7 Testosterone-Boosting Foods
Althoughoften associated with men, the hormone testosterone is important to the healthof both men and women. As you age the levelof testosterone naturally produced by your body tends to decline.
Otherenvironmental factors, such as exposure to statin medications and the herbicideRoundup, may also trigger a decline in hormone production.1,2 A low testosterone level in men is associated with prostateenlargement, androgenic alopecia (hair loss) and certain types of cancer.
Womennaturally have lower levels of testosterone throughout their lives; theirbodies are more sensitive to the hormone, and their health depends on thebalance between estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
Theresulting imbalance when women use hormone replacement therapy during menopauseis one theory behind the increased rates of breast cancer experienced by thosewomen.3
Testosteroneplays a key role in the natural production of estrogen, helps maintain bone andmuscle mass and contributes to libido.4
You are ableto use natural methods to boost your testosterone levels and improve youroverall health without triggering an imbalance in the delicate hormonal systemin your body.
What’s Needed to ProduceTestosterone?
To producetestosterone, your body requires several different nutrients. Among thenutrients more often depleted are vitamin D3 and zinc.
Vitamin Dcan be manufactured by your body when your skin is exposed to the sun. However,many people are deficient in vitamin D because of the number of hours spentindoors and the amount of sunscreen used.
I don’tadvocate hours of unprotected sun exposure, but your body does require regularunprotected exposure to produce vitamin D and gain other benefits. You can read more about vitamin D deficiency and how it affects your health.
Stress is anatural testosterone killer. When your body experiences stress you releasecortisol, a hormone secreted by your adrenal glands. Cortisol reduces theeffects of testosterone on your body. If you want to improve the effects oftestosterone, then reduce your stress and cortisol levels.7
Natural or Synthetic?
Testosteroneis an important hormone to overall health, strength, sexuality and feelings ofwell-being. I don’t advocate using synthetic testosterone replacement therapyat all.
Aftertesting by your holistic physician and exhausting other means of naturallyboosting your testosterone levels, bioidentical hormones may be beneficial.These should generally be used only under the guidance and care of a holisticmedicine physician.
Pharmaceuticalreplacements only address a single hormone without consideration for thebalance needed to maintain optimal health. When your body produces testosteronenaturally, it will balance the amount produced against other hormones presentand required for your health and wellness.
This balanceis ideal and reduces the potential that you’ll experience significant sideeffects.
Seven Foods That NaturallyBoost Your Testosterone Levels
While thereare several ways of boosting your testosterone levels, the production of thehormone is dependent on the presence of specific nutrients. Start withincorporating these foods into your nutritional plan.
This beautiful red fruit has been used medicinally forcenturies. With high levels of antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E and iron,researchers have found one glass of pomegranate juice a day can increasetestosterone levels between 16 percent and 30 percent improve mood, andincrease libido.
Blood pressure fell and positive emotions rose as well amongthose consuming pomegranate juice.8,9 While many of the research studies have looked intopomegranate juice,I strongly suggest consuming the fruit in its whole form instead.
Not only will thisgive you added fiber (which is found in the edible seeds), but it will ensurethat you’re not overdoing it on fructose,which is found in high levels in all types of fruitjuice. That being said, even the whole fruit is high in sugar andshould be eaten only in moderation.
2. Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil carries a powerful punch in your questto increase testosterone. In research, participants who consumed olive oildaily experienced an increase in testosterone levels between 17 percent and 19percent over a three-week period.10
Long hailed as a libido-boosting food, these little morselsare high in zinc. You may naturally experience a boost in your testosterone,your libido and your sperm count as a result.
Other foods packed with zinc include sardines, anchovies,cashews and wild-caught salmon. Raw pumpkin seeds are another good source but shouldbe limited to one tablespoon a day.
Your body requires healthy saturated fats to produce mosthormones, testosterone included.
Coconut will help your body’s ability to produce cholesterol,necessary for optimal health, help reduce body fat and maintain your weight.Weight control is another natural way of improving your testosteroneproduction.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli and cauliflower may help a man’s body excrete excessestrogen and increase the amount of testosterone available to cells. Indole-3-carbinol, a compound found in cruciferousvegetables, may increase the excretion of estradiol (one estrogen hormone) insome men by up to 50 percent, thus increasing the amount of testosteroneavailable.11,12
6. Whey Protein
Whether found in quality whey protein powder or in ricotta cheese,this protein may help restrict your body’s production of cortisol and thusincrease the effect of the testosterone you are already producing. Whey proteinmay also help boost testosterone production.
In research from Finland, scientists gave participants 15grams of whey isolate both before and after resistance exercises. Muscle biopsyshowed an increase in testosterone production of up to 25 percent, which wasmaintained for 48 hours.13
The authors theorized that a greater expression of testosteronein skeletal muscle could allow for greater uptake from the blood. Althoughimportant to the production of testosterone, too much protein can have theopposite effect.
A meat-free diet may lower your testosterone production by upto 14 percent, but that doesn’t mean you should eat excessive quantities ofanimal protein, either. Excessiveprotein intake may contribute to the development of chronic diseases likecancer and even accelerate aging.
Consider reducingyour protein levels 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass,or one-half gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
While this fragrant herb doesn’t contain the necessarynutrients to produce testosterone, it does contain allicin, a compound thatlowers the levels of cortisol in your body. With your cortisol levels lowered,your body can more effectively and efficiently use the testosterone that isproduced.14
How Men and Women Benefit
Both men andwomen benefit from adequate production of testosterone. Although known as the“male hormone,” women use testosterone to maintain lean muscle mass, feelingsof well-being, sex drive and sexual pleasure.15 Leydig cells in the testicles in men and theovaries and adrenal glands in women are responsible for the production andsecretion of testosterone. Symptoms of low levels of testosterone in men andwomen include:16
|Low energy||Fatigue||Higherblood pressure|
|Decreased strength||Decreasedwork capacity of muscles||Low sexualdesire|
|Lack ofsexual responsiveness||Weakerorgasm||Loss oflean body mass and increase in fat stores|
Five More Ways to NaturallyBoost Testosterone
Begin withyour nutrition intake to ensure your body has the building blocks to producetestosterone. But, don’t stop there! You can increase production and balanceyour hormonal levels using these five strategies.
1. Weight Loss
Shedding extra pounds may naturally increase yourtestosterone levels. In a study published in Endocrine, researchers found thatweight loss reduced the prevalence of low testosterone levels in middle-aged,overweight men with prediabetes by at least 50 percent.17
Some studies have demonstrated that testosterone levels areelevated for up to 15 minutes after exercise and other studies demonstratedthis increase for up to an hour.18 The differentiating factors were age, type of exercise, fitness level, weight,and time of day when you exercise.
3. Optimize Your Zinc and Vitamin D
These are the nutrient precursors needed to producetestosterone. You may find that you are deficient in these nutrients, as aremany people. Zinc deficiency is a global concern and vitamin D deficiency is commonin people of all ages.
Based on theevaluation of healthy populations that get plenty of natural sun exposure, theoptimal range of vitamin D for general health appears to be somewhere between50 and 70 ng/ml.
4. Reduce Your Stress Levels
When your body is stressed, your adrenal glands secretecortisol. In a fight or flight situation, this can save your life. However,under chronic conditions cortisol can reduce the effectiveness of thetestosterone your body produces.
5. Reduce Sugar and CarbohydrateIntake
Eating transiently lowers testosterone, but sugar andcarbohydrates do the most damage by leading to surges in blood sugar andraising insulin levels. Past research has demonstrated that high levels ofinsulin reduce blood levels of testosterone.
When men consumed a glucose (sugar) solution as part of aglucose tolerance test, the amount of circulating testosterone in their bloodwas reduced by as much as 25 percent. Even two hours later, their testosteronelevels remained much lower than before the test.22