ATTENTION MEN: Discover what foods and habits will raise your testosterone levels!

For men, having enough testosterone is about more than being macho or “ripped,” it’s about health and quality of life. Testosterone is a hormone (a cellular messenger) that plays a vital role in bone density, red blood cell production, mental acuity, metabolism, muscle strength/mass, and sex drive. While testosterone levels naturally start to decline after age 30, there are a number of nutrients and actions that promote the highest levels of testosterone possible at any given age. The key is Creation Based Living (eating real food, getting sunshine, exercising, and getting enough rest), but I’ve broken down some of the specifics as they relate to testosterone below:

Nutrients

  • Magnesium – Most Americans are at least 100 mg deficient of this important nutrient. Magnesium has dose dependent, positive effects on testosterone levels. Good sources of magnesium include: swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, halibut, pumpkin seeds, and mustard greens.
  • Zinc – Zinc deficiency contributes to low testosterone levels. Zinc is an important co-factor in testosterone production. Testosterone levels increase with zinc supplementation but stabilize after adequate zinc is obtained.
  • Vitamin D – Supplementation with cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) corresponds with increased blood levels of testosterone. In studies, testosterone levels were dose dependent but plateaued at higher levels of vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D produced by the skin during sun exposure may be one of the best ways to boost testosterone levels, as 15 minutes in the sun can result in up to 20,000 IU of water soluble vitamin D.
  • Vitamins C – Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C has been shown to improve sperm quality, as well as lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is very similar to testosterone but has the opposite effects. Cortisol is released in response to mental and physical stress and directly corresponds to decreased levels of testosterone. Vitamin C may help maintain testosterone levels by protecting against excess cortisol production during extreme stress.

Exercise

  • Weight-loss/lean muscle mass – Obesity is linked to low testosterone and can result in a vicious cycle of ongoing weight gain. The best way to break the cycle is by eating a healthy diet and following an exercise routine.
  • Resistance Training/Heavy lifting – Lifting heaving weights is associated with increased testosterone production. High intensity exercises activate the central nervous and endocrine systems — jump starting the body’s testosterone output. To maximize testosterone levels, perform compound movements like squats, dead lifts, and bench presses, and lift with heavy enough weight that you can only perform 3-8 reps per set.

Rest

  • Sleep – Getting enough sleep is vital for a healthy reproductive system, keeping cortisol levels low, and boosting testosterone. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night.
  • Meditation – Lowering mental stress is an essential part of maintaining optimum testosterone levels and overall health. Meditation is a proven technique for reducing anxiety, increasing calmness, and lowering cortisol levels.

In order to further limit cortisol production and excess estrogen, avoid the following:

  • Xenoestrogens – These are organic and synthetic compounds that imitate estrogen and may disturb the body’s appropriate estrogen/testosterone balance. Xenoestrogens include chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and PCBs.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Excessive mental and physical stress

The take away: what’s good for your manliness is good for your whole body!

ReferencesMagnesium Supplementation in Older MenMagnesium and Testosterone Levels in AthletesAdequate Zinc and TestosteroneZinc Status and TestosteroneVitamin D Supplementation and Testosterone LevelsVitamin D and Dose DependentVitamin C and Cortisol,Testosterone Levels in Health Men: Facts and ConstructsObesity and Low TestosteroneThe Association of Testosterone and Sleep

Originally posted 2013-03-13 23:25:11.

The manly and best way to shave:

The healthiest, manliest, and most ecologically friendly option for your face is probably not to shave at all, but for those of us who aren’t ready to commit to the Grizzly Adams look (or for those whose wives or girlfriends aren’t so fond of the idea), we need to find the manliest way to shave.  Personally, I’ve been in pursuit of the best way to shave for years.  Don’t make me toss in my man card, but I’ve found it difficult to shave without irritating my skin.  The good news is I’ve found a shaving method that won’t irritate my skin and is also ecologically friendly, affordable, and natural.  It revolves around a blade, a bowl, and a brush.  You won’t have to buy aerosol cans of petroleum-based shaving cream, plastic shavers that you keep throwing out, or overpriced multi-blade razors anymore.  Follow the simple instructions below for the best shave–it’s the way men were shaving for years before all the latest marketing schemes:

You’ll need: A double-edged safety razor – these are made of stainless steel, and you’ll never have to replace it.  You’ll only have to replace the single, incredibly sharp blade (and you can purchase a year or two supply for only $10); a shaving bowl or small bowl that fits a cake of round soap; a cake of round shaving soap, I recommend Mr. Beardsley’s Shaving Soap or some other natural soap; a shaving brush, and a pre-shave oil.

1) Take a hot shower and gently scrub your face.  The hot-steam is important for a good shave – it opens the pores and softens the beard.  A proper shave takes time.  If you don’t have time to take a shower, you don’t have time to shave!  The other alternative (though not as good) is to wash your face with hot-water and then let a hot towel rest on your face for several minutes.  

2) Gently rub a pre-shave oil onto your face.  There are oils made specially for shaving, but you can also use pure almond oil (adding a little bit of tea tree oil creates a nice blend).  The oil moistens the beard and skin and allows the razor to slide gently over your face. (This step is optional.  I personally prefer shaving without a pre-shave oil.)

3) Splash hot water on your face, then use a shave brush and a little bit of hot water to lather up the soap in your shave bowl.  Apply the lather to your face in circular motions.

4) There are several things to keep in mind when you start to use your razor.  First of all, shave very gently, letting the weight of the razor do most of the work.  The goal is not to remove the beard in one stroke, but to reduce your beard with several passes of the blade (since there’s only one blade, it won’t irritate your skin).  Secondly, it’s vital that you pay very careful attention to the various directions your beard grows on your face and neck and to shave with the grain.  After most of your beard is removed and you still want a closer shave, you can experiment with gently passing the razor across the direction of your beard.  Finally, use your razor at the lowest angle possible.  This is usually about 30 degrees.  Find this angle by placing the shaver perpendicularly on your skin, then slowly lower it until it will shave your beard.  

5) Continually rinse your razor with hot water while shaving.  If your skin starts to get cool, you can place a warm wash cloth on your skin for a few seconds to help re-open your pores.

6) Reminder: TAKE YOUR TIME.  You will get faster with practice.  

7) After finished shaving, rinse your face with cold water.  You can use an astringent if desired, as well as a natural lotion/oil to re-moisturize your skin. 

A few extra tips: Store your shave brush on its side or bristle down to keep water from damaging the bristles or handle.  Coat your razor blade with your pre-shave oil after each shave to prevent oxidation and to keep the blade sharper longer.  I use tea tree oil, which is also antibacterial.  

This routine has worked wonders for me, and it’s a lot more affordable than using all the latest shaving gadgets.  Relax, reflect, and enjoy the process.  The integrity, moisture, and health of your skin is also highly dependent on your diet.  Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables, berries, and omega-3’s daily.  Happy shaving!

Originally posted 2012-12-08 06:05:00.

Increase Confidence and Testosterone with Posture

In her research, Harvard professor and sociologist, Amy Cuddy, discovered that posture has a direct impact on confidence levels and key hormones like testosterone and cortisol.  Even if we don’t have confidence in ourselves mentally, how we hold ourselves physically can cause a boost in confidence.  By simply making a practice of holding certain “power” or confident postures, it’s possible to permanently improves one’s confidence and success.

In one study, Cuddy divided participants into two groups.  She had members of one group hold “power postures,” arms open, hands on hips, and expansive body language, for several minutes, while members of the other group held “weak postures,” arms and legs crossed, heads down, etc. After only a few minutes the group that held power postures experienced a 20% increase in testosterone and a 25% decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone).  By contrast, the group that held weak postures experienced a 10% decrease in testosterone and a 15% increase in cortisol levels.  Cuddy’s studies also found that people who held power poses before a job interview increased their likelihood of being hired.

Improve your health and life by practicing expansive, open, and confident posture.  The benefits of good posture far surpass just maintaining a healthy spine.  Learn more by watching Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk:

Originally posted 2013-09-11 13:06:31.