cholesterol, burns fat, and increases collagen turn over in the skin. So what’s the problem? It sounds like a good thing to do, and it is, but not leading up to an eat all you can late afternoon/evening meal.
Fasting before a meal changes your body from fat burning mode, or using the calories you’re consuming as fuel, to storage mode where your metabolism slows and you prime yourself for an insulin spike. This increases your cravings for sugary foods and your appetite increases, causing you to each much larger amounts of food as the hormone Ghrelin peaks.
If you were to fast for 15-20 hours a few times a week the benefits would be huge; you would burn a lot more of your fat, increase your metabolism and growth hormone levels, lower cholesterol and improve insulin resistance. But fasting just so you can eat more at night doesn’t allow your body enough time to really start digging into its fatty reserves for fuel; the various fat burning hormones such as epinephrine don’t really get a chance to start working.
Contrary to popular belief, in most HEALTHY MEN alcohol may actually increase testosterone levels, but only in the kinds of amounts that cause intoxication; this may be part of the reason why many men who get drunk become aggressive or rowdy. The department of Neuropharmacology at The Scripps Research Institute showed these findings in the ACER report, stating; “alcohol oxidation is directly linked to testosterone biosynthesis”. In particular, a direct link between alcohol administration and the level of the neuroactive steroid testosterone in the brain showed an increase of 4x the baseline level. But, and it really is a big but, alcohol will cause suppression of testosterone through another pathway.
Long term consumption will suppress testosterone levels although this is negligible on a daily count. Over time, however, the large amounts of calories contained in alcohol, and the way alcohol slows the metabolism along with the fat storage that ensues, in particular around the stomach area, will cause an increase in oestrogen and lowered testosterone levels.
Belly fat converts the male hormone DHT and DHT changes as a result into 5alpha-androstane 3alpha 17beta-diol and 5alpha-androstane 3beta 17beta-diol; these have potent binding to oestrogen receptors which leads to the fat belly or pot bellied look that some slim guys who drink alcohol have. This is despite alcohol consumption actually lowering oestrogen upon administration, along with lowering growth hormone which is a potent hormone in fat burning.
So you have fasted before your Christmas dinner thus slowing your metabolism. You are going to have some alcohol, and we’ve just looked why that’s a bad idea, especially as it will slow your already sluggish metabolism even more, and you’re going to eat processed foods, sauces, more phytoestrogens, and some xenoestrogens from plastic packaging. Add that to a massive consumption of calories all in one go and you’re going to be feeling more stuffed than that turkey – and about as useful.
Foods for Increased Testosterone and Libido
The good news is it doesn’t need to be this way. It’s not all doom and gloom; its Christmas, New year and a time of happiness! It really is, if you can try not to think about how much money you’ve spent! Cholesterol is converted into testosterone, and red meats such as steak are high in this important nutrient. Healthy fats are also important, for example monounsaturated fat, which can be found in foods such as olives, seeds, nuts, whole fat dairy products and avocados.
Foods like broccoli and those gorgeous tasting Brussel sprouts (yes, I was joking) contain indoles which lower oestrogen and help raise testosterone levels.
Zinc is a mineral that can be found in high amounts in oysters, beef, pork, turkey, chicken liver, pumpkin seeds and in lesser amounts in foods like almonds and sunflower seeds. It boosts immunity, lowers oestrogen and increases testosterone. Amazingly, zinc deficiency in women is responsible for many having a lowered sex drive or even none at all – wait guys, don’t run off to buy a tonne of zinc just yet; there’s more.
Dark chocolate contains both serotonin, which boosts your mood, and phenylethylamine, which mimics oxytocin, also known as the ‘Love Hormone’. Plus its full of antioxidants – see, I said it wasn’t all bad news.
There is also asparagus which, being rich in B-vitamins, improves your production of histamine, proper levels of which play an essential role in sex drive for both men and women.
Nuts are very important in supporting a healthy libido as they contain high levels of essential fatty acids that increase the production of the hormones we all need to stay amorous. They’re also rich in L-Arginine which is great for improving circulation and enhancing erectile response; in some countries it’s actually used to treat erectile dysfunction. What’s more, the smell of almonds is actually purported to act as an aphrodisiac that attracts women. Furthermore, pine nuts are packed with zinc – critical for healthy sperm and increased testosterone levels, as well as pycnogenol a powerful antioxidant that increases nitric oxide helping with strong erections.
The point here is to choose your foods wisely; don’t fast before a meal, just eat little and often. The huge array of foods will provide your discerning eye ample opportunity to choose a testosterone boosting and healthy meal. As a result, you won’t feel so tired and your increased testosterone will lead to an increased libido which will probably lead to more calories being burned in the long run. Testosterone is vital for health; it is anti-aging, lowers cholesterol, prevents heart disease and bone damage, increases immunity and it improves body composition.
Give yourself the best Christmas present and eat your way to increased testosterone levels and ultimately better health