The Best Foods To Boost Testosterone Levels
There are many things men will do increase the amount of testosterone in the body. Knowing and eating testosterone boosting foods is a natural way of increasing this hormone. It’s important to know that testosterone is not just for revving up your sex drive.
Testosterone is also responsible for bone health and hair growth. As we age the testosterone levels decrease. There are definitely many things that men will try to take in an effort to increase their testosterone levels and increase their libido and to maintain both as they age.
Instead of looking for a quick fix magic pill for many men it might make much more sense to start by looking at their exercise habits, their diet and more specifically testosterone boosting foods they can eat on a daily basis.
This is because your diet and the food you eat can have a big impact on many different hormones found within your body leading to a chain of positive effects or a chain of negative effects.
The problem is knowing what foods actually work and which ones are gimmicks. Nowadays almost every supposed superfood ranging from quinoa to tomatoes have been claimed to help boost testosterone levels. And almost always without much supporting evidence to back up those claims.
In this article we want to give you 10 foods that boost testosterone levels naturally and have been scientifically proven through research.
#1. Saturated and Monounsaturated Fats
We begin with a food group: saturated and monounsaturated sources of fat. These foods include
- canola oil
- olive oil
- safflower oil (high oleic)
- sunflower oil
- peanut oil and butter
- sesame oil.
Multiple studies have shown that diets that are higher in fat where around 35 to 40 percent of the daily calorie intake is made up of fats can help to increase testosterone to a greater degree. This was more than diets that are lower in fat where less than 20% of the total daily calorie intake is made up of fat.
However not all types of fat will have this beneficial effect on your testosterone levels. For example these studies show that saturated fat and monounsaturated fat can help increase testosterone levels while some polyunsaturated fats that are high in omega-6 have the exact opposite effect.
This correlation between an increased fat intake and higher testosterone levels comes as no surprise since testosterone is synthesized from cholesterol. Meanwhile the reason why polyunsaturated fats lower testosterone is likely because they promote inflammation throughout the body.
So limit your intake of polyunsaturated fats like canola oil, corn oil and sunflower oil.
Now with that said not all saturated fat is good for you. For example eating hot dogs to increase your saturated fat intake can be harmful and definitely won’t be beneficial in the same way that adding one or two tablespoons of coconut oil to your diet will be.
Eggs and more specifically egg yolks that come from pasteurized chickens are also great sources of saturated fat and cholesterol.
For monounsaturated fat one of the best sources that you can add to your diet is olive oil. In fact one study showed a 17.4 percent increase in testosterone levels in Moroccan men after they added extra virgin olive oil to their diet for only three weeks.
Now besides dietary fats many studies also show that a very high protein intake can lead to lower testosterone levels. That’s most likely not because protein itself suppresses testosterone production. Instead it’s the simple fact that if you eat way too much protein you’re more likely to have fewer calories coming in from carbs and fats which can have negative effects on testosterone.
So remember that there’s no need to increase protein intake higher than around 0.8 grams to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.
The next on our testosterone boosting foods list is ginger. While ginger root is most often used as a spice or to help improve digestion, it can also benefit your testosterone levels.
Unfortunately most studies looking into the relationship between testosterone and ginger are performed on rodents. Studies on rodents don’t provide the highest level of evidence. However, rodents do have a very similar endocrine system to human beings.
A 2018 review on all the data available on this topic found that ginger supplementation enhances testosterone production in males. The good news is that were not only limited to relying on evidence from studies on rodents anymore.
There is one study available that was performed on humans and that study found that treating 75 infertile Iraqi men with ginger increased testosterone levels by 17.7%. One major limitation of this study however is that the subjects were infertile men so there isn’t a definitive answer as to whether the same spike in testosterone would apply to fertile men until we have direct studies on that specifically.
Researchers however do believe that there are a few ways that ginger could have the ability to increase testosterone. For example, it increases the production of luteinizing hormone which is a hormone that’s essential for the release of testosterone. It can also reduce oxidative stress and increase blood flow to our reproductive organs.
So if you’d like to add some ginger to your diet a great way to do it is by adding it to tea, soup or even supplementing with it
Shellfish and especially oysters can be effective testosterone boosters and they’re an overall healthy food to incorporate into your diet as well. They provide one of the very few sources of vitamin D in our diet. Unfortunately about 42% of the population is deficient in vitamin D.
This is definitely not good because there are receptors for this vitamin in almost every cell in our bodies including our reproductive organs. Multiple studies also show a relationship between vitamin D levels in the blood and testosterone levels.
Specifically one large study involving 2,300 men found that men who had sufficient vitamin D levels had significantly higher testosterone than men who were deficient in vitamin D. In fact the researchers found a very close correlation between changes and plasma vitamin D levels and testosterone.
During the warm months of the year around summertime men had higher levels of vitamin D since they were getting more sunlight and sure enough during the same months their testosterone levels were significantly higher and almost looked like a perfect reflection of their elevated vitamin D levels during those months.
It’s important to know that vitamin D isn’t the only reason why shellfish can be beneficial for your testosterone. They’re also one of the world’s best sources of zinc which is a mineral that’s essential for reproductive health. There are multiple pieces of evidence that show us that not getting enough zinc can reduce testosterone levels significantly. (1), (2).
#4. Cruciferous Vegetables
Another food group that you’ll want to add to your list of testosterone boosting foods is cruciferous vegetables. these include things like
- Brussels sprouts
Cruciferous vegetables are not only full of healthy micronutrients but they also contain large amounts of indole-3-carbinol which can help block an enzyme known as aromatase and this can be very beneficial for our testosterone levels.
This is because even though estrogen is primarily a female sex hormone, men also have small amounts of it in their bodies. And for men that estrogen is produced when testosterone is converted into estrogen by aromatase.
So by preventing that conversion with the indole-3 carbinol that we can get from sources like cruciferous vegetables, it would end up resulting in less testosterone turning into estrogen ultimately leading to higher levels of testosterone.
Indole-3-carbinol will also convert estrogen into less potent hormones which will help your body flush them out through your urine. All these effects that lead to a reduction in estrogen levels are beneficial for testosterone production because high estrogen can suppress the release of luteinizing hormone.
This hormone is produced in the pituitary gland and it stimulates the synthesis of testosterone. So we definitely don’t want to reduce it. On top of all that cruciferous vegetables are also full of magnesium which also benefits testosterone production.
Next on our list we have pomegranates. Since ancient Greece, pomegranates have been a symbol of fertility and recent knowledge shows that they’re full of powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols and that they can actually improve fertility.
One study involving 60 volunteers looked at the effect of consuming pure pomegranate juice for two weeks and the researchers concluded that the consumption of pomegranate juice was able to significantly increase testosterone levels by an average of 24 percent.
One reason why pomegranate may offer these benefits is because just like cruciferous vegetables they also contribute to anti aromatase activity. helping to prevent the conversion of testosterone to estrogen.
Another food that could help is a grain that some of you may have never heard of: sorghum. To understand its effects you have to first understand that you have an enzyme in your body known as 5-alpha reductase. Its job is to regularly convert part of our testosterone into 5-DHT (Dihydrotestosterone).
DHT is a form of testosterone which actually may have even higher androgenic activity which could have an even more powerful effect on muscle according to some evidence. But DHT has gotten a bad rap lately because it’s been linked to hair loss.
The problem is that we’re quick to label things as either good or bad. But if we label DHT as bad we have to throw away all of its benefits including its ability to help boost mood, energy, strength, fat loss and libido, just to name a few.
Also the truth is that it’s not just the amount of testosterone or DHT that causes the hair loss. It’s the sensitivity of your hair follicles and that sensitivity is decided by your genetics. In fact there are plenty of men with low testosterone levels that also experience hair loss.
So if you are genetically predisposed to male pattern baldness and you don’t want to risk losing your hair you probably won’t want to increase DHT levels. But for men who don’t have a family history of male pattern baldness it may actually be beneficial for muscle building purposes to boost or at least not inhibit DHT production.
The problem is that most grains and especially those containing phytoestrogens like soy, have been shown to inhibit this 5-alpha reductase enzyme and in turn that lowers the DHT levels.
There was a study put together that looked at the inhibiting effects of different grains on 5 alpha reductase. and the researchers found that sorghum actually enhanced 5 DHT by over 54.7% outperforming every other grain in the study.
If you want to try adding sorghum to your diet you can most likely find it in the health food section at your grocery store and there are also supplements with sorghum available as well.
Up next is coffee which is technically a beverage not a food. A small study on 9 cyclists found that chewing gum that contained caffeine during high-intensity exercise increased testosterone production by around 12% compared to the placebo group that didn’t chew caffeine containing gum.
Now a sample size of only 9 cyclists isn’t exactly the best evidence but there is another study that had a slightly larger sample size of 24 rugby players that found similar effects. They had about a 15% increase in testosterone levels after having caffeine.
And that’s not all. This also showed that the testosterone boost was entirely dose-dependent and it could reach up to a 52% increase with a higher 800 milligram dose of caffeine. Since caffeine can also increase your energy and improve exercise performance, it may be beneficial to drink some coffee before a workout.
Just keep in mind if you workout later in the day the caffeine can actually mess up your sleeping schedule which is not only bad for muscle growth and fat loss but sleep deprivation is also absolutely terrible for your testosterone levels. so make sure that you plan accordingly.
The next food on our testosterone boosting foods list is onions. Multiple studies on rodents show that onions can help increase testosterone. One study even found that rodents who received high amounts of fresh onion juice for 20 days had testosterone levels that were more than 210 percent higher than those in the placebo group.
In rats it went as far as showing over a 300% increase in male hormone levels. Again this doesn’t directly translate over to human beings because we’re not mice and rats.
But there is only one human study available at this time that also found that consuming an onion extract for four weeks helped increase testosterone levels. although it wasn’t nearly as high of an increase as what was seen in rodents.
In general it does seem that onions can help increase testosterone levels and unless you experience digestive issues it won’t hurt to add them to your diet. But more human research needs to be available to make a definitive conclusion as a food that increases testosterone levels in men.
#9. White Button Mushroom
Now just like pomegranates and cruciferous vegetables, another of the foods that boost testosterone levels by inhibiting aromatase is the white button mushroom.
Even though there are no studies available specifically on men that directly show that white button mushrooms will inhibit aroma taste from converting testosterone to estrogen there are human studies showing that they can have such an effect based on research done on breast cancer cells.
By inhibiting aromatase white button mushrooms have been shown to slow the growth of breast cancer tumors.
#10. Probiotic Foods
Last on our list of testosterone boosting foods is probiotic foods that are rich in live bacteria similar to the bacteria that already lives in our digestive tracts.
These microorganisms have all functions that are important for our health including the synthesis of amino acids, short chain fatty-acids, vitamin K and vitamin b12 as well as the fermentation of non digestible carbohydrates.
Also based on studies on mice they also seem to play a role in testosterone production. One study in particular found that male mice that routinely consumed purified lactic acid bacteria increased testosterone levels higher when compared to other mice of the same age that did not eat this bacteria.
So probiotic rich foods like yogurt and sauerkraut may actually be beneficial for testosterone levels. Some of these sources like yogurt can also help you increase your saturated fat intake which like I said earlier it can help further.
Also remember that while there are some foods that can help increase your testosterone levels there are also many foods that can have a negative effect.
This is why if you’re currently eating a lot of processed food and you’re not exercising simply changing your diet over to something that’s a lot healthier and beginning an exercise program can help affect all the hormones in your body in a very positive way.
It’ll also help you maintain a healthy level of body fat and that’s very important because if you have too much fat on your body it’s very detrimental for your testosterone levels as well.
If there is a food that boosts testosterone levels naturally that has helped with your muscle building efforts, let us know in the comments section below.