As a boy, you start to produce more testosterone once you enter puberty. It is what separates men from boys; a rite of passage, so to speak.
The male hormone triggers body hair growth and sperm production. It also boosts sexual desire. As you mature and grow older, your testosterone levels decrease.
Reasons that cause a decline in testosterone production include:
- Heart ailments
- Consumption of food that boosts estrogen (female hormone) levels
- Restrictive blood flow
- Use of plastic
There are many other reasons that can cause our testosterone levels to drop. Most of these are beyond our control, such as the effects of the aging process (1).
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The good news is, there are lots of methods you can try to address low testosterone. One is to add more testosterone-boosting food in your regular diet.
Following are 20 food items that you should add to your diet to help boost your testosterone levels:
Ginger is a fixture in every kitchen. It provides your food with a distinct flavor. But it has many other uses aside from that.
For one, ginger has gingerol. The active ingredient has potent anti-inflammatory properties and many other health benefits (2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Also, various studies on animals proved that ginger is an androgenic compound. One Iraqi study on humans supported the findings. It showed a significant 17% rise in testosterone levels after supplementing with ginger (7, 8, 9).
So, ginger is not only a common household spice. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory and an androgenic agent. The best part is, it is cheap and very easy to find.
Experts say that eggs are the perfect protein.
This is because eggs contain a near-perfect amino acid balance that meets the needs of humans. Eggs are also very nutritious. They have almost all the vitamins known to man – except for vitamin C.
Eggs also boast of a good fatty acid ratio. Its ratio of 44% monounsaturated fats, 38% saturated fats, and 18% polyunsaturated fats is ideal for the production of testosterone (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15).
The egg yolk contains a generous amount of cholesterol. This is the most vital factor that will convince you that eggs are high testosterone food.
Why? This is because, in case you do not know yet, cholesterol is the precursor of testosterone (16, 17, 18).
I know that a lot of people get scared whenever fats and cholesterol in egg yolks are the topic of conversation.
But you don’t have to worry about it. Science has proven that regular consumption of eggs – even on a daily basis – doesn’t influence your cardiovascular health in a negative way.
In general, dietary fats have a testosterone-boosting effect. You may be aware that nuts are often high in fats. Thus, you may think that all types of nuts are good for your testosterone.
Well, you are wrong! This is because not all types of nuts can give you the results you want.
Saturated fatty acids (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) can help improve your T production (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). But, Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) can cause a drop in your testosterone levels.
The bad news is that most nuts contain loads of PUFAs – except for macadamia nuts! 100 g of this type of nut contains 58.9 g of MUFAs, 12.1 g of SFAs, and 1.5 g of PUFAs. This is great for your testosterone production (19).
Most traditional societies ate the connective tissues and bones of meat-producing animals in generous amounts. This provides a great amino acid balance.
But, many modern cultures today only eat muscle meat. They discard the bones, connective tissues, and organ meat.
This is why a lot of people today get high levels of the amino acids cysteine and tryptophan. But, they get too little glycine and proline. These amino acids act as important neurotransmitters for your body.
One way to fix the problem is to eat some animal organs and bone broth.
There is an easier way, though. And that is to eat gelatin. It provides rich amounts of connective tissue protein. Because it is tasteless, you can scoop it right out with a spoon.
Now, why would I say gelatine is pro-testosterone?
For one, you get to balance your body’s neurotransmitters. You will enjoy better sleep quality, and your hormonal signals will improve. These will not only improve the quality of your life. It will also lead to a significant increase in testosterone levels (20).
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a real testosterone booster.
In one study, young Moroccan men were made to use extra virgin olive oil as the primary source of their fat needs. After two weeks, the respondents showed an increase in their testosterone levels by at least 17% (21).
The increase is due to the oil’s excellent ratio for testosterone production. It has a ratio of 73% MUFA, 14% SFA, and 13% PUFA.
Another factor is olive oil’s anti-inflammatory properties and high antioxidant content (22, 23). The oil also contains oleuropein, a bitter glycoside that helps boost testosterone.
The key is using genuine olive oil. This means the organic and extra virgin variety from a trusted brand.
A lot of cheap olive oil products underwent heating, processing, and adulteration with low-quality oils. These are often with high PUFAs.
A lot of people think that avocados are not healthy because 77% of the fruits’ calories come from fats. This is much higher compared to most other fruits (24).
But, you know that higher levels of dietary fat intake result in better production of testosterone.
Bear in mind that the fat types that help increase T levels are SFAs and MUFAs. Avocados contain 67% MUFAs, 14% SFAs, and 12% PUFAs (25).
Based on this distribution of body fat, you can assume that avocados are great natural testosterone boosters (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). The fruit is also jam-packed with fat-soluble vitamins. Most of these vitamins are crucial for the healthy production of testosterone.
What makes parsley, a little plant, great is its apigenin content.
Texas Tech University researchers discovered that apigenin raises the volume of Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) in testicular Leydig cells (26).
Now, why is this good?
For one, StAR, a binding protein, delivers cholesterol to your ballsack’s mitochondria. It converts cholesterol into free testosterone in the process (27).
This means the more parsley you consume, the more StAR you will produce. This will result in higher levels of free testosterone. The bottom line is you need to pack your diet with parsley!
Everyone loves a cup of coffee, right?
After all, it provides the caffeine that gives you a jolt and stimulates your nervous system.
At the same time, it boosts your cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels. This leads to improved testosterone production (28, 29, 30).
On the flip side, coffee also increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone that lowers testosterone (31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36).
It is worth mentioning that the boost you get from caffeine is only short-term. But, the cortisol elevation that it brings is long-term (37, 38, 39).
Another thing about coffee is that it is packed with antioxidants. But, let me tell you that it is no reason to stay away from your favorite beverage. Just don’t consume it in excessive amounts.
Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa) have a thick cone shell. This makes them seeds and not nuts. But, because of their nut-like structure and taste, many people think they are nuts.
Compared to macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts don’t contain as many good fats for testosterone production.
But, their real testosterone-boosting ability does not lie in their fat ratio. It is in their tremendous selenium content. 1 ounce (6–8 nuts) of Brazil nuts boasts of 544 mcg of selenium (40). This is 777% of your RDA.
Because of its glutathione-stimulating effects, selenium can help increase your testosterone production (41, 42). Only a handful of Brazil nuts each day is enough to cover all your natural selenium needs.
Keep in mind that you can find most of the selenium content in the skin. Thus, it wouldn’t be wise to buy unshelled Brazil nuts that are.
There are various reasons that make raisins a great testosterone booster.
First, raisins have anti-inflammatory properties. They are also packed with antioxidants like resveratrol. Resveratrol helps to increase testosterone levels (43).
Also, raisins have some boron content. Boron may not be a very popular mineral. But it can help raise your testosterone levels while reducing your estrogen levels (44).
Thus, it is a great idea to make your own testosterone booster snack trail mix. Combine macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, and raisins together, and enjoy!
Raw cacao, chocolate, or cocoa products are nutritious superfoods. They provide generous amounts of testosterone boosters as well (45). Note that I am not referring to the cacao or chocolate that you may recognize as chocolate.
For one, you don’t heat real chocolate. This is because heating damages the antioxidants, as well as the other vitamins. Real chocolate doesn’t undergo any processes. It is not refined.
What I’m referring to is unheated, with a minimal to no processing version of chocolate.
Raw cacao products keep the enzymes, antioxidants, and gut-friendly bacteria intact. Raw chocolate also promotes cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure and blood sugar levels (46, 47, 48, 49).
The chocolate you find on candy shelves is junk. They don’t help improve your testosterone.
Now, you may be wondering how raw cacao and chocolate products are awesome for your testosterone production.
For one, they are packed with antioxidants and vital nutrients, and minerals. These include zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper, and iron, among others.
It doesn’t end there. Raw cacao also boasts of ideal fat ratios for your production of testosterone.
Depending on the manufacturer, raw cacao contains around 61% saturated fats, 37% monounsaturated fats, and 2% polyunsaturated fats.
Raw cacao products contain generous amounts of antioxidants, enzymes, and live bacteria. They have the ideal fat ratios as well. Most of all, they are jam-packed with testosterone-boosting nutrients. So, what more can you ask for?
A fixture in the Mediterranean diet, argan oil is pressed from the kernel of the argan tree.
Earlier in this post, I mentioned a study on virgin olive oil that helped increase testosterone levels in participants by around 17% (21).
In that same study, another group used a different source of dietary fat. That group used – you guessed it – virgin argan oil! The result is an incredible gain in testosterone levels. The participants showed an increase of around 20%.
Argan oil, like olive oil, is an anti-inflammatory compound. It also has lots of antioxidants. Its good fatty acid ratio is also ideal for testosterone production, but not quite as good as olive oil does.
The point is there is enough proof that argan oil helps increase your T production. A 20% increase is nothing to scoff at. So, it is a good idea to include it in your regular diet.
I knew that mushrooms are mostly water. As such, they have very little health value. That and the fact that I consumed them only as a topping for my pizza sums up everything I knew about mushrooms.
As it turns out, most of the things I knew were wrong!
In reality, white button mushrooms contain generous amounts of polysaccharides.
Men who have low testosterone often have high levels of the hormone estrogen.
Many studies prove that mushrooms give off anti-estrogenic effects. This is because they have the natural ability to ward off the aromatase enzyme. The enzyme, in turn, converts testosterone into estrogen (50, 51).
The same anti-estrogenic properties are present in other varieties of mushrooms. But, the white button mushroom variety seems to have the most potent aromatase inhibitors among all types of mushrooms.
Each time I shop at the local grocery store, I make it a point to buy some organic minced meat. Why? This kind of meat is great for my testosterone. Let me tell you more.
Whether it’s pure beef mixed with pork or lamb meat, you are sure to get lots of high-quality fats that will boost your testosterone levels (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15). Also, you will get the right amount of animal protein for your endocrine system.
Minced meat is a fixture in a lot of testosterone-boosting recipes. For one, it is easy to use. It is also tasty. And since it helps boost your testosterone levels, why not indulge in it?
Here’s a useful tip. I use organic meat only because I don’t want to consume meat that went through estrogen treatment. Producers do this to fatten the meat-giving animals.
Grass-fed or organic minced meat is a bit expensive. If you cannot afford it, you can try the variety that contains the least amount of fat. This is because it is in the fats where trace hormones accumulate.
Many people (myself included) use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) more as a pre-workout supplement and to improve testosterone levels.
We use it less as a grocery item, which is its primary purpose. Anyway, since it is available from any supermarket, I am including it in this list of T-boosting foods.
Now, you may be asking why?
For one, it is a good ergogenic support. It can provide dramatic improvements in your bench presses and squats, and cellular adaptation to high-intensity interval training (HIIT). You can even use it to boost your creatine supplementation.
Also, sodium bicarbonate can serve as a molecular switch for your cAMP.
In case you don’t know by now, a higher cAMP level means better T production (28, 29, 30, 52, 53). This is because cAMP triggers the protein kinase A. It acts as the secondary messenger between your hormones and your cells.
In recent years, a lot of evidence on yogurt’s pro-testosterone qualities have come up. Studies show that live enzymes, probiotics, prebiotics, as well as other types of friendly bacteria have a positive effect on the production of testosterone.
In a 2014 study, a team of researchers did some tests on a number of diets for male rodents (54). The diets included Lactobacillus Reuteri (LR).
In each case, adding LR to the meals resulted in the following:
- Improved testosterone levels
- Higher levels of luteinizing hormone
- Increased testicular weight and size
- Prevention of testicular shrinkage due to age
- Better semen parameters
- Higher markers of social domination
One other study on rodents showed that increased healthy gut microbiome exposure resulted in higher levels of testosterone. It proved that probiotic clostridium scindens (CS) have the ability to convert cortisol, the stress hormone, into androgens in the gut (55).
The key is to nourish the gut flora and control the healthy and friendly enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics in your intestines in a more effective manner.
Easy! All you have to do is eat fermented foods. These have natural and friendly enzymes and bacteria.
A good example is a yogurt. It is an incredible food item that helps boost your levels of testosterone. It contains LR, CS, and many other probiotic strains, although these strains aren’t backed up by research yet.
Grass-Fed Beef Jerky
The best source of T boosting protein is perhaps grass-fed beef. Not corn-fed and of high quality, it has a great amino acid balance. Its fat is saturated. It is the kind of fat that is perfect for improving your testosterone levels.
Organic animals have minimal to no exposure to insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. We know that these chemicals can reduce your testosterone production. Unlike conventional cattle, grass-fed animals are not pumped with estrogen.
Beef jerky is popular in the military service – for good reason. It is among the healthiest types of food you can carry around as a snack. This is perfect if you are out in the field. It is also a fixture in any list of testosterone-boosting foods.
Carbohydrates are important for the healthy production of testosterone.
But, grains are not the ideal source of carbs. This is because gluten can trigger a rise in prolactin levels. This will, in turn, mess up your body’s production of testosterone (56).
Simple sugars are also not ideal sources of carbs if you’re on a high-T diet. According to several studies, sugar can lower your testosterone levels (57, 58, 59).
Now, if you exclude grains and simple sugars, where would you get your carbs then? Except for salad, what are good carb sources to improve your testosterone?
Potatoes! Yes, any variety of potato will give you a good testosterone boost. Whether sweet, white, red, purple, russets or any other type, you should eat potatoes.
Potatoes offer great, gluten-free testosterone-boosting carbs. They also provide you with a wide range of nutrients.
So, start stocking up your pantry with potatoes, and make it your main source of carbs.
Heck, you can even indulge in potato chips! No one’s stopping you. I am not! Just make sure to find a bag that is not laden with polyunsaturated fats! That will be bad for your T-boosting efforts.
Palm Kernel Oil
If your goal is to achieve a higher level of testosterone, of the best types of oils to use is palm kernel oil.
Now, you may be asking why this is so. The answer is simple.
The oil has generous amounts of saturated fat (around 80%). This is the kind of fat that looks most promising for testosterone production (10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15).
Palm kernel fat is low in PUFA. This is great since PUFA is the fat type that tends to suffer from lipid peroxidation. It also suppresses androgenic hormones.
With its ideal good fatty acid ratio, palm kernel oil is also a good source of natural vitamin E. The micronutrient will not only increase your testosterone levels. It will also mitigate the damage of free radicals triggered by a diet high in PUFA.
The common table salt you have at home is not what I am talking about here. It is different from real sea, rock, or crystal salt, which is not processed.
Unprocessed salts are unaltered and unrefined. They are a little bit clumpy, and they contain more than 60 trace minerals.
Your common table salt only contains two: sodium and chloride. The rest of the minerals are gone after processing.
Processed table salts also contain as much as 3% of anti-caking agents. These often come in the form of heavy metals such as sodium ferrocyanide and aluminum silicate. Needless to say, these are unhealthy!
Now, why do salt manufacturers make their products go through a processing stage that will make their salt unhealthy? Simple. They do it to achieve a longer shelf life and, of course, for profit!
Having declining testosterone levels may be inevitable. But it doesn’t mean the end of the world for you.
After all, there are lots of things you can do to improve your testosterone levels. It all begins with the food you eat. Food, as they say, is medicine.
When you consume the right types of food, you elevate your testosterone production in a significant way. This will result to:
- Longer-lasting and more powerful erections
- Stronger sex drive
- Improved endurance
- Fuller hair
- More muscle mass
By adding these 20 food items to your daily regimen, you are taking the first step to regaining the robust testosterone levels of your youth! In no time, you will see great results.
So, the next time you shop at your favorite local grocery store, bring your list of testosterone boosters. Make sure that you go home with some.