Have you been feeling a little off lately? Our health can be a fickle mistress at times. Just like any relationship communication is King! Our bodies are constantly trying to tell us what they need. Unfortunately, interpreting the bodies forms of communication (signs and symptoms) can be difficult. Not to mention everything that can be lost in translation. Luckily, there are several ways we can educate ourselves on our bodies to help us live long, happy, and healthy lives. Get ready to learn a little bit about Testosterone and how to naturally balance out our levels with the help of the foods we eat!
The Great Equalizer
There are some people who are unaware that EVERYONE has Testosterone and Estrogen naturally in their bodies. The reality is that these hormones are critical to our health. More and more women are suffering from an excess of Testosterone, which has been linked to fertility issues such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). That is not to say there are not a significant number of individuals fighting with the signs and symptoms associated with too little Testosterone. But what is this pesky little troublemaker and what does it do? Better yet, how do we get our Testosterone levels to work for us rather than against us?
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. In males, it plays a key role in the development of male reproductive organs as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as muscle and bone mass as well as body hair. Testosterone is also involved in the prevention of osteoporosis in men and women. Insufficient levels in men can lead to frailty and bone loss. On average, an adult males level of Testosterone is about 7-8 times greater than that of an adult female’s. Because men metabolize Testosterone at an accelerated rate compared to women they produce twenty times more Testosterone. In women Testosterone levels increase during sexual arousal and decreases after sex. In fact, the mere act of having sexual thoughts can increase Testosterone levels in women. Interestingly falling in love can also increase Testosterone levels in women while decreasing them in men.
Testosterone Got You Down?
Clearly, Testosterone is an important hormone to have in our bodies. Unfortunately, it can be extremely easy for our Testosterone levels to become out of balance. When this happens it can lead to a number of health related issues. For example, when your Testosterone level becomes too low it can decrease your libido, sensitivity (in nipples and vagina), low stamina, decrease in muscle strength and formation, thinning hair (at crown), fatigue, depression, and memory loss to name a few. If you are unsure if you are at risk of having a Testosterone deficiency here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Has my face gotten slack or more wrinkled?
- Have I lost muscle tone?
- Do you gain weight in your midsection?
- Are you constantly tired?
- Do you have cellulite in your thighs?
- Has your decision making skills declined?
- Do you have varicose veins?
- Are your moods and emotions all over the place?
- Have you lost your sex drive?
- Is it difficult for you to reach an orgasm?
If you find yourself answering yes to the majority of these questions make sure you take the quick quiz I have included. Please keep in mind this will NOT diagnose you! It will, however, tell you if you are at a higher risk of having a Testosterone deficiency. In order for you to receive a diagnosis you will need to have your doctor either perform a blood test or have a saliva test done. Personally, I prefer the saliva test because it tends to be more accurate than the blood test. The best part is that the saliva test you can have delivered to your home and never have to go in. It is also less costly. However, if you are already having your blood drawn for another purpose it costs less to just add the test to your additional panels. For more information take your test results in and talk it over with your primary doctor.
How to Increase Your Testosterone
If you are at a high risk of Testosterone deficiency you may want to think about adding these foods into your daily routine. The following is a list of foods that can help increase your Testosterone levels naturally:
- Brazil Nuts
The Power of Plants
You can also increase your Testosterone with lean meats and eggs. However, I chose not to include them in the list because when you consume animal based products you are not getting an increase in just one hormone. That does not mean that plant based options provide you with only one hormone. Plant based options do help naturally balance out your hormones better than animal products due to the fact that (in most cases) no one is adding additional hormones into the mix. With that said, Estrogen is one of the main hormones found in pesticides. So, whenever possible try to eat and buy organic food. You should ALWAYS wash your fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming. Because there are already enough chemicals and hormones we deal with daily I suggest doing something more natural like water and adding lemon or orange essential oil.
Feeling a Little High?
Lately, there seems to be an increase of women dealing with an excess of Testosterone levels. Excess Testosterone is one of the leading factors that contributes to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is when your ovaries develop cysts. These cysts can rupture and scar your ovarian tissues and can lead to infertility. The following is a list of question you may want to ask yourself to determine if you are at risk of an excess of Testosterone:
- Do you have more facial hair than normal? Especially around the chin?
- Has your skin been breaking out around the chin?
- Have you been gaining weight around your midsection?
- Are you experiencing infertility issues?
- Have you noticed an increase in your anxiety levels?
- Do you have insulin resistance?
- Are you experiencing heart issues? (If yes, SEE YOUR DOCTOR NOW! The heart is one thing you don’t mess with!)
- Do your emotions feel like they are all over the place?
- Have you lost your sex drive?
- Are your menstrual cycles irregular?
Listen To Your Body!
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions be sure to take the quick quiz I have included. I cannot stress this enough, if you are experiencing any heart irregularities you NEED to see your doctor. As women our signs and symptoms for a heart attack are very different from a mans. You may not experience all of the symptoms listed above, however, your severity of each symptom is what you really want to focus on. For the record it is totally possible to have more than one hormone that is out of balance! In fact, in most if not all cases you will have multiple hormones that are thrown out of alignment. A great way to help your body reset itself both with hormones and digestion is with a regular detox.
How To Decrease Testosterone
Now, when I say detox I do NOT mean some crazy juice cleanse or drinking apple cider vinegar for three days straight and nothing else. You can fast for a few days and your body will naturally detox itself. However, there is a limit to what our bodies can do without our help. The best way to help our bodies function to the best of their ability is by providing them with the tools they need to succeed. You can do just that by focusing on clean whole foods that help repair your gut. I also suggest taking a probiotic or even eating foods that provide your body with natural pro and prebiotic. If you are looking to naturally decrease your Testosterone levels through foods the following is a list of foods to reach for:
- Flax Seed
- Chia Seeds
For those of you paying attention you may have noticed that some of these foods are on both lists (hint: broccoli). There is a reason. Some of these foods are naturally ideal for balancing out ALL hormone levels. That’s right, they are the when in doubt foods. If you don’t feel like taking any quizzes and feel like you might have an imbalance of at least one hormone they are the foods you should stock up on. Do you want to know why these when in doubt foods are great for balancing out your hormones? Because they are chock full of sulfur compounds and high in fiber. What does all that mean? It means, they are foods that are ideal to help your body naturally detox! That’s right, even mother nature wants you to detox regularly. Maybe you should listen when your body and nature are ALL screaming at you.
Why You NEED To Detox!
Detoxing can be overwhelming at times. There is so much information out there and so many different people selling you something or other. Personally, I like to advise my clients to stick with simple changes to their nutrition. In fact, I believe so strongly in the importance of detoxing regularly I have ALL of my clients do a detox. Not to mention I detox regularly too, I believe in practicing what I preach. Because there are so many options out there for detoxing I offer my own detox program that doesn’t need anything crazy. It is just you, great tasting food, and of course I add in tons of DIY recipes so you can pamper yourself the whole time. Who says you can’t look good while detoxing? Speaking of great tasting foods, here is a recipe to help you balance your Testosterone levels in the comfort of your own home!
Broccoli Mushroom Stir-Fry
Gluten-Free, Vegan Serves 4
- 2 Cups Broccoli Chopped
- ½ Cup Carrots Chopped
- 2 tsp Ginger Fresh Minced
- 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 2 Cups Portobello Mushrooms Sliced
- ¼ Cup Yellow Onion Minced
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Amino
- ¼ Cup Vegetable Stock
- 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Sugar
- ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
- ¼ Cup Cashews
In a large skillet heat broccoli, onion, garlic, mushrooms, pepper, ginger, and stock. Cook until broccoli is soft, stir in remaining ingredients except for sesame seeds. Cook an additional 2 minutes and remove from heat. Serve over brown rice or quinoa and top with sesame seeds. I like to eat mine without rice and topped with fresh avocado. Enjoy!
Need a Helping Hand?
A happy and healthy life is closer than you may think. Our health is something that we all have to deal with daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day then you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as just acting as a sounding board. Do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!