Have you wondered if you have low testosterone and what that might mean for you? Men have good reason to worry. Low testosterone, also known as low T, can affect your quality of life now and well into the future. Let’s explore what this is all about and how you can help your body increase your testosterone levels naturally.

Why Men Should Worry

Men should be concerned about declining testosterone levels even if they haven’t lowered enough to warrant medical intervention. eMedicineHealth discusses how testosterone is linked to more than fertility and masculine appearance. It’s important for bone health and cardiovascular function. It can have a beneficial effect on lean muscle mass and body fat. There’s a strong link between low levels of testosterone and having two or more chronic conditions, such as arthritis, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, clinical depression, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, stroke, pulmonary disease or high blood pressure. This link was observed even in men younger than 40.

Your Lifestyle Matters

The obesity epidemic has brought with it more than just concerns about appearance. Obesity and physical inactivity launch a whole chain of metabolic reactions that affect your quality of life and may be involved in declining testosterone. Low testosterone is linked to physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet, poor sleep, stress, anxiety and too much alcohol consumption. Some prescription medications contribute to lowered testosterone production as well.

Foods that are treated with hormones have become problematic. Beef and other meats containing hormones contribute to hormone imbalances in people. Men can end up with increased estrogen, which naturally interferes with testosterone production.

So, where does that leave men? Thankfully, knowledge is power, and there are many things that you can do to take care of your health. Andro Fuel discusses how almost all the natural ways to boost testosterone depend on lifestyle changes. You might see this as bad news, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the power of this position.

Lifestyle changes are well within your grasp, and they are all changes that you should make for general good health, anyway. The side benefit is that they can increase your testosterone production while making your risk of developing certain chronic diseases plummet. Are you ready to take charge?

Clean Up Your Diet

Cleaning up your diet is the single most important thing that you can do to increase your testosterone. It’s important to eat clean proteins and reduce omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids. Eliminating high-PUFA oils, like refined canola oil and margarine, is essential to your success. The consumption of trans-fat has been directly linked to lowered testosterone and sperm counts.

For our purposes, a “clean” protein is one that has not been treated with hormones or fed grains. Cattle are often treated with hormones to speed their growth and encourage the production of leaner meat. Luckily, farmers are banned from feeding hormones to poultry, and there are no approved uses for steroids in veal or pork.

It’s important to check the source of your meats to make sure that they are grass-fed and have not been treated with hormones. This may mean buying your beef somewhere other than the grocery store. It’s more expensive to buy grass-fed, hormone-free beef, but when you look at it as an investment in your health, it’s worth it.

Clean Eating Magazine recommends eating more fish. Fish is an important source of protein that deserves a lot more plate time. The only caveat here is to buy it wild-caught fish when you can. The health benefits of eating fish is that many are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for hormone production. Mackerel, salmon, anchovies, sardines and herring are all excellent choices for increasing your omega-3s.

Another key player is D-aspartic acid. This amino acid is found abundantly in fish and helps build Leydig cells. These cells are found in the testes and are responsible for creating testosterone. Increasing your consumption of aspartic acid can boost the production and transportation of testosterone within as little as two weeks.

Add Carbs and Leafy Greens

Mom was right on the money when she said to eat your vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are the green, leafy kind, such as broccoli, cauliflower, arugula and kale. They have a substance known as indole-3-ethanol, which helps break down estrogen. Less estrogen in your body means more testosterone. Consuming more leafy greens also increases your fiber intake. Increased fiber helps your body rid itself of environmental estrogens.

Wealthy Gorilla suggests that you don’t forget to add quality carbohydrates, like potatoes, to your diet. Despite all the hate thrown at carbs, they have been shown to reduce cortisol levels and increase testosterone. Reduced cortisol means less stress and less fat around your middle. The carbs you really have to worry about are the simple sugars.

Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

Heavy alcohol consumption can have a devastating effect on testosterone levels and sperm count. Chronically high levels of alcohol increase estrogen and poison the Leydig cells needed for testosterone production. If you stick to one to two alcoholic beverages per day, you shouldn’t have to worry.

Increase Your Exercise

No matter how young or old a man is, obesity and physical inactivity may cause his testosterone to drop. It’s even more likely to happen if your excess weight is carried around the middle.

While even light exercise can boost men’s life spans, lifting heavy weights can have more of an impact on increasing testosterone. Cardiovascular exercises, like running, biking and swimming, also stimulate testosterone production, so your overall health isn’t the only thing that will benefit from rounding out your exercise routine.

Reduce Your Stress and Anxiety

All of us experience continual stress these days. It’s an unavoidable fact of life, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do about it. Depression Alliance warns that stress doesn’t just rob you of your peace, it lowers your testosterone and increases cortisol.

Even 10 minutes of meditation per day can dramatically reduce stress. It clears your head and gives way to better focus. An added benefit of meditation is that it can lead to better sleep, which also helps raise testosterone levels.

Light exercise helps reduce stress, too. Beware that heavy, intense workouts can cause your cortisol levels to soar on days your stress is high. Instead, try yoga or a long walk when you’re feeling stressed out.

Check Your Prescriptions

Many prescription medications, especially those for depression, can cause low testosterone. If you are taking any prescription medication, ask your doctor if it could be contributing to lowered testosterone. Your doctor may be able to switch you to a different medication that has less of a detrimental effect.

Improve Your Sleep

Romanhood talks about how it can be tempting to skimp on shut-eye and say it doesn’t matter. But, not getting enough sleep makes it harder to cope with stress, which increases cortisol and decreases your testosterone. Increased sleep duration suppresses cortisol and helps provide a reset in stress levels. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule that allows you an optimal seven to nine hours of sleep.

Check Out Helpful Supplements

Ashwagandha is a supplement that can help you destress within about 15 minutes. Not only that, but it’ll help you get more restful sleep. A good ZMA supplement can improve your sleep quality, also. Vitamin C reduces your cortisol levels and the damaging effects it can have on the body.

Every single one of these lifestyle changes is something you have power over. You’re kicking to the curb all that no longer serves you. There is absolutely no one more powerful than you when it comes to changing your life and improving your health.