Testosterone is an important hormone in men, thus a man should always have enough of it to live a healthy life. Having too much of it might have some effects while having less might also come with some conditions. In this article, we shall look at the benefits of testosterone, natural ways of boosting its levels, as well as the 5 foods that power it up.
5 Foods That Power Testosterone: What Is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone found mainly in males. Although, there are small amounts of it in females as well that are responsible for their sex drive, bone density, maintenance of muscles, sperm production, hair growth, and fertility (1). A man produces testosterone in high amounts when they are young, somewhere in their 20s, and the production levels start dropping as they get older, about 30 years and above. The production levels fall by one to two percent annually (1). This is not the set number as there are some people who lose more or less than the said percentage, as, at times, the production levels are affected by various lifestyle choices and a number of medical conditions.
Maintaining high levels of testosterone is essential, and this can be promoted by maintaining your hormonal balance. Other than that, there are other ways to increase your testosterone levels, and most include an increase in vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium, as these micronutrients help in the production of testosterone. When a person does not produce enough testosterone, they usually have a condition referred to as hypogonadism or low T. When a person has hypogonadism, they should go to see a doctor as it might be fatal, and you might need medication. Apart from medication, some foods can boost the production of testosterone.
Below are the 5 foods that can help you with that:
What Are The Five Foods That Power Testosterone?
Various foods will help boost the production of testosterone. Most of these foods contain compounds like zinc and magnesium, and either vitamin A, B, or D. These micronutrients are effective when it comes to boosting testosterone production. With that said, here are the 5 foods that can boost testosterone production:
Fatty Fish And Fish Oil
Who doesn’t love fish? Well, apart from people who are allergic to it. Fish is a good source of proteins that are needed by the body. Apart from proteins, fatty fish and generally oil from fish helps in the production of testosterone. This is due to the presence of the compounds mentioned above that are vital in the secretion of testosterone.
A fish like salmon contains 14.1 mcg of vitamin D for every 100 grams. Sardines contain 6.8 mcg of vitamin D for every 100 grams. Various shellfish contain approximately 5.95 mg of zinc for every 100 grams. Apart from that, fish oils also help in the process of testosterone formation since they contain 3000 mcg of vitamin A for every 100 grams. In addition to these compounds, fatty fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and thus it also plays a role in the quality of semen and serum testosterone levels.
Human Research Has Not Been Done On This
Research on dogs has confirmed this to be true. A study on the effect of long-term fish oil supplementation on semen quality and serum testosterone concentrations in male dogs was done (4). The study took 120 days. 5 male dogs were chosen to take part in the study. These dogs were put into two groups: one group received a fish oils diet, while the other was in the control group. The researchers collected blood samples on days 0, 60, 90, and 120 of the study.
The results showed that the dogs that were on the fish oils diet had an improved semen quality and increased serum testosterone (4). The addition of fish oils to their diet did indeed make their semen characteristics better. These changes could be attributed to the changes in the sperm’s phospholipid fatty acid profile, which was affected by the increase in omega-3 fatty acids from the fish oils. The same fatty acids were also responsible for the increased testosterone serum (4). Hence, if you are suffering from hypogonadism, adding fatty fish and fish oils could be the way to go, that’s if you are not allergic to any of the two. In case you have a fish allergy, below are other foods that can help boost your testosterone production.
5 Foods That Power Testosterone: Virgin Argan Oil And Extra Virgin Olive Oil
These two oils are seen as healthy alternatives to vegetable oil. They present a reduced chance of getting cardiovascular disorders as well as cancer. That is not all! They are responsible for improving a man’s sex health by increasing testosterone production.
A study on the effects of argan and olive oil consumption on androgens’ hormonal profile among healthy adult Moroccan men was conducted (3). 60 young men of ages 23 to 40 took part in the study. The men were divided into two groups. One group was to consume virgin argan oil for 3 weeks, while the other group was to consume extra virgin olive oil for the same period. The researchers measured the testosterone concentration, luteinizing hormone concentration, and the dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS) serum concentration, before and after the study(3).
After the results were analyzed, it was seen that the levels of testosterone and luteinizing hormone had increased after the study, compared to the levels they were before. Testosterone increased by 19.9% in the virgin argan oil and 17.4% in the extra virgin olive oil (3). Luteinizing hormone levels increased by 18.5% in the virgin argan oil group and 42.6% in the extra virgin olive oil (3). These results show that the consumption of these two oils would lead to an increase in testosterone production.
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Testosterone Boosting Foods: Leafy Green Vegetables
This is yet another reason why you should always eat your greens. Vegetables are usually very healthy and contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that the body needs. Among the minerals that vegetables contain is magnesium, which is found in high amounts in leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard. Leafy green vegetables like spinach contain approximately 79 mg of magnesium for every 100 grams. This mineral helps increase the production of testosterone.
A study on the effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects, at rest and after exhaustion, was done to see if magnesium can truly help increase testosterone production (5). The study took 4 weeks and was keen to determine the testosterone levels in different periods. These periods were: resting period before supplementation, resting after supplementation, exhaustion before supplementation, and exhaustion after supplementation. The participants of the study were put into three groups (5):
The people in this group were to remain sedentary while receiving a supplement of 10 mg of magnesium for every kilogram of body weight.
The people in this group were to practice taekwondo for 90 to 120 minutes a day while receiving a supplement of 10 mg of magnesium for every kilogram of body weight.
The people in this group were to practice taekwondo for 90 to 120 minutes without receiving any magnesium supplement.
The results showed that testosterone levels were higher after exhaustion, before and after supplementation of magnesium, compared to resting (5). Exercises (taekwondo) were seen to also increase the levels of testosterone compared to being sedentary. From the results, you can see that supplementation of magnesium led to an increase in testosterone levels in both sedentary and active people (5). They were, however, a higher increase in testosterone levels in active people compared to inactive people.
It is important to note that leafy green vegetables aren’t the only sources of magnesium as foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and generally most foods with high amounts of fiber are good sources of magnesium.
5 Foods That Power Testosterone: Onions And Ginger
Onions and ginger each come with their benefits. Apart from being used to make food better, it can also be used to make your sex life better.
A study was done on ginger’s effect on semen parameters and serum FSH and LH & testosterone of infertile men (7). 75 infertile men of ages 19 to 40 took part in this study. The participants had been married for over two years without getting a child. The study was trying to see if it could treat the men’s condition with ginger. The study took 3 months.
The results showed that there was a noticeable increase in the men’s sperm count compared to their count before the study. The increase was up to 16.2%, which is quite significant, as you can see (7). Another thing that was noticed was that the sperm’s motility increased by 47.3 %. The volume of ejaculation also increased in these men after being treated with ginger. Their testosterone levels increased significantly after the study compared to before. Thus this shows ginger is effective when it comes to boosting the level of testosterone.
5 Foods That Power Testosterone: Pomegranates
Pomegranates come with numerous advantages like lowering stress levels, lowering your blood pressure, and improving your mood. But that is not all! They also help in the production of testosterone.
A study was done to see if pomegranate juice enhances testosterone levels in healthy volunteers. Participants in the study were to take 500 ml of pomegranate juice every day to see if this helps with their overall mood and testosterone production (6). The study took 2 weeks.
When the results were tested, it was seen that regular consumption of pomegranate juice helped increase the testosterone levels of the participants (6).
Other foods that are known to increase the levels of testosterone are (1):
- Egg yolks
- Low-fat milk with vitamin D
- Fortified cereals
Apart from food, there are other natural ways to increase your testosterone levels.
Read More: 13 Essential Vitamins: A Comprehensive Guide
5 Foods That Power Testosterone: How To Increase Testosterone Naturally?
Apart from food, here are other natural testosterone boosters:
Working out has several benefits, and increasing the levels of testosterone is one of them. Although cardio has many benefits when it comes to increasing the level of testosterone, you need to concentrate on building strength, and hence resistance training is the way to go (1, 8).
Do you have to increase your levels of testosterone? Just sleep enough. This has to be the easiest way to deal with low T. An adult should sleep for 8 to 10 hours daily. Anything below 5 hours is not good to support healthy living.
A study was done on the effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men (2). There were ten participants in the study with no irregular bedtimes, psychiatric disorders, and sleep complaints as these factors would have affected the study. The participants had a mean age of 24.3 years. They first spend one week at home sleeping for 8 hours; then they were to spend 11 nights in the lab, where they would sleep for 10 hours in 3 nights followed by 5 hours of sleep for 8 nights. Blood samples were taken regularly so that they could track their testosterone levels.
From the results, it was seen that their testosterone levels were low after a night of sleep restriction compared to the nights when they got sufficient sleep (2). The effects of less sleep were more evident from 2 pm to 10 pm when they had the lowest levels of testosterone. The testosterone levels decreased by 10% to 15%. This goes to show sufficient sleep is paramount to maintaining healthy levels of testosterone.
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Being overweight or obese comes with many health complications, and one of them is low T (8). To increase your testosterone levels, you need to lose weight, as being overweight increases the chances of being diabetic; most young men who are diabetic are likely to have low levels of testosterone. When it comes to losing weight, there are two ways of doing it: first is cutting your calories, and second is exercising.
To lose weight healthily, you need to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories so that in a week you can lose 1 to 2 pounds, which is a healthy rate to lose weight. When it comes to exercising, you need to do more cardio. This helps burn those extra pounds of weight off quickly. Do exercises like running, jump rope, swimming and cycling. You can also build muscles as they help burn more calories at rest compared to fat mass, and this also helps with weight loss.
Apart from exercising and cutting your calories, other lifestyle choices will help you lose weight. Better management of stress will prevent you from developing unhealthy eating habits such as stress-eating. Reducing your alcohol intake will prevent you from gaining the extra calories that are in beer and other alcoholic drinks. Enough sleep prevents unhealthy eating habits such as midnight snacking, and this also helps in weight management.
The Bottom Line
Testosterone is important for maintaining muscles, sperm production, fertility, and hair growth, and thus it is an essential hormone. The 5 foods that can power testosterone in this article will help increase your testosterone levels in case you are suffering from hypogonadism. If you are under medication to treat hypogonadism, do not substitute your medicine for these foods as it may worsen the situation. Always remember to follow the doctor’s recommendation.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Best foods for increasing low testosterone (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy Men (2011, jamanetwork.com)
- Effect of argan and olive oil consumption on the hormonal profile of androgens among healthy adult Moroccan men (2013, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of Long-Term Fish Oil Supplementation on Semen Quality and Serum Testosterone Concentrations in Male Dogs (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of magnesium supplementation on testosterone levels of athletes and sedentary subjects at rest and after exhaustion (2014, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Natural Pomegranate Juice Improves Mood,Wellbeing And Enhances Salivary Testosterone Levels In Healthy Volunteers (n.d., ecronicon.com)
- The effect of Ginger on semen parameters and serum FSH, LH & testosterone of infertile men (2012, iasj.net)
- What foods reduce testosterone? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)