Look at your hands. Is your ring finger – the fourth, counting the thumb – longer than the index finger?
If so, and you are male, good for you. That is a sign of high testosterone, or T: the hormone that influences your energy, libido, muscle size and strength. Testosterone may even help you think more sharply. In fact, testosterone lies at the heart of desire, ambition, even history, according to a website devoted to it, T-nation.com.
1. Research shows that exceptional athletes and math whizzes have extra long ring fingers. The positive peculiarity may mean that, when in the womb, they received soaring testosterone doses, which could partly explain their success.
2. Testosterone is key to good health. It boosts oxygen uptake throughout the body, and helps curb blood sugar and cholesterol.
3. Testosterone is also vital to physical fitness. The chemical’s presence curbs body fat and boosts strength and libido. For both sexes testosterone is an aphrodisiac – only men produce about 15 times more.
4. Testosterone levels change after a win or a loss. Post-match, winners have pumped testosterone levels and are keener to compete again, in a case of the “winner effect”. If over-elevated, testosterone may, however, fuel irrational exuberance.
5. Traders with tons of testosterone “attack the day”. They are more likely to make aggressive trades and win wild success than twitchy rivals drenched in the stress hormone, cortisol. When the T levels of a trader on a winning streak surge, however, the boost may spark such euphoria that he underestimates risk.
6. Testosterone is a fleeting commodity. After a man hits 30, it looks as if the party is over. His testosterone production level plunges 10 per cent per decade, potentially causing those fetching breasts called “man boobs.”
7. If you want to turbocharge your T, the solution is simple. Work out hard with heavy weights. The effort revs it up in a positive feedback loop that gives you more oomph to exercise. Testosterone is like gasoline.
8. Also, consume animal protein. Studies show that purely vegetarian diets produce lower blood testosterone levels. So, ensure you fit plenty of poultry, beef, fish and pork into your diet. Even better, consume another protein source, nuts. Men who eat diets rich in monounsaturated fat – the kind found in peanuts – have the highest testosterone levels. Nuts, olive oil, avocado and peanut butter are all good monounsaturated fat sources. So you can vary the mix.
9. You could also try taking herbs. Not parsley or oregano. Try horny goat weed (a herbal combo), tongat ali (a flowering Asian plant), tribulus terrestris (a flowering plant with thumbtack-like “nutlets”) and mucuna pruriens (a tropical legume). All apparently ramp up testosterone.
10. To sustain your T level, include some fat in your diet but go easy on the alcohol and stay cool because the stress hormone cortisol kills testosterone production. Also ensure you get your full eight hours of sleep. Your T levels soar in the morning for a reason.