It is a question I hear very often and one that still catches me by surprise to this day; do bananas kill your testosterone levels?
While it is a fair question to ask if you’re now looking into ways to improve your testosterone, the truth is, this fruit has unfairly picked up a bad reputation over the years. But why is it that so many people ask the question? Let’s analyze below.
Bananas Are Calorie Dense
The main issue relating to the consumption of bananas has to do with its relatively heavy caloric load, which comes out in the vicinity of 90 to 110 cal per serving, measured at a 100 g serving size. This leads quite a few men to believe that consumption of bananas is synonymous with an accumulation of excessive fat, while this is not necessarily the case.
First and foremost, having a banana daily will not make you fat, unless you plan to consume four of them in one sitting. Heck, that isn’t even very bad if you are actively trying to put on muscle mass. If your lifestyle is sedentary and that’s what you plan to do, fat gain is virtually a given.
However, if you are actively involved in physical activity there is nothing to worry about in this aspect. As long as you are expending close to or using more calories than you consume daily, you will not gain weight.
Bananas Are High In Carbohydrates
Okay, if the number of calories wasn’t your primary concern, this definitely is, correct? It seems most persons are concerned with the number of carbohydrates to consume daily, which is understandable, but you need not go crazy unless you are specifically trying to maintain a state of ketosis. What many men do not know is the fact that diets extremely low in carbohydrates, and which replace it with protein, are generally associated with lower testosterone levels even if fat intake remains constant.
What this indicates is that protein directly has no beneficial role on testosterone, even though many people associate its muscle protein synthesis properties with testosterone. This is simply not true.
A typical banana contains approximately 27 g of carbohydrates, which is fairly sizable, but given that your diet only makes provisions for good carbohydrate sources, you have nothing to worry about.
Findings of a study also indicated that carbohydrates are important for influencing neurons in the brain which are critically involved in stimulating the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which in turn increases testosterone synthesis.
More than anything, it is important to strike a balance between protein and carbohydrate consumption, to not miss out on the key regulative effects that carbs can offer.
Bananas Are An Excellent Source Of Important Micronutrients
While macronutrients take the lion’s share of the glory when talking about testosterone, the micronutrients, usually, vitamins and minerals needed in very small amounts, do a lot of work behind the scenes to ensure that important cellular processes are regulated.
Here are the most important ones found in bananas that can benefit your testosterone levels:
For the most part, all of the B vitamins are grouped together as doing the same thing, even though there are many inherent differences between each of these vitamins.
In the case of vitamin B6, it has an important role to play in suppressing prolactin levels, prolactin being a hormone that men do not need a lot of. Prolactin’s primary function relates to initiation and maintenance of lactation by a pregnant or breastfeeding mother, with high levels contributing significantly to the development of gynecomastia in men (man boobs).
Studies have even shown that rodents with low levels of circulating testosterone also possess low levels of this important B vitamin, highlighting a possible link between the two. Unless you are actively consuming a B complex or B6 supplement, bananas can help to fortify your diet with this important vitamin.
Well known across the world as everyone’s favorite antioxidant vitamin, vitamin C does much more than this, and when it comes to its benefits on a man’s testosterone levels, it can help to reduce cortisol levels.
Cortisol and testosterone can be considered opposite ends of the spectrum, with testosterone helping to initiate anabolism (tissue building) and cortisol catabolism( tissue breakdown). As one increases, the other decreases in an inverse matter, which is why persons under very high stress report the lowest testosterone levels.
By helping to suppress cortisol, you are lending a hand to natural testosterone production, since the stress hormone will not be able to inhibit it to the same extent.
Bananas are an excellent source of potassium; a micro-mineral many people stand to benefit handsomely from. If you are a man of a certain age, blood pressure issues become more commonplace. While juggling treatments to find which one works good for you, consumption of foods with high potassium levels can shorten the curve and in some cases, reduce your need for medication altogether.
Potassium helps to dilate blood vessels, can improve neuromuscular contractility (so no more cramps), and according to separate studies conducted on rodents, it was found that a potassium deficiency is also associated with significant drops in blood testosterone levels.
Many rodent studies correlate with those done in humans, so if this indicates anything, it’s that later human studies may indicate the same. Why wait for verification? We already know potassium has several other important functions, so whether or not this holds true, there is nothing to lose by adding a daily banana to your diet.
Bananas And Testosterone – Summary
When it comes to the relationship, I can emphatically state that there is no harm in consuming a banana daily, or even two, given that physical activity is important to you.
The only time bananas may adversely affect testosterone, along with virtually anything else you eat, is if you sit for a large majority of the day, and do nothing to support healthy testosterone levels.
Michael Jessimy is a qualified Pharmacist with over 10 years experience dealing with a range of both prescription and alternative remedies.
He is also an amateur heavyweight bodybuilder and loves spending his spare time hitting the gym.
He strives to help others build the best body possible through fitness, health and nutrition consultation and has several published books under his name.