Hormonal health plays a crucial role in the body’s growth, development, metabolism, and overall health. Maintaining healthy Testosterone levels is vital for a man’s well-being, health, and quality of life.
Testosterone is an essential hormone, and why is it important for a man? Here are the answers you need. Before proceeding further, let us discuss some essential facts about Testosterone.
What is Testosterone?
An essential part of male reproductive health, male fertility, bone and muscle strength, sperm production, and production of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) is Testosterone. Men today face many challenges when it comes to maintaining optimal Testosterone levels. Testosterone levels drop down in men naturally after the age of 30s.
Benefits of Testosterone in the Body
Optimal testosterone levels provide the following health benefits to the body.
Heart Strengthening: Testosterone helps in RBC production, increasing the blood flow to the heart. In this way, it prevents cardiovascular diseases.
Bone Strength: Testosterone helps support mineral bone density. JAMA Network’s controlled trial showed that Testosterone treatment improved bone mass in older males with low Testosterone levels.
Muscle Mass: Testosterone helps promote muscle mass with weight management and high energy levels. Strength training enhances the benefit of improved muscle mass.
Sexual Health: Healthy testosterone levels are a favorable sign of sexual arousal and better sexual drive as they affect reproductive hormones.
Improved Mood: Healthy testosterone levels improve the quality of life by keeping active and reducing depression, fatigue, and irritability.
Improved Mental Health: Testosterone improves memory and the processing speed of brain function. A 2022 study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that low Testosterone levels have an impact and a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease in men.
Production of Sperm: Testosterone plays a significant role in reproduction, assisting in the production of sperm, a process called Spermatogenesis.
Males typically produce 300 to 1000 Nanograms per Deciliter (ng/dL) of the hormone Testosterone. The lowest levels of Testosterone indication is when it goes under 300 Nanograms per Deciliter (ng/dL). Low Testosterone (low T-levels) or Testosterone deficiency is also called Hypogonadism.
An article published in the journal Boston University School of Medicine states that Hypogonadism affects around 5 million men in the USA, especially older males above 50′s.
Indications of low Testosterone
The body needsto function and maintain hormone levels and hormonal health. There are several symptoms associated with low Testosterone levels:
Lowered Sex Drive (Loss of Libido)
Increase in Body Fat
Reduced Muscle and Bone Mass
Decreased Sperm Count
Poor Concentration Levels
Loss of Facial and Body Hair
Fatigue, Anxiety, and Weakness
Declination in Cognitive Functions
Foods that increase Testosterone levels
A diet full of micronutrients is always the best key to improving overall health. A healthy and balanced diet maintains healthy body weight, helps increase healthy Testosterone production, and improves hormonal health.
Leafy green vegetables are the best source of several micronutrients like Magnesium, Folate, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, and Vitamin E. Some examples of leafy greens are Spinach, Kale, Lettuce, and Swiss Chard.
Spinach and Swiss Chard contain large amounts of Boron and Magnesium. Magnesium in green leafy vegetables plays a significant role in maintaining healthy Testosterone levels and reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Andrology – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) says that more Magnesium in older men had increased blood Testosterone levels than with less magnesium intake.
Another 2011 study from PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that athletes and sportspersons who took Magnesium supplementation for four weeks experienced an increase in Testosterone levels.
Cold-Water fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Sardines, Herring, and Trout help in hormonal health as they are rich in Vitamin D, Zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Polyunsaturated fatty acids and also help to increase Testosterone.
Heart disease reduces by consuming two servings (minimum) of fatty fish per week, according to the American Heart Association. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), the omega-3 acids found in fatty fish, are indispensable in maintaining cardiovascular health.
Alternatively, consuming DHA-enriched fish oil or Omega-3s supplements can also work wonders in healthy Testosterone production. PubMed – the National Library of Medicine (NIH) 2020 study says that DHA-enriched fish oil supplements enhanced Testosterone levels in men.
Examples of Shellfish are Oysters. Oysters are rich in Zinc and Vitamin D. Other minerals are Vitamin B12, Selenium, Copper, Manganese, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Zinc plays a central role in producing Testosterone, sperm health, and reproductive functions.
The other benefits of zinc are boosting the immune system, insulin production, maintaining protein levels, DNA synthesis, cellular metabolism, cell division, and sense of taste and smell. A study published in Nutrition – PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that zinc may help support healthy Testosterone levels.
A single serving of cooked, breaded, and fried Oysters equals 3 oz (ounce), which provides more than 74 milligrams, constituting more than 673 % of the Average Daily Value (DV). Oysters are also Aphrodisiacs, a substance that boosts sexual desire, attraction, and pleasure.
Apart from Oysters, Clams, Mussels, Scallops, Octopi, Shrimp, Lobsters, and Crabs are rich in zinc and act as Testosterone boosting foods.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Olive oil plays its role as cooking oil and seasoning and is a staple food of the Mediterranean diet. The drawback of olive oil is that they are heated and processed for oil extraction and refinement.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVO) is cold pressed, unrefined, and filled with polyphenols and antioxidants that reduce heart problems, cancers, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
It consists of monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E, providing benefits like lowering cardiovascular issues and cancer with antioxidant properties. These monounsaturated fats also help alleviate bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) for healthy Testosterone levels.
A 2013 study published in the Journal, Natural Product Communications – PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that olive oil consumption increased Testosterone levels in healthy adult Moroccan men by 17.4%.
Fortified cereals are highly rich in Vitamin D and contain the needed minerals and vitamins that increase their nutritional value. Although high in carbohydrates and added sugar, they help with low Testosterone and raise its levels.
Some cereals have B Vitamins like Folic Acid or Vitamin B9, which helps in red blood cell growth. Some also contain nutrients like Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium, and other Vitamins like A and C.
An article from ResearchGate shows that the intake of high-carbohydrate foods like fortified cereals helps with low Testosterone and increases Testosterone production.
Eggs are protein-rich nutritious foods with healthy fats and Vitamins that help boost hormones. They also contain Selenium, a mineral that acts as an antioxidant and helps in reproduction and metabolism, and Vitamin D, which helps boost Testosterone levels.
Egg yolks are the best nutrient source of Vitamin D, although they have cholesterol. They are rich in proteins and carotenoids like Zeaxanthin and Lutein, which help with vision and cognitive issues. Also, they have other Vitamins like A, B, and E.
Human Kinetics Journal research suggests egg yolk cholesterol can boost testosterone levels. A 2019 study published in Antioxidants (Basel) – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that Selenium concentration in blood had higher Testosterone levels.
Cocoa products are base materials used in chocolates, like dark chocolates, which include Cocoa Nibs and Cocoa Powder. These products are rich in Magnesium and flavonoids that help with low Testosterone. Flavonoids are antioxidant-rich plant compounds that also possess anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2020 study published online in Antioxidants (Basel) – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that flavonoids of cocoa products like Apigenin and Quercetin may help increase Testosterone production. Choosing cocoa products with no added or low sugar can provide the best benefits.
Onions are one of the best sources of nutrients and antioxidants, providing various health benefits. Moreover, onions add a perfect flavor by sauteing them to most dishes, from salads and curries to meats, as they are rich in flavonoids.
Additionally, onions can increase Testosterone levels. A 2019 study published in Biomolecules – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that onions enhance the male sex hormone, Testosterone, in males.
Garlic is another superfood with the necessary nutrients and is rich in flavonoids, added to dishes as a garnish. Moreover, it reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL), commonly called bad cholesterol, and is one of the best foods to that increase Testosterone.
Moreover, garlic also has a sulfur-containing compound called “Allicin” that lessens the stress hormone, Cortisol levels and boosts Testosterone levels. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition – PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that garlic supplements increased Testosterone in rats with a protein-rich diet.
Ginger is a spice used in various dishes as an ingredient and in traditional medicinal products for centuries. It provides health benefits like reducing cholesterol levels, inflammation, and digestion problems. It has a phenolic compound called Gingerol that provides its spicy flavor.
Besides, ginger supplements increase Testosterone by decreasing oxidative stress and increasing blood flow to the testicles. A 2018 study published in Biomolecules – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows ginger helps increase Testosterone production in men.
Milk and Dairy Products
Milk is a nutrient-rich food with large amounts of Protein, Calcium, Vitamins, Zinc, and other nutrients. Amino acids in milk help build muscle strength and maintain a lean physique.
Although plain milk offers all the health benefits, Vitamin-Enriched milk with minerals and Vitamins helps to produce Testosterone optimally. This milk is called Low-fat Fortified Milk or Fortified Plant Milk. It is a healthy source of Vitamin D to consume Fortified Plant Milk.
Sun exposure is the best way to absorb Vitamin D in the body. Since spending time outdoors every day is rarely possible, such fortified milk products provide the essential Vitamin D for the body and aid with Zinc deficiency.
A 2011 study in PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) states that Vitamin D Supplementation help increases Testosterone levels in healthy men.
Red Meat or beef liver is an excellent source of Vitamin D and Zinc which acts as the best nutrient to increase low Testosterone levels. Most importantly, Meat is also the best source of iron, Vitamin B12, and proteins.
Steak, a kind of Red Meat, is rich in Leucine. It is an amino acid that helps in the development and maintenance of tissues of bone and muscles. A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology -PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that higher Vitamin D levels have a link to boosting Testosterone levels.
Almonds are perfect Zinc-rich foods. Men who experience zinc deficiency can develop Hypogonadism resulting in lower Testosterone and delayed sexual maturation. Consuming almonds protects from being zinc deficient and helps support healthy Testosterone levels.
Whey Proteins are the best source of Amino acids, which help with muscle strength and digestion quickly. Apart from muscle strengthening, these proteins also help support hormonal health.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition – PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that soy and whey protein supplementation had a blunt cortisol level response. By lessening the cortisol, whey proteins reduce the impact on normal Testosterone levels.
Pomegranates are antioxidant-rich fruits that hold a high nutritional value. It helps enhance hormonal and overall health by improving blood circulation and controlling high blood pressure, stress, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory arthritis, and sexual dysfunction.
These seeded fruits have flavonoids and Hydrolyzable Tannins, contributing to their antioxidant properties. The flavonoids in pomegranates also help boost Testosterone production and protect Testosterone-producing cells from damage.
A 2014 study published in BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) states that pomegranate juice can elevate Testosterone production and combat oxidative stress.
Another study from PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that pomegranate juice intake after a weightlifting exercise increased Testosterone/Cortisol ratio in men.
Avocados are fruits rich in Vitamins, Potassium, Magnesium, and healthy fats that support hormonal health. They contain a mineral called Boron that helps influence Testosterone metabolism and benefit Testosterone levels.
A study published in Journal Integrative Medicine – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that boron supplementation significantly increased Testosterone levels. Apart from avocados, raisins, peanuts, broccoli, honey, peaches, and apples contain Boron.
Honey is a sweet and viscous medicine known for centuries as an antibacterial agent against infections. Besides its medicinal properties, it also shows its importance in stimulating Testosterone production as it contains Magnesium and the mineral Boron that boosts Testosterone levels and supports healthy erections.
Honey also has Nitric Oxide that opens the blood vessels and improves blood circulation, nutrition, and oxygen to the organs and tissues. A 2019 study published in the Journal Heliyon – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) reports that honey increases serum Testosterone levels by strengthening the production of luteinizing hormone.
Red grapes are delicious vitamin-berry fruits good for overall health. An interesting fact about grapes is that they also help enhance sperm health.
The skin of grapes contains the compound Resveratrol, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics that helps raise Testosterone levels. A study published in 2005 by PubMed – the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows that trans-Resveratrol increases sperm fertility in healthy rats.
Bananas are fiber-rich fruits that are excellent antioxidants and rich in Magnesium which helps with bone health. Also, they contain an enzyme called Bromelain that aids in digestion. Apart from the above benefits, Magnesium and Bromelain help increase Testosterone production.
A study published in the European Journal of Sport Science – PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) shows the effects of Bromelain supplements in regulating low Testosterone levels.
Coconut is essential for metabolism, and it’s high in saturated fats. A 2008 study from PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) states that including dietary oils like coconut oil significantly improved Testosterone and testicular antioxidants.
Although there is a suggestion that coconut can help improve sexual functions and increase Testosterone, there is no proper evidence or research.
Lifestyle Changes to Boost Testosterone Levels
Men who experience low Testosterone levels prefer Testosterone Replacement Therapy to alleviate symptoms. Several lifestyle changes in a day-to-day routine help naturally boost Testosterone.
Exercising regularly and being physically active is one of the best ways to raise Testosterone levels as it improves muscle mass. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), squats, and weight lifting in the gym are some of the best exercises.
Excessive stress reduces Testosterone levels which is a bad sign for overall health. So, minimize stress levels by practicing mindfulness like meditation. Live and enjoy the present moment with laughter, and stay away from negative vibes.
Taking Vitamin Supplements
Vitamin supplements help provide essential nutrient intake for the body. The required Vitamin supplements that boost Testosterone levels are Zinc, B Vitamins, and Vitamins D, E, C, and A.
Getting Required Sleep
A proper sleep routine is a chief factor in maintaining healthy Testosterone levels. A research study published in the Journal HHS Author Manuscripts – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) reports that sleep restriction for a week decreased Testosterone levels in men by 10-15%.
Foods to Avoid that Decrease Testosterone Levels
Consumption of certain foods lowers Testosterone and badly affects Testosterone levels. Listed below are foods to avoid:
Alcohol consumption has impacts on hormone levels and declines fertility in the body. The Journal – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) states the effects of alcohol on male reproductive health and low Testosterone levels.
Plastic-packed or Canned Foods
Packaged or canned foods highly impact hormone levels as they come in plastic packaging. Heating plastic in a microwave will cause the chemicals to mix with the food, losing their nutritional value, reducing fertility, and affecting Testosterone levels.
A 2013 study from PubMed of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) reports that men who ingest chemicals like Serum Bisphenol A concentration (BPA) impact the sex hormone levels lessening Testosterone levels. BPA is a chemical substance used to make plastics.
Usually, BPA in food packaging is in lesser quantities, but it can enter human bodies. It can cause a health condition called Hypothyroidism, which results in low Testosterone in men.
Certain foods like snacks, frozen ones like frozen pizza, or prepackaged meals like sandwiches are processed foods. They are relatively heavy in calories, sugar, salt, and fats, with less nutritional value.
A 2017 study published in the Asian Journal of Andrology – PubMed Central of the National Library of Medicine (NIH) states that intake of trans-fatty acids results in reduced Testosterone levels and impacts the testicular function and reproductive hormones in healthy men.
Testosterone Supplements and their Effects
Testosterone Supplements are also called Testosterone Boosters. These pills can be oral medicines, injections, gels, patches, subdermal pellets, prohormones, or steroids that help boost Testosterone.
These supplements have side effects like high blood pressure, sleep apnea, infertility, acne, shrunk testicle size, liver damage, oedema, reduced sperm count, heart attacks, enlarged breast, blurred vision, and hair loss.
Hence, it is advisable to check primarily with a physician or a healthcare provider and take these pills with their recommendation.
Suggested Reading: Are Canned Vegetables Healthy?
Maintaining adequate Testosterone levels is mandatory in every aspect of male health and overall health for the best energy levels, mood, and reproductive hormones. Although Testosterone decreases with an increase in age, medical treatments, medications, or abnormal diet also result in low Testosterone.