The truth is, testosterone is an essential hormone that is naturally produced and required for both men and women to function physically. If we’re being technical, men also produce estrogen, which is a more prevalent hormone found in women to be responsible for their “femininity.” However, just in the same way that estrogen is primarily a female hormone, the presence of testosterone is more dominant in males and plays several crucial roles in their physiology.
Typically seen as the sex hormone responsible for male libido and sexual performance, testosterone regulates and maintains a man’s sexual function. Testosterone is mainly responsible for producing sperm count, sex drive, and stamina, as well as stimulating and maintaining an erection during intercourse.
But testosterone does much more than fuel a man’s sexual prowess in the bedroom. Not only does testosterone also helps to build muscle mass and bone growth, but it is also responsible for other various necessary physical functions, including:
- Brain function
- Red blood cell production
- Weight distribution
- Facial and body hair growth
From childhood to old age, men rely on testosterone to consistently keep these functions operating at an optimal level. If their testosterone levels remain normal, men can continue being active and healthy even in their 50s. But once their testosterone levels fall below healthy standards, their bodies become more vulnerable to age-related medical conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease, rapid weight gain (which can eventually lead to diabetes), and other complications. So, to avoid these issues, it is important to ensure that your testosterone remains within the appropriate range to perform its functions effectively.
Unfortunately, as men age, their testosterone levels also decline by 1% yearly, making it more difficult for their bodies to remain in peak condition. Some men may even experience a more significant drop in their testosterone levels from late-onset hypogonadism (LOH) or other underlying conditions that cause low testosterone. In most of these cases, men end up having a much harder time restoring their loss of testosterone without the help of medical treatment.
For men suffering from the symptoms of low testosterone, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one of the most effective treatments to help them restore their declining levels. But that’s just one part of the solution. The second part involves changing your lifestyle habits to help optimize the therapy’s effects so you maximize your results. And that includes the type of food you’re choosing to put on your body. Sticking to a sensible and well-balanced diet with certain foods that can boost testosterone will also provide the necessary nutrients to optimize your T levels and maintain them.
But when it comes down to creating a diet, what foods should one incorporate into their daily meal plan to increase their testosterone? Conversely, what foods should they avoid? Usually, it’s best to consult with a physician or wellness expert about what foods are the best to help increase your low T levels according to your medical history, so they can consider any allergies you may have before creating a plan. However, if you’re searching for safe ways to increase and maintain your testosterone naturally at home, here are some of the best testosterone-boosting food recommendations to consider when creating your diet.
Eat Zinc-Rich Foods
Zinc is one of the essential nutrients to look for when searching for foods that can help build your testosterone. It is also one of several nutrients our bodies can’t produce naturally, making it very important to include in our everyday foods for daily consumption.
As a fundamental nutrient to many of the physiological processes within the body, zinc helps to strengthen our immune system and other functions, including:
- Insulin production
- Protein and DNA synthesis
- Cellular growth
- Sex drive
- Age-related vision loss
- Sperm quality and physical performance
In addition, zinc has been found effective in treating certain men with low T, as zinc deficiency has been associated as a possible cause of hypogonadism. Finally, ingesting healthy amounts of zinc can also help regulate men’s dopamine levels, which is crucial as the dopamine hormone helps increase libido, memory, and cognitive function. Luckily, zinc isn’t hard to find; you can find it in almost every kind of whole food, including shellfish and egg yolks.
Shellfish and Oysters
Shellfish are naturally abundant sources of testosterone-boosting succulence, packed with various essential vitamins and minerals, including zinc. And the best part? If you like variety, there are many kinds of shellfish you can choose from, including:
Crustaceans like these usually contain zinc, copper, selenium, manganese, Vitamins D and B12, and Omega-3, which help improve your health at the cellular level. However, if you’re looking for something with high zinc content, you may want to purchase oysters. No other food has the amount of zinc that oysters pack in every serving; just a single 3-ounce dinner of fried oysters can provide 74 milligrams of zinc, making up about 673 percent of the daily value. The zinc concentration also makes oysters an excellent aphrodisiac, as its zinc content is highly effective in triggering the release of dopamine, which in turn increases libido. Of course, if you’re allergic to seafood, it’s best to avoid shellfish altogether and find other natural testosterone-boosting foods as alternatives.
Although eggs are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, their yolks are also full of healthy nutrients. Aside from being packed with zinc and Vitamins A, B, and E, the cholesterol in eggs also becomes synthesized into Vitamin D, which can help increase your testosterone. In addition, egg yolks also contain proteins and carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin that can help improve vision and cognitive health.
Egg yolks also provide the mineral selenium, which works as an antioxidant for the body. Thanks to its antioxidative properties, studies have shown that selenium may also be able to enhance testosterone production with its activation of specific pathways and gene expressions.
Foods Rich in Magnesium
When searching for foods to increase your testosterone levels, make sure to remember magnesium is also a critical mineral to include as part of your daily meal. Magnesium is essential in optimizing and maintaining testosterone levels as it is required for healthy reproductive function and muscle growth. In addition, physicians believe that magnesium also helps to increase testosterone activity by reducing oxidative stress, an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals in the body that lowers testosterone.
One study in 2011 reported increases in total and free testosterone in inactive and athletic volunteers after taking magnesium supplements for four weeks. Another study involving 399 men who were 65 and older found that volunteers with increased levels of magnesium in their bodies also had higher testosterone levels than volunteers with lower magnesium levels.
After years of research, the science community has confirmed that magnesium can help play a vital role in boosting testosterone. And if you’re looking for the best foods to provide a healthy dose of magnesium, then nothing is better than a plate of leafy green vegetables filled with spinach, Swiss chard, and kale.
Aside from being packed with nutrients like Vitamins A and B, spinach has a rich magnesium concentration, making it one of the best foods to increase testosterone. Spinach also contains folate, potassium, fiber, and iron, which can help improve your immune system, making it a well-balanced addition to your diet.
Like spinach, Swiss chard contains minerals such as Vitamin E, boron, and magnesium, which are vital in raising testosterone levels. Research has shown adults can also achieve improved free testosterone levels after adding boron to their diet for seven days, so along with the magnesium and Vitamin E, Swiss chard is a perfect choice to incorporate into your diet.
Of all the green vegetables, kale has a high concentration of different nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, and K. Thanks to Vitamin A, kale can help build testosterone as Vitamin C also assists in its production. Rich in calcium, the Vitamin K in kale can aid in bone health and prevent osteoporosis so you can avoid inflammation, which helps increase your testosterone levels.
People who practice medicine have long since raved about ginger’s medicinal properties for centuries. Although it’s just a spice, ginger is well known for its antioxidative properties, which have been proven to treat the oxidative stress typically linked to low testosterone.In scientific studies, ginger improved testicular function and size, as well as the quality and quantity of a man’s sperm count.One such study observed how a group of 75 men increased their testosterone levels by 17% after taking ginger supplements for three months. In addition to being a testosterone-building food, ginger can also be used to reduce cholesterol, inflammation, and joint stiffness and help treat digestive issues, making it a treasured addition to any nutritional diet.
Onions contain diallyl disulfide, a chemical compound that helps release the luteinizing hormone responsible for stimulating the testes into increasing testosterone production. In addition, onions are also full of antioxidants that can also help lower blood sugar, further aiding in increased testosterone production. As an added bonus, onions can also increase nitric oxide production, which can help increase blood flow into the penis and lower the risk of erectile dysfunction.
When taken in moderate amounts, protein can also help increase testosterone. On the other hand, overconsumption has been found to reduce testosterone, so you will need to monitor your intake to keep your T levels effectively maintained. Luckily, there are certain foods you can incorporate into your diet that provide an adequate source of protein without tilting over the scale, as long as it’s done in moderation.
Although eating high amounts of red meat has been known to negatively affect testosterone, balanced amounts of certain lean cuts of beef can actually help boost and maintain your testosterone levels. For example, beef liver is a good source of Vitamin D, which can help increase testosterone and improve sexual performance. Red meats such as steak also contain leucine, an important amino acid essential to bone and muscle tissue development and maintenance. Other cuts of red meat like ground beef and chuck roast also provide a healthy amount of zinc, which is crucial in increasing testosterone production.
The American Heart Association recommends having 2-3 servings of seafood weekly as part of a well-balanced diet. However, if you’re looking for food to boost testosterone, fish are also rich with omega-3s and polyunsaturated fatty acids essential for replenishing and maintaining your testosterone levels. Fatty fish (especially salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines) contain two important omega-3s for testosterone production; eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The omega-3s can improve and maintain heart health and help maintain your mood, which can also contribute to increased testosterone levels. Several studies also show that DHA, in particular, can help improve a man’s sperm quality and production.
As you’re building your list of foods for low testosterone, don’t forget to add beans into the mix. Beans are an excellent cheap source of protein that can provide high concentrated amounts of magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, and Vitamin D, all of which can help increase your testosterone levels. And there are all kinds of beans to choose from–pinto beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, and lentils–so you can always mix it up to add different flavors to your next meal. When determining which foods increase testosterone the most, you’ll find that beans are usually at the top of the list of foods that can raise your testosterone.
In addition to the wealth of nutrients that you can find in the yolk, eating a whole egg is also a good way to increase your testosterone. Not only does the egg provide the good cholesterol needed to feed testosterone, but it also contains aspartic acid, an amino acid that also helps to stimulate testosterone production.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil is also a great choice if you’re looking to add more testosterone-boosting power as you cook in the kitchen. The Mediterranean oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyphenols, two essential nutrients that play an important role in boosting testosterone. Polyphenols are micronutrients that contain antioxidants, making them vital in treating inflammation and oxidative stress, which are linked to reduced testosterone levels. Monounsaturated fats can reduce LDL ( bad cholesterol) while increasing the HDL (good cholesterol) needed to feed testosterone. Thanks to polyphenols and monounsaturated fats, extra virgin olive oil can help men increase their luteinizing hormone, which stimulates the cells in the testes to produce testosterone, and in doing so, boost their testosterone levels.
Most people rarely consider using cereal as food for testosterone, but the truth is, incorporating fortified cereals into your diet can actually help boost and improve your T levels. Many fortified cereals are made with a high amount of essential nutrients, including zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium; as well as Vitamins A, C and D. The cereals are also fortified with several B vitamins, including B9, which is vital to the formation and production of red blood cells.
Fortified cereals also provide the carbs needed to convert the energy gained from the sugary breakfast into muscle, which can also help increase testosterone levels. In addition, fortified cereals can also reduce cortisol levels, which studies show can cause low testosterone. So, although cereal may not be the first idea that comes to mind, you should definitely include it on your list when you shop for foods that boost testosterone.
Fruits That Boost Testosterone
You’re already aware of the importance of eating fruits as part of your daily diet. Fruits are viable sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and natural antioxidants that can help reduce the risks of inflammation, cancer, diabetes, and even heart disease, providing much-needed benefits to our overall health. Not only can fruit offer a tasty way to stay healthy, but it is also one of the best foods for low testosterone. Of course, there are dozens of fruit to choose from, so if you’re going to search for the absolute best testosterone-boosting fruits to add to your shopping cart, you should keep your eye out for these two in particular: pomegranates and bananas.
The health benefits of pomegranates have made the fruit a symbol of fertility for centuries, and for a good reason. As it contains 60 hydrolyzable tannins, pomegranates pack a lot of antioxidant power, which can help reduce stress and protect Leydig cells (testosterone-producing cells) from damage. In addition, pomegranates can also help combat viruses and bacteria as it reduces the risk of inflammatory arthritis and cardiovascular disease, all of which can help increase testosterone levels. According to one study, adults who made pomegranate a part of their diet saw a 24 percent increase in testosterone.
Although we all know bananas are a good source of vitamins and minerals, we rarely consider how beneficial they can be in regards to increasing our testosterone. But the truth is, bananas are actually packed with several testosterone-boosting nutrients, such as potassium, which can help stimulate testosterone production and produce firmer erections. Besides being rich in magnesium, bananas also provide Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), which can also help release androgens and boost your T levels. In addition, bananas also contain bromelain, which can also help boost libido, and tryptophan, which can also increase serotonin secretion to improve your cognitive function and mood.
Foods to Avoid
As you begin changing your diet to help improve your testosterone levels, you will also have to consider cutting out the testosterone-killing foods that reduce your testosterone and hinder your progress. Since the goal is to find healthy foods to boost testosterone naturally, you’ll definitely need to make a few changes to your lifestyle and avoid harmful substances like alcohol and processed foods.
Although it’s not necessarily bad to enjoy an occasional beer or glass of wine in moderation, consistent use can adversely affect your body and reduce your testosterone. Research shows that frequent alcohol use can decrease function in your pituitary gland, hypothalamus, and testes, all of which play a vital role in testosterone production. Those issues can also lead to late-onset hypogonadism (LOH), which has long been seen as one of the primary causes of testosterone deficiency. Since many adults who regularly drink eventually build a tolerance to alcohol and need to increase their consumption to feel its effects, as they continue to drink more, they elevate the chances of reducing their testosterone and sperm production to unhealthy levels.
It’s easy to microwave a TV dinner or a can of chili, especially when you’re in a rush or don’t feel like cooking. However, many prepackaged meals we enjoy are processed, losing their nutritional value as they are canned, pre-cooked, or frozen before we purchase them out of the store. Although the process can help preserve their shelf-life and flavor, eating these processed foods can also harm your progress in increasing your testosterone.
Processed foods are typically made with trans fats, which have been found to cause several complications associated with low testosterone. In addition, several studies have shown that trans fats can help cause cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and inflammation, in addition to reducing HDL (good cholesterol) and increasing LDL (bad cholesterol).
The packaging of processed foods can also have an adverse effect on your testosterone. Most pre-packaged or canned foods use Bisphenol (BPA) to create their plastic and resins, which can reduce your testosterone and raise your sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) levels. During a study in 2013, men were found to have low levels of free testosterone after being exposed to BPA for six months. In addition, men with high BPA levels also had reduced thyroid hormone levels, leading to hypothyroidism and further decreasing testosterone.
As low testosterone has become more recognized as the primary cause of serious age-related medical conditions, you’ll find many “testosterone boosters” on the market claiming to help men suffering from Low T. However, many of these testosterone supplements contain certain ingredients that can cause dangerous side effects such as elevated liver enzymes and pulmonary embolism. In addition, most of these supplements also carry unnecessarily high amounts of B13 and zinc, which, despite their nutritional benefits, can still be very unhealthy for men trying to increase their testosterone. Studies also show that over 10% of the testosterone boosters on the market can negatively affect your testosterone levels, so it’s probably best to avoid using them altogether.
What are some other ways to increase testosterone levels?
Making changes to your diet can help to increase your testosterone levels, but it’s not your only available course of action. Changing your lifestyle, incorporating better habits into your daily routine, and utilizing certain medical treatments can also make it easier to boost your testosterone.
Men who need to increase their testosterone should also consider:
- Exercising regularly to lose weight and build muscle with resistance training
- Getting an adequate 7-8 hours of sleep
- Avoiding stressful situations to minimize your cortisol levels
- Incorporating vitamin supplements that include the nutrients found in testosterone-boosting foods.
If you’ve tried these methods and are still having trouble achieving results, then you should speak to a physician about testosterone therapy. A licensed and experienced hormone replacement specialist can help you determine the cause of your testosterone deficiency and accurately prescribe the right medication to help boost your low testosterone levels. They can also recommend and guide you through the particular lifestyle changes needed to help you optimize your body’s testosterone production. If you’re looking for an effective and manageable hormone replacement plan to restore your low testosterone, then the staff of hormone specialists, physicians, and medical professionals at Renew Vitality can help.
At Renew Vitality, we provide effective testosterone replacement therapy to help men with Low T increase their testosterone levels. We combine premier medicated HGH and testosterone hormone treatments with excellent testosterone-boosting diets and exercises to help men restore their strength and masculinity. Contact us at 1-800-785-3945 to schedule an appointment at any of our hormone replacement clinics in the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes and no. Although milk, in general, can be a great source of protein, calcium, and vitamin D, certain kinds of milk can also contain synthetic hormones that can adversely affect your testosterone levels. For example, men who consume whole milk also have high levels of the female hormone estradiol, which can cause testosterone production to decrease. If you choose to consume large amounts of milk, make sure to select a brand that is low-fat and fortified with Vitamin D so you can effectively maintain and possibly improve your testosterone levels.
Pretty much, most fruits can do wonders for your testosterone production. Pomegranates, bananas, grapes, watermelons, and citrus fruits like lemons and oranges can all help provide a major boost to your testosterone.
Pumpkin seed, coconut, macaw, avocado, and chia seeds are all great plant-based options that can help you increase your testosterone.
Stocking up on fats and engaging in high-intensity training can help stimulate growth hormone and increase your testosterone levels for 24 hours. In addition, spending at least 15-20 minutes outside to soak up some Vitamin D from the sun can also help improve your testosterone levels by 120%.