7 Foods That Kill Testosterone

If you want to learn which foods kill testosterone, you’ve come to the right place.

The primary male sex hormone regulates libido or sex drive, fat distribution, bone mass, muscle mass and strength, production of sperm and red blood cells, and so much more. Like other hormones, levels of testosterone go up and down. 

Declining testosterone levels take their toll on the libido, sexual performance, and overall health of a man.

Production and concentration of testosterone decline with age, but many other factors speed up that process. Foods you eat could be one of them.

In this, we are going to take a look at seven foods that kill testosterone levels. Read on to learn more.

Diet and sex drive

The foods we eat have a significant impact on our general health, wellbeing, and quality of life.

The idea that food can affect testosterone levels is not far-fetched. It’s a scientific fact. A growing body of evidence confirms that dietary intake affects plasma sex steroid levels in men.

In fact, studies have shown that in men, a decrease in dietary fat content and an increase in the degree of unsaturated fatty acids lowers testosterone levels.

When a man has low testosterone levels, the primary male hormone may also find that his libido is low. 

High-frequency consumption of bread and pastries, desserts, dairy products, and eating out harms testosterone levels. Additionally, the low frequency of homemade foods and dark green vegetables negatively affects testosterone hormone concentration in the body. Generally speaking, men who prefer the Western diet tend to have low testosterone and unhealthy body composition. 

Why is all this important?

As you can see, the diet has a major impact on testosterone levels. This is important because testosterone is necessary for a healthy sex drive. Evidence confirms that libido and testosterone concentrations are strongly related. In other words, you need normal testosterone levels to have a strong sex drive and wonderful sex life. 

The hormone testosterone is deeply involved in every aspect of the male sexual response. That also includes sex drive. One of the most prominent symptoms of declining testosterone is low sex drive. Low libido often comes alongside other low-T signs, including loss of muscle mass, weight gain, erectile problems, hair loss, just to name a few.

The relationship between testosterone and sex drive is complex. More research is necessary to uncover the mechanisms of action. Since testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, it has a prominent role in sexual function. This could explain why the reduced presence of this hormone impairs sexual responses, including libido.

Since low testosterone leads to reduced libido, it also implies that diet is an essential factor in this relationship too. 

How does diet play a role in sex drive? First of all, nutrients such as vitamin D and zinc are necessary for testosterone production – the very hormone that regulates your libido.

Additionally, diet influences your weight. An unhealthy diet leads to weight gain, which is linked with low testosterone and impaired libido. That explains why diet-induced weight loss leads to improvement in sexual function. In other words, if you’re overweight, you can improve testosterone levels, sex drive, and erectile strength through weight loss.

An unhealthy diet and excess weight also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other health conditions, impairing your desire to engage in sexual intercourse.

7 foods that kill testosterone

Nutrition is a vital segment of a man’s sexual health and function. Some foods can support healthy testosterone levels, whereas others can impair them.

Below, you can learn more about foods that kill testosterone. Strive to limit or avoid consumption of these items.

1) Soy

Soy and soy-based foods are popular among vegans, vegetarians, and everyone who adheres to a plant-based lifestyle. Regular consumption of foods such as edamame, soy milk, tofu, and miso may cause testosterone levels to drop. For instance, one study revealed that drinking soy protein isolate for 54 days decreased testosterone levels in subjects. 

Why does soy reduce testosterone? You see, soy contains phytoestrogens, i.e., substances that mimic estrogen effects in the body. These phytoestrogens may disturb hormonal balance by elevating estrogen and thereby reducing testosterone.

Studies confirm that phytoestrogens from soy may decrease testosterone and lower prostate weight. The latter could mean phytoestrogens have a protective effect in male disorders such as prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate).

More research on this subject is necessary. However, if you want to prevent low testosterone or aim to increase it, you may want to limit your intake of soy.

2) Licorice root

Licorice root is native to Western Asia and Southern Europe. Uses of licorice root are numerous. Throughout history, ancient civilizations used licorice root for medicinal purposes. It is also used to sweeten beverages and candies. Despite a wide range of health benefits, licorice root may have a downside. You see, consumption of this food can harm your testosterone levels.

Studies show licorice root affects hormone levels and thereby declines testosterone over time. In one study, 7g of licorice root consumption a day for a week decreased testosterone levels by 26%. At this point, it’s not clear why licorice root lowers testosterone levels. 

When we’re talking about licorice root and testosterone, it’s important to remember one thing – this is not about licorice candy. In fact, licorice candy often doesn’t contain licorice root at all.

To protect your testosterone levels, you may want to reduce the intake of licorice root. Many dietary supplements nowadays contain this ingredient. Read the labels carefully. If the product contains licorice root, you need to make sure the amount is not high. Many people consume licorice root as a tea, tincture, powder, or supplement.

You may want to avoid or limit that consumption in order to prevent testosterone levels from declining. 

3) Flaxseed

You are probably shocked to see flaxseeds on the list of foods that kill testosterone. Flaxseed has become a healthy staple ingredient due to its powerful nutritional status and numerous health effects.

Besides B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, flaxseeds also contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). This is important because ALA is a type of Omega-3 fatty acids. As you’re already aware, the body needs Omega-3s to function properly. 

If flaxseeds are so healthy, how come they affect testosterone levels?

Despite all the amazing nutrients, flaxseeds also contain a chemical called lignan. This particular compound may reduce testosterone levels. How? Lignans tend to bind to testosterone and force its excretion out of the body. As a result, the body has a lower amount of testosterone than necessary. 

Flaxseeds contain a wide range of nutrients your body needs to remain healthy and prevent certain medical conditions such as heart disease.

You do not have to avoid flaxseeds entirely. Since they may lower testosterone levels, you should limit their consumption. Make sure you avoid consuming too much and stick to moderation. 

4) Bread and pastries

Everyone loves desserts, bread, and pastries. However, they may not be kind to your health and weight. A high intake of these foods may lead to weight gain. Many people don’t know that bread, pastries, and desserts can also lower testosterone levels. 

Evidence shows a diet high in bread and pastries can reduce testosterone, decrease muscle mass, and increase body fat. These foods harm testosterone levels through several mechanisms.

First, they contribute to weight gain. Excess weight is associated with lower testosterone. Also, bread, desserts, and parties you buy have weak nutritional value. They may also contain trans fats, which are bad for testosterone production. 

The best thing you can do for your weight and testosterone levels is to avoid bread, desserts, and pastries. Or you can, at least, decrease consumption. 

5) Mint

If you love mint, you’re probably going to hate this part. Mint has become omnipresent. Peppermint and spearmint prove to be wonderful tea. You can also find mint products, essential oils; you name it.

Although mint is refreshing and calming, it contains menthol. That’s where the problem lies. You see, menthol in mint has the potential to decrease testosterone levels. 

At this point, it is not clear why mint reduces testosterone. Research on this subject focused primarily on women. More studies are necessary to learn the underlying mechanisms through which mint can decrease testosterone levels.

To protect your testosterone balance, you may want to avoid drinking too much mint tea or reducing the intake of mint-containing products.

6) Sweetened Beverages

Having a beverage is a great way to cool down after a hot day, but some beverages are not appropriate for men who are trying to balance their testosterone levels.

The sugar in carbonated beverages leads to increased weight and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. Even though diet soda is available as an alternative, it can still lead to an increased risk of weight gain. 

Drinking too many sweetened beverages leads to a chain effect. Weight gain happens, which can affect testosterone.

A lot of men use soda during alcohol consumption. This combo also leads to problems with sexual desire and erectile dysfunction – common symptoms among drinkers. 

Instead of sweetened beverages, men should realize there are several alternative options to enjoy. A glass of water would be the healthiest alternative. Sparkling water is another good option to consider. 

7) Processed foods

Consumption of processed foods is common today. As most people adhere to a Western diet, a vast majority of their food is heavily processed and refined. In most cases, these foods have little to no nutritional value.

More precisely, they fail to supply the body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Instead, processed foods contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other health problems.


Processed foods are abundant in sodium, sugar, and trans fats. They also contain unhealthy saturated fats. All of them are bad news for your hormone balance – and may lead to lower testosterone levels.

Evidence confirms that men who consume the highest amounts of trans fats had 15% lower testosterone levels compared to their counterparts with the lowest intake.

Trans fats consumption also decreased sperm count and testicular volume. These findings could indicate impaired testicular function. Testicles are where the body produces testosterone. Problems with testicular function have a major impact on testosterone levels.

Other factors

Several studies show that the foods we listed may have a negative effect on testosterone levels. Reducing the intake of these foods may help men who are struggling to keep their testosterone balanced.

However, it is important to note that other factors also affect testosterone productions and human body usage. 

Men with low testosterone need to consider multiple factors contributing to this problem. Diet changes are a good start, but men should look at the following factors too:


Being overweight or obese means there is too much excess fat in the body. This is a problem that leads to diabetes, heart disease, and other complications.

Multiple studies have looked at the connection between testosterone production and body weight. These studies report a reduction in testosterone levels among men who are obese. 

Sedentary Lifestyle

In the modern world, more people are becoming sedentary. The human body needs exercise to remain fit and healthy.

Exercise is also an excellent strategy to reduce body weight, which means it is a preventative tool for obesity. Studies also show that exercise can significantly improve the amount of free testosterone circulating through a man’s body. 

Caloric Surplus Diet

Excluding testosterone killing food may not be enough to ensure a man’s diet is optimized. When eating a diet that creates a caloric surplus, it means a man will start to gain weight – or continue to come closer to a state of obesity.

Overweight men should consider a caloric deficit diet. This helps them lose weight. Men with a healthy weight should get a balance between calories exerted and consumed. 

Adding The Right Foods

While some foods kill testosterone, others may help increase this hormone levels. Cruciferous vegetables, for example, lower the estrogen levels in the body. This creates an opportunity for more testosterone to circulate.

Some foods also help to improve blood flow. This could be great for men with erectile dysfunction. This happens when eating foods that increase nitric oxide in the body, which may help maintain healthy androgen levels in the blood. 

Sleep Deficiency

We all need sleep each day to remain alert and productive. For men, getting too little sleep causes issues with more than just the mind.

Even just a one-week period of restriction can already have a significantly adverse impact on testosterone production in the male body. This was shown after researchers created such a restrictive state among a group of healthy, young men. 


Something that we all experience regularly. Stress is good for the body in some cases, but chronic stress can cause problems.

When a man is under too much stress or when the stress becomes chronic, he is at risk of a reduced serum testosterone level.

Studies show that both psychological and physiological stress can cause a man to experience a low level of testosterone. 


Some factors are preventable, such as obesity or stress. There are, however, cases where a man may not have much control over a situation where something causes low testosterone.

An injury to the testicles is one such example. When a man has suffered a direct blow or another type of injury in this area, they may reduce testosterone production. This is because the testes are the main source of testosterone production in men.

Alcohol And Smoking

These are two common culprits among men who have a low level of testosterone. Alcohol itself can lead to reduced production of this androgen hormone.

Smoking causes blood vessels to become thinner, which makes it harder for the body to deliver testosterone to all cells and tissue.

Combined, the man may experience signs of low testosterone, such as reduced muscle growth and increased fat distribution in the abdomen. 

Apart from looking at testosterone killing foods and the additional factors that kill testosterone, there is another element to consider.

Lower testosterone is generally considered a common problem in older men. This is because a man’s testosterone level starts to decline with age. 

Young men generally have higher testosterone levels, which can generally explain why it is easier to build muscle mass, and have a healthy libido. 

The body’s testosterone production is reduced by an estimated 1% each year after a man reaches an age between 30 and 40. In these cases, synthetic hormones are sometimes used as a way to address the hormonal imbalance. 


Nutrition has a major impact on every aspect of our health and wellbeing. Sexual function isn’t the exception. Some foods reduce or kill testosterone.

Low testosterone induces a wide range of symptoms that affect a man’s quality of life and sexual function.

This post focused on foods that reduce testosterone levels. While it’s not practical to avoid many of these testosterone killing foods entirely, you may want to reduce their consumption. 

Next Up

foods to increase testosterone levels

Learn The Best Diet To Increase Testosterone Levels.


  1. Obesity Reviews. (2015) Testosterone and obesity. [online] Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25982085 
  2. Endocrine Connections. (2017) Exercise training improves free testosterone in lifelong sedentary aging men. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5510446/
  3. JAMA. (2015) Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/
  4. Psychiatry Investigation. (2016) Salivary Testosterone Levels Under Psychological Stress and Its Relationship with Rumination and Five Personality Traits in Medical Students. [online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5128352

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