Testosterone is the king of all male hormones.
It is the primary male sex hormone and plays a huge role, along with its metabolite DHT, in making you a man.
Testosterone was also the first of the identified anabolic hormones and is used extensively for muscle building by athletes.
More testosterone means greater muscle mass, body hair, deeper voice, good bone density, and high sex drive.
Age, however, can reduce these levels and leave you feeling less than stellar.
This is why it is important to start consuming testosterone-boosting foods from a young age, in an effort to arrest a rapid reduction in hormone levels, or to optimize already low t levels.
With that said, not all foods are created equally.
There are those that will help to improve your testosterone levels and even those that will do harm to the male body.
So it is of the utmost importance that you know what to choose.
30 Testosterone-Boosting Foods You Should Try & 7 That Destroy It
Below, you will find what the 30 best foods to boost testosterone naturally are, and which 7 you should be avoiding at all costs.
1) Brazil Nuts
The Brazil nut is a large, hard-shelled fruit that grows in the Amazonian rainforest.
It contains high levels of zinc and selenium which are essential for healthy sperm production in men.
The nuts also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin and melatonin.
These nutrients help improve mood and reduce stress by increasing your body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
The two primary minerals found in these nuts also help with boosting testosterone levels, which is why they’re often referred to as “male superfoods.”
The caffeine in coffee is a natural stimulant that can help you feel more alert and focused.
It also helps your body produce the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine, which play an important role in fat metabolism.
But if you’re looking for something with less of a jolt, try green tea instead.
The catechins found in it are powerful antioxidants that may improve blood flow to certain areas of the brain, including those responsible for sexual function.
This is owing to an increase in the levels of a molecule known as cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate), which also lends itself to enhancing testosterone production.
These are one of nature’s natural zinc-rich foods, which are important for the production and maintenance of healthy sperm.
Zinc deficiency can cause low sperm count and impotence in men.
Zinc also helps with hormone balance in men.
Clams have been shown to improve libido as well.
They’re low in calories so they can be eaten often without worrying about weight gain or loss- just what you need to fix lagging t levels.
Avocados contain high levels of healthy fats in monounsaturated fats which help increase testosterone levels.
Monounsaturated fats also lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
In particular, it contains high levels of oleic acid, which has been shown to increase testosterone levels. This is why avocado toast is such a popular breakfast choice.
The avocado also contains vitamin E, which helps to prevent cell damage from free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules that cause cell damage and can lead to cancer.
Not to mention the fact that oxidation can hurt the testosterone-producing Leydig cells.
They are also a good source of fiber.
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet as it helps to lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure and help eliminate estrogen, the most well-known of all the female hormones.
Amaranth is not well known throughout many parts of the world, and that’s understandable considering the fact that it was almost wiped off the face of the planet when Spanish conquistadors invaded Mexico (where the plant was native to).
Luckily, it has made a resurgence and can be found growing in many parts of the world today.
Amaranth is considered a pseudo-nut and more closely related to a lentil. It is highly nutritious and abundant in magnesium.
In addition to this, it may have the potential in helping to reverse reproductive damage, following findings of an investigation conducted on rodents.
If you believe you’re deficient in magnesium, consider having some amaranth- you’ll be glad you did once you find out that it’s also a complete and rich source of protein.
6) Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the most nutritious foods you can consume.
It is an unrefined oil that contains high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), moderate levels of saturated fat (SFA), and lower polyunsaturated fat content.
MUFA and SFA types of fat are important for testosterone production and make extra virgin olive oil a great inclusion to a diet geared at increasing this hormone.
In addition to this, EVOO is loaded with antioxidants that lend themselves to reducing inflammation, such as that associated with chronic liver disease, high blood pressure, and contains the possible testosterone boosting compound oleuropein.
Eggs are one of the most popular foods that men love to eat.
They’re also one of the best sources of essential nutrient protein, and they’re easy to prepare.
But did you know that eating eggs could naturally boost your testosterone?
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that consuming two eggs per day for three weeks increased levels of free testosterone by nearly 50 percent.
The researchers believe this increase may help protect against age-related declines in testosterone.
Eggs are a rich source of dietary cholesterol, saturated fat, vitamin b, vitamin D, and minerals that all contribute to increased energy levels, testosterone production, and muscle growth- just be sure to actually eat the egg yolks!
8) Pumpkin Seeds
The pumpkin seed is one of the most nutritious seeds known to man.
It is a treasure trove of protein, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and has a high concentration of omega-3 and 6 fats, which are good for the nervous system.
Zinc is an important mineral for both men and women because it will help the body maintain an adequate level of hormones and enzymes, which are necessary for bodily functions.
For men, zinc is also important because it helps the body maintain optimal production of testosterone, which is necessary for normal development and sexual function.
However, many of the benefits of pumpkin seed consumption are likely to manifest only in older men.
This is due to the presence of a natural compound called beta-sitosterol.
This compound restricts the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, and also acts as an estrogen blocker, even though it is technically an estrogen itself (a phytoestrogen).
Younger men do not necessarily need to have their DHT restricted, as it is an integral part of maintaining healthy sexual traits and reproductive function.
9) Grass-Fed Beef
This point actually confuses many people.
“Aren’t all cows fed grass?”, is what you might be asking.
And a justified question it is.
However, the sad truth is that industrial farming does not allow cows wide open spaces to graze.
Rather, they are grown in small confined spaces and fed grain composed of corn and soybean meal. This naturally alters the composition of beef they produce.
Grass-fed beef is a leaner and healthier alternative to conventional beef.
It is also more environmentally friendly and humane than many conventional beef production systems.
Grass-fed beef is leaner because the animals are allowed to roam free and eat only grass and other natural vegetation.
Grass-fed beef is more nutritious than grain-fed beef which has more fat and calories.
Research shows that grass-fed beef has higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)which has been linked to an increase in testosterone levels.
CLA is also extremely beneficial for the heart, ensuring that you can use your greater testosterone levels to do manly activities.
This translates to decreased body fat, increased muscle mass, and improved sexual functioning.
Beef is also an excellent source of heme iron, critical for the synthesis of red blood cells.
Don’t like steak?
Ground beef tastes different but is equally as nutritious.
And no- lean cuts of red meat will not raise your risk of colon cancer, especially when consumed as part of an overall healthy lifestyle.
Cow liver is one of those foods that people love to hate.
It’s not really something that most people would want to eat, but it’s also not something that most people would think about having to do.
However, if you are looking to boost your testosterone levels, then you may want to consider trying some cow liver.
Eating beef liver is one of the most effective ways to increase testosterone levels naturally.
This is because the cow liver contains high amounts of zinc and vitamin B12 which are essential for testosterone production.
Not surprisingly, Eating cow liver is a traditional cure for low testosterone levels.
It also contains vitamin D which is important for male health and immunity.
If you’ve never had it before, it’s actually pretty easy to find. In fact, you can usually find it at any grocery store.
If you don’t see it in the meat section, you might have to look in the organics section.
11) Hot Chilies
If you’re looking for something to turn up the heat, or literally spice up your love life, eating more hot chili peppers may be just the thing you need.
In addition to being a great metabolism booster, the active compound found in chili peppers- capsaicin can actually increase testosterone levels too.
Men who routinely consume more pepper tend to have a higher testosterone level and are frequently leaner as well.
If you just can’t tolerate the taste of pepper in your mouth, try going for a capsaicin-based supplement, as the net effect should be the same.
To be honest, it’s surprising that more people don’t enjoy eating asparagus.
Its bean-like flavor profile makes it easy to incorporate into many recipes and allows you to experience some of its benefits.
Asparagus, apart from being a good source of important minerals and vitamins, contains a unique amino acid called asparagine.
This amino acid is related to aspartic acid, which is an effective testosterone boosting agent and is usually included in many supplements designed to do the same.
Asparagus also belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables, known to help reduce high estrogen load and favor an optimized testosterone profile.
13) Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is already known for its ability to increase dopamine levels, but just what can it do for testosterone levels?
We owe this to the presence of compounds called flavonoids.
Chocolate contains one by the name of epicatechin, which research suggests is responsible for increasing testosterone levels.
The best way to get enough of the stuff is to eat dark chocolate (the higher the cocoa content, the higher the epicatechin content), but if you can’t eat chocolate due to dietary restrictions, you can also get it in other ways.
For example, dark chocolate milk contains epicatechin, while dark chocolate pills (also known as “epicatechin capsules”) can be taken via the mouth.
Research has also found that epicatechin increases testosterone by reducing the amount of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) in blood.
Almost all testosterone found in the body is bound and unable to elicit an effect. It must be free in circulation before its effects can manifest.
Catechins also help with better blood flow and can even improve symptoms of erectile dysfunction.
Thus, a greater free amount of testosterone means that it can elicit greater biological function.
Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage that has been pickled in a vinegar or brine solution.
Many people love it, but just as many don’t.
However, this is to your own chagrin, as sauerkraut has many health benefits, with one of them being increased testosterone levels in men.
It is said to help do this in two ways.
One is the fact that it is still cabbage.
Cabbage, like other cruciferous vegetables (kale, lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower to name a few), all contain a unique compound that goes by the name of indole-3-carbinol.
This compound is an aromatase blocker, and also helps to break down strong forms of estrogen into weaker ones.
This estrogen is then eliminated from the body.
This has the net effect of increasing testosterone levels.
Secondly, is the fact that it is a rich source of healthy probiotics.
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that the body needs to function optimally, with the vast majority residing in your intestinal tract.
Consumption of a specific strain of these probiotic bacteria- such as one that goes by the name of Lactobacillus Reuteri, has the effect of enhancing testosterone levels and sperm production.
This is thought to be due to the fact that probiotic bacteria improve gut health and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
All in all, any fermented type of food will supply probiotics to your body, but the effect on testosterone boosting is not as significant as with the strain sauerkraut possesses.
15) Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has received much flak over the years wrongfully, as it is believed that it once contributed to heart disease.
Today, however, the truth is that coconut oil is extremely healthy with multiple benefits for your body.
For instance, it can help to improve brain function, metabolism, thyroid hormone production, along testosterone synthesis.
Coconut oil is a rich source of saturated fatty acids, but also medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) which bypass the liver during the metabolic process and lend themselves to the production of ketone bodies.
This makes coconut oil especially useful on ketogenic and weight loss diets.
Ginseng is a plant that has been used for centuries in the East, especially in Chinese medicine, to treat a variety of health conditions.
It can be found in herbal teas, capsules, powders, and even in some foods.
Traditionally, it has been used to improve mental and physical performance, relieve fever and reduce stress.
Ginseng is an adaptogen, which has been shown to help the body’s resistance to stress and disease.
Herbalists and physicians believe that increasing resistance to stress can help improve and maintain hormone balance and immune system functioning.
For men, ginseng may help increase testosterone levels.
Much of this benefit of testosterone is believed to be due to the presence of compounds known as ginsenosides, which bind to and activate the androgen receptor.
Ginseng also inhibits the activity of SHBG, which is attached to testosterone, and makes it unavailable for use.
Celery is often used as an example of a food that affects testosterone, even though most people can’t explain why this is so.
Prepare to be enlightened.
You see, celery may help increase testosterone levels via two mechanisms.
One is thanks to the presence of compounds known as phthalides (not phthalates, which are harmful).
These compounds are capable of binding to sex hormone-binding globulin, which as we mentioned previously, inactivates testosterone.
Secondly, is the presence of a testosterone prohormone (or more correctly, pheromone) known as androstenone.
This precursor converts to a mild androgen that increases sexual attractiveness to women. Not directly testosterone, but is a built-in primordial trait in man.
Saffron is a well-known spice that has been used for many years in cooking and to add flavor and color to dishes.
It is also expensive.
However, saffron is also used for medicinal purposes.
Of particular interest to us is its potential to support testosterone levels.
It’s believed that saffron extract will boost the body’s production of luteinizing hormone (LH). The testes are stimulated to produce testosterone through the release of LH.
In addition, sperm count and quality of semen are improved.
19) Grass-Fed Butter
50 years ago butter was seen as the major culprit in causing cardiovascular disease.
As a result, people slowly transitioned to artificial butter-like substitutes, such as margarine, for example.
However, this fallacy has since been debunked, with many experts now agreeing that high-quality butter is good for you and can help boost your testosterone levels significantly.
The presence of saturated fatty acids and vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin K2, vitamin E and A, all play roles in testosterone synthesis.
If you find it difficult to add butter to your meals, whip up some coffee with added butter for a real powerful morning booster.
Parsley is a nice little herb that is used as a garnish on many meals, and to add flavor during the process of cooking.
However, few people actually consider it for testosterone boosting. Parsley is actually rich in a compound known as apigenin.
This compound helps increase the level of a binding protein known as STAR, which effectively helps to move cholesterol into the testes where it can be used to synthesize testosterone.
Why not grow your own parsley? It’s extremely easy to do so in your backyard even with limited space.
21) Onion Juice
Most people don’t realize just how good onions really are.
Not only are they loaded with anti-inflammatory compounds, but they also have potential testosterone-boosting agents such as quercetin.
One study done on rodents revealed that it massively increased the production of sperm and levels of luteinizing hormone.
While eating freshly prepared onions is excellent, it might be an easier choice to opt for onion juice instead when you need volume.
Raisins are chock-full of nutrients in the same way that grapes are, but are lower in sugar and much more convenient to carry since they are dried.
Raisins also possess the potent anti-inflammatory compound resveratrol which shows anti-estrogen and testosterone boosting effects.
Then, there is the underestimated mineral boron, which has the potential for really increasing testosterone production.
Combine it with other testosterone-friendly nuts to make a high-protein, nutrient-rich snack while traveling or on the go.
Broccoli is another one of those foods that people either love or hate.
It’s not really something that most people would consider a “superfood”, but it does contain many nutrients and vitamins that are beneficial to our health.
One of these nutrients is vitamin K2, which is found in broccoli.
This nutrient is essential for bone health, and also helps increase testosterone levels.
It’s also loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, fiber, folate, potassium, magnesium, and more.
But did you know that broccoli also contains compounds that help boost testosterone levels?
Broccoli contains phytochemicals such as indoles, isothiocyanates, and goitrin.
These chemicals have been found to have a variety of health benefits, including helping decrease the risk of hormone-related cancers, lowering cholesterol levels, and boosting immunity.
Of particular interest, however, is indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol has been found to increase testosterone in men by reducing estrogen levels.
When last did you have a pomegranate?
Chances are, not recently.
Pomegranates are a true superfood, having some of the highest levels of antioxidants on the planet. But there’s more.
Regular pomegranate or pomegranate juice consumption can have significant benefits on your vascular health; meaning better blood pressure control and even stronger erections.
- Not enough reason?
- How about the fact that pomegranate juice consumption is associated with an average increase in salivary testosterone levels by over 20%, and after just 2 weeks of consumption?
They may also contain natural anti-estrogenic compounds since estrogen levels are reduced following regular consumption (according to in vitro lab studies).
25) Organic Bacon
Did someone say bacon?
Bacon is a favorite across the world, but unfortunately is not one of the healthiest choices you can make.
However, what if we told you that you can actually have more bacon, given that you choose the right kind?
We don’t think you need any more convincing to do so.
Like grass-fed beef, organic bacon is obtained from pigs that have been grown without the need for synthetic chemicals, steroids, or other growth-enhancing compounds.
Instead, you get high-quality protein and pure unadulterated saturated fat which contribute to testosterone synthesis.
It must be emphasized, however, that you need to ensure the bacon is organic in nature.
Otherwise, you would just be introducing loads of xenoestrogens which are sequestered in the fat of the pigs.
Xenoestrogens are synthetic estrogen-like compounds that wreak havoc on men’s endocrine systems.
Manifestations of chronic exposure include the development of gynecomastia, or breast enlargement in men, and even infertility.
Combine organic bacon with eggs for a powerful breakfast meal.
A powerful anti-inflammatory food that can help with boosting testosterone levels naturally as well.
Try to use more in foods, make into teas or even use in supplements to support hormonal health.
27) White Button Mushrooms
Perfect for optimizing testosterone levels especially if your estrogen burden is high.
Acts as an aromatase inhibitor and blocks testosterone from converting to this female hormone.
Also a good natural source of vitamin D in colder climates with limited sunshine.
Not many plant-based foods have natural vitamin D content, so be sure to add shrooms to your daily diet.
While dairy itself isn’t really beneficial to your testosterone levels (and quite frankly, should be avoided) real yogurt that isn’t laced with sugar can do more good than bad.
It is rich in the exact same probiotic that sauerkraut offers, which ultimately lends itself to better testosterone levels.
It also contains calcium which is necessary for strong bones and teeth. The protein content is decent too.
Did you know that garlic and vitamin C taken in conjunction is an excellent remedy for erectile dysfunction?
Together, they potentiate the production and effects of nitric oxide.
In addition, the quercetin and a compound called allicin found in garlic could help raise testosterone and reduce cortisol levels, making it an absolute essential food item when shopping.
30) Bone Broth Soup
The benefits of bone broth soup are endless, but when it comes to hormone levels, it has to do with the collagen it contains.
Collagen is rich in two amino acids that aren’t often discussed; proline and glycine.
These amino support healthy neurotransmitter levels, which subsequently can improve sleep and reduce stress levels.
And guess what?
Your sex hormones benefit from this.
7 Foods that are Bad for Testosterone Levels
The impact of diet on testosterone levels is not as well-known as the impact of physical activity.
However, it is becoming increasingly clear that diet can have a significant impact – for better or worse.
Some foods may increase testosterone levels, while others may decrease them.
Here are 7 foods that are bad for your testosterone levels:
Everyone loves a good beer from time to time, but what nobody told you is that beer doesn’t really love you back (it’s a toxic relationship!)
Newly published research suggests that regular beer consumption is linked to a lower level of testosterone in men.
The study found that men who drink more than a pint a day have 25% lower levels of testosterone than those who don’t partake.
There are multiple reasons why beer is said to lower testosterone levels.
This may be due to the beer’s high carbohydrate content.
A diet high in carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugars during digestion, can lead to higher levels of insulin.
Insulin is a hormone that can decrease testosterone levels by signaling the body’s cells to store energy from sugars as fat rather than burning it for fuel in muscle cells.
In addition to that, beer is made from hops, barley malt, and water.
Hops contain phytoestrogens, which are plant-derived substances that act like estrogen in the human body.
Estrogen causes natural testosterone production to slow down or stop, or actively impair its effects.
This is why estrogen is referred to as an endocrine disruptor and is implicated in prostate cancer risk.
2) Soy-Based Products
For years, soy was a big thing in the fitness world.
Here you had at your disposal a high-quality source of protein, low in fat, and best of all-vegan!
Well, times have changed somewhat, as science has revealed to us that it is not ideal for men seeking to procreate anytime soon.
Not only will it negatively affect your testosterone levels, but it will also take a hit on your fertility, lowering sperm count in the process.
Like beer, soy-based products contain isoflavones- extremely beneficial compounds, but phytoestrogens nevertheless.
Phytoestrogens are chemicals that mimic the activity of estrogen in the body and when these chemicals are consumed in large amounts they can cause health problems such as hormone disruption, growth of breast tissue in men, and even impotence.
Have bad breath?
Chew on some minty gum.
Maybe some mints.
The flavor of mint, and mints themself have been part of society for a number of years.
And while they do have their place and therapeutic benefits, it’s time you go easy on them.
Mint is classified as an herb that has been used historically to improve digestion and taste.
Mint is also used in aromatherapy to calm the mind and relieve tension, or topically for pain relief.
Mint lowers testosterone levels because it contains a substance called menthol, which will cause the body to produce more of the hormone known as prolactin.
This hormone helps with relieving stress and bonding but has the effect of lowering testosterone levels in males.
Not only that but there is also evidence that mint can block testosterone from binding with the androgen receptor, in effect negating the effect.
There are many benefits of flaxseed. However, contrary to popular belief, flaxseeds are not good for testosterone production.
The omega-3 fatty acids in the seeds help with inflammation but they actually lower testosterone levels.
Flaxseed, a type of seed that can be found in stores or even grown at home, has been shown to have properties that decrease testosterone levels.
When flaxseed is consumed, it can inhibit the body’s ability to convert testosterone into an active form.
It also alters the levels of a protein called SHBG which binds testosterone and renders it inactive.
Flaxseed also contains compounds called lignans which exert an estrogen-like effect in the body and can disrupt normal hormonal function.
It is noteworthy to mention the fact that flaxseed oil does not contain these plant lignans and will not affect testosterone to that extent.
5) Artificial Vegetable Oils
While olive and coconut oil is highly beneficial vegetable-based oils, many of the synthetic oils on the market today are very harmful to male hormonal health.
The three most popular vegetable oils are soybean oil, canola oil, and corn oil.
At first glance, they may appear healthy thanks to the high concentration of polyunsaturated fats, but this does nothing for your hormonal health.
Monounsaturated and saturated fats are much more important for testosterone synthesis, with polyunsaturated fats having the opposite effect and lowering production.
In addition to this, they are considered pro-inflammatory in nature since they are high in omega-6 fats and lack many of the anti-oxidant compounds found in olive or coconut oils.
6) Processed Meats
Processed meats are a perfect melting pot of many unhealthy things put together into one delicious product.
For one, they are typically preserved with the use of nitrates, compounds that have been implicated in lowering testosterone levels.
Then, there’s the presence of MSG which is added for flavoring, which reduces sperm count and testicular size.
Throw low-quality fats that do not support testosterone production, and way too much salt and you scarcely get any benefits from eating these meats.
Frequently added to candy for its sweet taste, licorice is consumed routinely by many people throughout the world.
However, licorice can have a negative impact on your testosterone levels.
The active constituent found in licorice known as glycyrrhizic acid blocks an enzyme that plays an important step in the conversion of precursors to testosterone.
Thus, it is a testosterone inhibitor.
If you have been diagnosed with testosterone deficiency syndrome, try to address it via natural means first.
Testosterone is an anabolic hormone, and testosterone replacement therapy can have many adverse effects that you might not be prepared to deal with.
If you suffer from an enlarged prostate, be sure to consult your doctor before embarking on a diet designed to raise testosterone levels.
A simple blood test prior to starting can help identify if you possess risk factors
It is possible to get low testosterone levels back into a healthy range with a balanced diet consisting of many T-friendly foods.