13 Foods That Lower Testosterone Levels

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Testosterone is also known as the sex hormone. It supports and initiates secondary sexual characteristics in males. These changes occur during adolescence. It is produced by testicles in males. 

It plays a key role in sexual functions like libido and sperm production. It is also important for muscle mass gain. The normal required level for males is 10-35 nmol/ L.

Low levels of testosterone may cause numerous problems. It may lead to decreased sex drive, low sperm count, and red blood cells.

It may get serious to an extent that it causes depression. Not just males, testosterone is vital for female health. In females, it is produced by the ovaries and adrenal gland.

Some amount of testosterone is required, in combination, with the female sex hormone estrogen. A balanced level results in good libido, bone mass, and sexual function.

The normal requirement for females is 0.5-2.4 nmol/ L. A low or high level of testosterone in females is linked to health issues.

Excess may cause weight gain, balding, PCOS, and deep voice. Additional symptoms may include acne and enlarged clit.

On the other hand, women with low testosterone may experience mood swings, low sex drive, early menopause, and faster aging.

From all the information stated above, we know how important it is to watch out for our testosterone levels. One fact that you might be ignoring is your food intake.

Foods have a huge impact on testosterone levels. If you are experiencing low levels of testosterone, you may need to avoid consuming such foods. 

Contrarily, if you have high testosterone levels, you may want to include these in your diet. In this article, we will cover the foods that lower testosterone.

foods that reduce testosterone
  • Soy And Soy Products

    The use of soy products has witnessed a rise lately. Soy has been exceptional in serving nutritional needs. The rise in its popularity is the “go vegan” sect. 

    A large proportion of people rely majorly on soy products. Are you one of them? If yes, you are unaware of the potential damage it can cause. 

    Products like soy milk, edamame, and tofu may negatively affect testosterone. This can be explained by the presence of phytoestrogen.

    They replicate estrogen which is another sex hormone. Some studies have shown that with the rise in phytoestrogen, the level of testosterone decreases. 

    Some other researchers have different findings. Therefore, it won’t be safe to conclude about its impact.

    Until more specific studies are conducted, it is better to avoid or reduce the intake of soy products. 

  • Chocolate

    This one might be shocking and sad at the same time. Chocolate has numerous health benefits. 

    Dark chocolate has more pros than other varieties. It is a known mood booster. But some findings suggest that chocolate may lower testosterone levels.

    This is due to an increase in the activity of aromatase enzymes. This enzyme is responsible for the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. 

    It is also a source of phytoestrogen that may mess up with testosterone. More studies are required to bring the conflicting statements to a safe conclusion.

  • Alcohol

    Alcohol worsens nearly all the issues. It is claimed to be relaxing and fun. On the contrary hand, statistics suggest otherwise. These claims are far from reality.

     Alcohol has been a big factor influencing mental stability. It makes a person weak and depressed. It is not a stress killer but rather a promoter. 

    A drink or two occasionally is unlikely to cause hormonal changes. But if a person is an addict, it may lead to a significant decrease in testosterone levels.

    Studies suggest that prolonged use of 2-3 standard-size drinks is enough to cause damage. To deeply understand more about it, detailed research is needed.

  • Grains And Grain Products

    Bread, pasta, and breakfast cereal are quick breakfast options. They are saviors during the morning rush, hence remaining the top picks. 

    Grains are packed with nutrition. Therefore they are a healthy option. But grains like rice and cereals may kill testosterone due to the presence of phytoestrogen.

     Not only these but your favorite pasta, bread, and crackers make it to the list too. An additional reason for yet another time is an increase in the activity of aromatase enzymes. 

  • Dairy Products

    Milk and its never-ending products are a treat. Cheesy recipes are enough to soothe tingling taste buds. A glass of milk is food indeed. Yogurt has proven benefits for digestion.

    But if you are already at the lower end of testosterone levels or want to increase it, choose your feastful treat wisely. 

    The majority of the milk comes from cows. This milk is rich in estrogen and progesterone.

    It is likely to adversely affect testosterone. Cow’s feed may also contain soybean. This may further worsen its effect. 

    Even though enough evidence does not support or oppose this statement, it is better to watch their intake.

    Detailed research will be required to clear the doubts in the air about dairy and testosterone.

  • Sugar

    Desserts are a delight. They add a sweet ending to meals and help the gut. Sweet tooth cravings and mouth-watering sweets give a strong push towards sugary edibles.

    However, the risk can never be overlooked. Sugar is not linked to just tooth decay. It may also interfere with hormone levels.

    Some experts suggest that increased sugar intake may lead to a drop in testosterone levels. 

    As per reports, the normal sugar consumption of an adult is twice the required amounts. This may call for unwanted health problems and decreased testosterone.

  • Mint

    The refreshing minty flavor makes mint unavoidable. Peppermint and spearmint are traditionally important herbs.

    They are believed to cure stress and sinuses. Mint has been a quick remedy for nausea and digestive issues. But some cons do exist.

    One of these is its impact on testosterone. A study involving rats was conducted to test the same. They were fed mint tea and discovery was astonishing.

    Testosterone levels decreased significantly in comparison to those who were given normal water.

    Mint cigarettes are a double threat to health. Smoking already may kill testosterone. Using mint ones can add up to the results.

  • Processed Foods

    Processed foods have a huge market despite being a storehouse of trans fat. Packed, preprocessed, and stored food contain unhealthy fat. 

    This fat was found to have ties to heart problems initially. With evolving and dynamic studies, it was found that it kills testosterone. 

    Not only does it lower testosterone levels but reduces testicular function. Sperm count is reduced over time. Therefore, it is better to opt for healthy and balanced food.

  • Vegetable Oils

    Vegetable oils are kitchen essentials. They aid in increasing the shelf life and taste of food. Several types of oils like soybean, canola, cottonseed, and sunflower oils are available. 

    They are an enriched source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These are often linked with health benefits.

    However, on the dark side, they may lower testosterone. The limited amount of studies conducted suggest that PUFAs may be killing testosterone.

    The pros of vegetable oils overshadow their cons. But if you are aiming at boosting testosterone, you should consider avoiding them.

  • Nuts

    Nuts are tiny yet bulky sources of fiber, proteins, and fats. They make the diet more balanced and nourishing.

    Some of them are walnuts, peanuts, almonds, and pistachios. However, they also contain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

    These are linked with a drop in testosterone levels. If you don’t want to miss out on the crunch, you can choose from nuts that lack PUFAs. Some of them are macadamia and brazil nuts.

  • Flax Seeds

    One of the reputed and nutrient-rich seeds is flax seeds. They have gained popularity for their health benefits. They are a tough competition to chia seeds. 

    They might even be a good replacement for a few seeds in some cases.  They reduce blood sugar levels, offer dietary fiber, and reduce hunger.

    The presence of lignans offers advantages too. But this plant compound i.e. lignan is observed as a testosterone killer.

    These findings are based on a study related to men with prostate cancer. Their diet was low fat with flaxseed supplementation. The results indicated the contribution of flaxseeds in killing testosterone, this one of the side effects of flax seeds.

    Study on Omega 3 in relation to lowering of testosterone.

  • Baked Food Products

    The sight of pastries and cookies is tempting. However, little is known that they also contain trans unsaturated fatty acids. 

    Eating them in moderation may not affect testosterone levels. But if you consider giving yourself baked treats, you are putting your body at risk. 

    Unhealthy weight gain and increased insulin levels are an extra cookie away. Moreover, the trans fat present in them may lower your testosterone levels.

  • Licorice Root

    To begin with, licorice root is not the same as licorice candy. The candy rarely contains licorice root.

    Talking about the root, it is used as a sweetener. It is often a good companion for beverages. It is also used to relieve pain and cough. 

    However, two different studies conducted with men and women highlighted the possible threat to testosterone levels by licorice root. 

    Men were given a 7 g supplement of licorice root daily. After a week, they witnessed a drop of 26% in T levels.  Women were given a lighter dose of 3.5 g.

    They observed a drop of 32% in T levels within one menstrual cycle. The findings suggest against the use of licorice root when aiming at boosting testosterone.


Testosterone is essential for normal functioning. Though it is a male sex hormone, it is equally important for females. 

It looks after functions like sex drive and satisfaction in both genders. Despite being a sex hormone, it plays a crucial role in other functions. 

These include muscle mass gain, bone health, and mood. If you see the bigger picture, a balance in testosterone levels is the key to a happy life.

Any imbalance may cause depression, low sex drive, and fluctuations in mood. One contributing factor in testosterone management is food.

Several foods like dairy, alcoholic drinks, and soy products lower testosterone levels. In case of high testosterone, they can be added to diet plans. But if you are suffering from low testosterone, consider avoiding them.