Testosterone is the CEO of male sex hormones. It endows us with drive, energy, the will to take on the world, and all of the virtuous characteristics that make us men. Yet our diets are often lacking the very foods that can increase the production of testosterone.
Boosting your testosterone can have myriad positive effects on your wellness as a man such as decreasing body fat, increasing muscle mass, fighting depression, strengthening your heart, and perhaps most importantly, increasing libido.
There are plenty of items in the Standard American Diet that inhibit or decrease testosterone. If you carefully read the ingredients on the package of your typical grocery store processed food product, you will notice the main ingredient is usually a high polyunsaturated fat vegetable oil (canola oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil). These high omega 6 oils should be avoided like the plague, not only for their negative effects on overall health, but their widely noted detrimental effects on testosterone. The same can be said for trans-fats, flaxseed products, and soy products.
Knowing which foods decrease testosterone is only half the battle. Below are 5 foods that men should add to their diet to boost their testosterone, and thus their drive, energy and vitality.
Back in the day, downing raw eggs was a popular diet hack for boxers, as demonstrated by Rocky Balboa. While I do not condone eating raw eggs (salmonella), the old school guys were onto something from a training standpoint. Eggs are a complete protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids. More importantly, the contain ample amounts of an important testosterone building block: cholesterol.
Cholesterol acts as a precursor to sex hormones, including testosterone.
Before you recoil in horror at the thought of clogging your arteries, science has begun to refute the theory that dietary cholesterol raises cholesterol in the blood and leads to heart disease. Even the slow to adapt United States government has removed strict cholesterol limits from their dietary guidelines.
Don’t shy away from eggs, and make sure to eat the whole egg including the yolk!
If my earlier reference of Rocky Balboa eating raw eggs for power seemed a bit cliche, wait for this one: Popeye eating spinach for bigger arms. While it may seem like a silly and innocuous part of popular culture, it certainly contains an element of truth.
Spinach contains ample amounts of magensium, which has been shown to elevate T levels. In this study, researchers recorded the levels of testosterone and magnesium in 399 men with an average age of 74 years. They found that higher serum magnesium levels correlated positively with a higher testosterone level. This was consistent across all the men.
Spinach can give you the most magnesium bang for your back. It is most effective when cooked, and 1 cup (180g) of will give you around 157mg of Magnesium (or 39% of the daily recommended value for an adult). A few cups of cooked spinach each day will definitely lead you down the right path to boosting testosterone levels.
3. Coconut Butter
Ah, the coconut. My personal favorite of all the paleo superfoods. They are a delicious and nutritious source of fat, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. Inside the fibrous husk you will find a plethora of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well as plenty of electrolytes. While coconut oil (which is the just the extracted coconut fat) confers all of the health benefits, I have found coconut butter (which consists of the actual coconut flesh) to be the more flavorful and delicious snack.
Artisana Organics is my favorite brand of coconut butter, and they sell it by the jar.
Unlike other sources of saturated fat, the vast majority of the fatty-acids in coconut are MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), a fatty-acid that has anywhere from 6 to 12 carbon chains attached to it.
These fatty acids are metabolized differently from other fats. Your body shuttles them directly into the liver where it uses them for instant energy or converts them into ketone bodies. This unique effect of MCTs is likely the cause of its ability to increase metabolic rate. The higher your metabolic rate, the more fat you will burn, and the more fat you burn the more testosterone you will produce.
But what about the coconut’s direct effects on testosterone? In one study, when virgin coconut oil was given to rats, it showed that coconut oil’s antioxidant properties seemed to prevent oxidative stress on the rat’s testicles. For the study, rats who took either coconut oil or olive oil showed significantly higher levels of testosterone.
Looking for a T-boosting healthy snack? Try dipping some celery sticks into a jar of warm coconut butter.
Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone. It is also present in males, but in small amounts. However, high estrogen levels in men can lead to a variety of symptoms that are the antithesis to testosterone such as loss of muscle mass, enlarged breasts, increased abdominal fat, lethargy, and sexual dysfunction.
The best offense is a good defense. Cuciferous vegetables like broccoli can help T-levels not by boosting them directly, but by reducing estrogens in the body that can have negative effects on testosterone.
According to this study, broccoli contains a compound called indole-3-carbinol that is a negative regulator of estrogen.
Add some raw broccoli to your daily salad. Include some sauteed broccoli and grass fed butter with your steak. Your T levels will thank you later.
For centuries, oysters have been touted as an aphrodisiac, and for good reason. Oysters are high in the mineral zinc.
Zinc has been shown to increase testosterone levels, especially in men that are deficient in the mineral. It does this by aiding in the conversion of free cholesterol to testosterone.
Fresh oysters are best, but if you are in a rush, I suggest Crown Prince Smoked Oysters.
Unlike other canned oysters, they are packed in healthfull olive oil instead of high-PUFA seed oils.
So there you have it. Adding these five foods to your diet can go along way towards boosting your testosterone levels. As a man, it is your birthright to feel energized, alive, strong, and ready to take on the world. Don’t neglect your T-levels by neglecting your diet.
For more men’s health and fitness tips, news, t-bosting recipes and more be sure to follow me on Instagram @refuelvitality, Twitter @joeghealthcoach, and follow the Refuel Vitality blog by clicking on the toolbar to the right!