As men, we know that our testosterone is important to us. It plays a huge role in many aspects of our lives, including mood, energy, sex drive, muscle growth, fat loss, and much more.
Many of us don’t pay close enough attention to our testosterone levels and how they can affect our mental health – which is why today I want to talk about the relationship between low T and depression.
After all, it’s easy to ignore those nagging feelings… But, my friend, I’m here to tell you that anxiety and depression matter! And here’s how low T could be causing you to feel sluggish in several areas of your life.
What can affect your testosterone levels?
There are many things that can affect your testosterone levels. If I’m honest, it’s a bit of a vicious cycle! We fall into a slump of feeling crappy, skip the gym, eat more processed foods and feel worse… So it’s no surprise our T takes a hit.
Also Read: Seven tips to boost your energy levels
Don’t worry, though! I’m here to help. Let’s start by taking a look at what can affect your T levels in the first place.
What you eat
The life you lead and the diet you eat can affect your testosterone levels. But did you know that some foods you’re unknowingly consuming could be stunting your testosterone?
Of course, certain foods can be bad for us in general (especially when we eat too much of them!), but what foods should you look to limit or avoid? We’ve made a list below of foods that could kill your T levels, and what you should look to add into your diet for an overall health boost!
- Baked good/processed foods
- Soy and soy-based products
- Vegetable oil
So, what should you be eating? The following foods have shown to…
- Greek yogurt
- Dark chocolate
- Lean protein
Also Read: Signs that you’re burnt out
While the odd beer won’t negatively impact your life, consuming too much alcohol can certainly lead to some negative effects.
Stress and anxiety
Our relationships, jobs, finances and families can add a great deal of stress to our lives, and we all deal with this in different ways. When we experience high stress for prolonged periods, this can lead to a constant stream of cortisol. This can then cause a weakened immune system, poor quality sleep and reduced testosterone levels.
Your health and wellbeing are incredibly important and should always be the main priority. Learning how to manage your stress and keep an eye out for any signs of low testosterone is also vital ahead of managing any low T and depression.
Symptoms of low testosterone include:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Irritability and/or difficulty concentrating
- Weight gain; particularly around the abdomen
- Low sex drive
It is likely that there is a whole range of reasons as to why you’re stressed or anxious. Here are a few things you can try to help manage stress and low T:
- Improve your diet: Eating a lower fat and higher protein diet can not only help balance out your testosterone levels, but it may help get you out of that slump too.
- Good quality sleep: Sleep is vital to our hormone regulation. If you find that you’re constantly going to bed late, try winding down and settling into bed earlier to get plenty of rest.
- Exercise: Even just a little exercise is great for boosting our mood. Cardio also releases endorphins, which can help reduce stress and boost T levels.
As silly as it sounds, your sleep habits could be the reason for your low T and depression. Most of the testosterone men release in a day, as a night during sleep. So if you are not sleeping well or getting enough hours of rest at night, your T levels could be affected. Studies have shown that even just a week of bad sleep is enough to reduce your T levels by as much as 15%.
Not moving your body and getting out of the house can be bad for your T levels and not to mention your mental wellbeing. Even a short walk in the fresh air will release those feel-good endorphins to give your mood a boost and make you feel a little lighter.
How to boost your T levels
There’s no need to suffer in silence. As well as opening up to a friend or family member about your worries or concerns, you can also look for ways to boost your T levels naturally, therefore supporting your mood and overall wellness!
Due to the fact that we men produce most of our testosterone when we’re asleep, it means our levels are at their highest in the morning. This may mean that if you work out in the morning, you could experience a spike in your T levels in the short term.
Also Read: How to get more energy in the morning
There may be certain exercises that are better than others at boosting T levels, but overall, any and all forms of exercise are good. The following exercises are said to give temporary boosts of testosterone.
Strength training: As this form of working out is around weight lifting and building muscle, it’s obviously the one that generates the most testosterone. Increasing your strength all over your body is great for your metabolism and to avoid injury. But if it’s upping the T you want to do, focus on lifting weights using larger muscle groups like arms, legs, chest etc.
HIIT (High-intensity interval training): This involves short bursts of activity over a certain period of time. You’ll exercise and then have a break of either the same amount of time or a little shorter and then repeat. This type of exercise is great as it really gets your heart rate going. For maximum benefit, exercise for 20 minutes to an hour.
As we mentioned a little earlier, eating a healthy diet is essential to keep us energized for workouts, fuel for concentration, and just generally the energy for everyday life.
Eating a diet full of lean protein and low-fat options will help boost your muscle growth and keep your weight down, therefore keeping your T levels and a healthy level.
Examples of lean protein could be:
- White fish
- Greek yogurt
- Beans and legumes
- Cottage cheese
We all know that we feel better when we eat better because we don’t feel sluggish and we have the motivation to exercise. This is not only great for our T levels but our mental health too.
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Ready to fight back against depression and low mood?
We totally get that life can be stressful sometimes! But that doesn’t mean you need to suffer from low mood and depression in silence. With the above tips, fighting back has never been easier.
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