Vegan diets are becoming increasingly popular among those who want to improve their health and better control what they’re putting in their body. However, for some who want to boost their testosterone levels, the notion of a plant-based diet can seem dicey – eating foods high in protein, like meat, contribute to building muscle and secreting glucagon, a hormone that boosts testosterone.
If you’re planning on going vegan, fear not: some evidence suggests that some elements of vegan and plant-based diets can actually boost testosterone levels. Let’s talk about why that is, and how you can incorporate a plant-based diet into a larger wellness plan designed to boost your testosterone.
Myths About Veganism and Testosterone
Myth #1: Eating less meat will lower my testosterone.
Some men are reticent to go on vegan diets for fear that they won’t get the muscle-building proteins they need to boost their testosterone. However, provided that your diet is sufficiently balanced, going vegan will not lower your testosterone. All the body needs to maintain its testosterone levels are appropriate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and zinc, all of which can be gained by eating the right vegan foods.
Myth #2: Eating soy makes you lose testosterone and gain estrogen.
One reason for concern among people considering vegan diets to boost their testosterone is that many associate veganism with soy, as vegans often use soy-based meat replacements like tofu or tempeh. While soy is a good source for protein, they also contain soy isoflavones, estrogen-like compounds that some claim lead to lower levels of testosterone in the body.
However, studies have shown that soy isoflavone intake has virtually no impact on testosterone levels, so you can feel free to have a soy and plant-based diet without fear of losing your progress.
Can Going Vegan Boost Your Testosterone?
There are a couple of different ways a vegan diet can boost testosterone. First and foremost, there are the direct benefits of vegan diets – vitamins and minerals like vitamin D and zinc that contribute to testosterone production. Vegan diets also cut down on fatty, processed foods that can contribute to poor body composition, which dramatically affects the extent to which your body can produce testosterone.
According to one study, vegan men were shown to have 13% higher testosterone levels than men who eat meat, and 8% more than men who were just vegetarian.
But going vegan also contributes to a more improved lifestyle overall, which can offer indirect boosts to your testosterone:
Controlling Your Weight
Lower body-mass index (BMI) is associated with higher testosterone; eating leaner, more plant-based diets commonly result in healthy, efficient weight loss.
Improvements in Mood
Anxiety and stress levels can also lead to lower testosterone; by going vegan (which studies have shown lowers stress and anxiety), your improved mood can further bolster your testosterone.
Lower Risks of Cancer
Cancer and other serious illness can also hamper testosterone production; some studies have shown that vegan diets can both lower your risk of cancer and raise your testosterone level. Indole-3-carbinol, a mineral found in cruciferous vegetables, flushes out excess estrogen which can lower your risk of cancer.
Providing a Balanced Diet
A well-planned and sufficiently calorie-rich diet can still provide all the macro- and micronutrients, as well as the antioxidants, required to produce testosterone in the human body.
With a vegan diet, you can create an internal environment that is ideal for producing more testosterone. Once your body has fewer dietary obstacles in the way, your body can get on with the business of naturally increasing your T levels.
Vegan Foods that Boost Testosterone
If you want to start a vegan diet that boosts your testosterone levels, there are a number of foods you can use to get started.
Vitamin D often plays a big part in increasing testosterone levels, so eating cereals fortified with vitamin D can contribute to boosting your testosterone.
Whether white, black, red or navy, beans are fantastic sources of zinc and vitamin D, which both contribute to testosterone levels.
Garlic contains a sulfur-containing compound called diallyl disulfide, which contributes to boosting testosterone.
Broccoli, cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol, a chemical that helps the body flush out excess estrogen, which gives room for free testosterone to bind to androgen receptors.
Olive oil is a healthy source of monounsaturated fats, and studies have shown that men who consume olive oil on a regular basis have shown resultant increases in their testosterone levels.
Pineapples contain bromelain, which has been demonstrated to maintain testosterone concentrations in men already experiencing loss of T levels.
Not only do beets contain boron, an essential mineral for testosterone production, they also increase nitric oxide levels in your blood, which aids in issues of erectile dysfunction.
If you’re looking for other strong sources of zinc, pumpkin seeds also fit the bill, and can work as a testosterone-boosting vegan snack.
Testosterone production requires appropriate levels of vitamins B and E, which asparagus provides in ample supply.
Veganism As Part Of A Larger Testosterone Wellness Plan
If you’re looking to raise your testosterone, eating a vegan diet can help, but it’s only part of a larger picture that will give you higher testosterone levels in the long run. If you’re looking to significantly boost your testosterone levels and maintain them years to come, a vegan diet should just be one part of a more comprehensive testosterone regimen that includes exercise, lifestyle changes, and testosterone replacement therapy.
For those considering finding natural ways to boost your testosterone, it might be helpful to consider going on a vegan diet. Not only will you experience the direct benefits of going vegan, it will have the supplemental effect of boosting your testosterone along the way.
For those interested in taking the next step in their testosterone journey, consult your doctor or talk to wellness professionals near you. Renew Vitality is available for consultations and free exams to help you determine your testosterone health and find the plan that’s best for you.
This content was reviewed by Dr. Gary Kawesch. Dr. Kawesch graduated from Yale University, getting his degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. He then got his medical degree at the UCLA School of Medicine. He completed his internship in internal medicine at USC’s Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, and his ophthalmology residency at the UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute. For over 18 years, Dr. Kawesch was one of the foremost ophthalmic surgeons in the US and has consulted with and was a team doctor for seven professional sports teams in California. He continues to work with the Oakland Raiders. He trained with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and helps men increase their vitality, lifespan and overall healthspan.