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Best Foods to Increase Testosterone Levels: 10 Foods That Let You Eat Like a Man and Feel Like One Too

Hardy meals like steak and potatoes have a reputation for being manly—but not necessarily healthy.

Although bacon and eggs is the traditional breakfast of a rugged mountaineer or hardworking farmer, more health conscious men usually avoid indulging regularly in such high fat meals.

But, before you swear off the manly diet forever, consider this: some of these traditional masculine foods have lesser known male health benefits. Two of the four foods actually boost testosterone. Testosterone builds muscle, controls sex drive and performance, and is linked to several masculine personality traits.

What are the best foods to increase testosterone levels? This article discusses 10 common foods to include in your diet if you’re looking for a natural testosterone boost.

1. Eggs

Have you been skipping the egg yolks to keep your cholesterol levels down? While avoiding eggs or using only egg whites is a good way to regulate cholesterol intake, it might have undesirable consequences on your testosterone level.

In truth, testosterone production requires cholesterol. Leydig cells in the testicles convert cholesterol into testosterone when prompted by the presence of several hormones. Without sufficient cholesterol, Leydig cells only make small testosterone amounts.[1] Increasing your cholesterol intake by eating more eggs is a simple and inexpensive way to enhance testosterone production.

Of course, too much cholesterol is still a heart disease risk factor, so don’t go overboard. Be especially careful about cholesterol intake if you have a history of heart problems.[2] But, if you’re otherwise in good shape, eggs are a safe, versatile testosterone booster.

2. Olive Oil

Increasing cholesterol alone is not enough to boost testosterone. Add some olive oil to your diet to enhance cholesterol absorption. Research even indicates olive oil specifically helps Leydig cells absorb more cholesterol.[3] Hence, the combination of eggs and olive oil sends cholesterol straight into your body’s main testosterone factory.

To get maximum olive oil benefits, make sure to use extra virgin. The name isn’t manly, but the effects certainly are. Although olive oil is a fat, it actually lowers overall cholesterol. Plus, extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants which have numerous health benefits.[4]

3. Avocado

Like cholesterol, certain fats also contribute to testosterone production. Avocados are a delicious, fat-rich fruit with both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, perfect for increasing testosterone.

The link between these fats and testosterone levels comes from a 1997 Penn State University study. In the study, researchers examined testosterone levels in 12 men who exercised regularly. These scientists discovered “significant correlations” between unsaturated fatty acids and resting testosterone levels. [5] In other words, eating unsaturated fats increases testosterone even without exercise.

Avocado is great on its own, but it’s also enjoyable as the most essential ingredient in guacamole. Avocado also works as a flavorful substitute for mayonnaise in a sandwich.

4. Lean Beef

Many guys consider steak one of the manliest foods, and the science of testosterone boosting supports this opinion. Lean beef has several elements essential for creating testosterone.

Lean beef contains cholesterol and fats, both of which influence testosterone production. But, it’s beef’s protein content which most directly enhances testosterone levels. Protein breaks down into amino acids needed for building muscle. And the more muscle mass you have, the more testosterone your body produces.

Beef also provides several nutrients linked with testosterone production. Iron, magnesium, and zinc in lean beef all encourage testosterone to increase through various biofeedback mechanisms.

5. Broccoli

Broccoli decreases estrogen, making it a major testosterone ally.

Men’s bodies often turn testosterone into estrogen. High estrogen in men is linked to diabetes, depression, and perhaps even prostate cancer.[6] Eating broccoli, however, keeps estrogen to a minimum.

Broccoli reduces estrogen because it contains an organic compound that breaks down into indole-3-carbinol. One study concluded this compound regulates estrogen levels and improves its overall effects.[7]

If you’re not a big broccoli fan, incorporate other cruciferous vegetables into your diet instead. They provide the same estrogen-reducing benefits but give a variety of options. Choose from cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, or collard greens.

6. Beans

Knowing proteins and fats improve testosterone levels, you might be tempted to guess carbohydrates hurt available testosterone. Actually, the opposite is true. Eating too much protein without balancing with carbs decreases circulating testosterone.[8]

Rather than avoiding carbs, use high-fiber beans and legumes to keep a testosterone-boosting diet in balance. Since they’re high in zinc and protein, beans provide many of the same testosterone benefits as red meat, but without nearly the same fat and cholesterol content. For beans with the highest zinc content, stick with lima beans, soybeans, black-eyed peas, and pinto beans.[9]

7. Garlic

As a hormone, testosterone is affected by the presence or absence of other hormones. Arguably no food impacts hormones associated with testosterone more than garlic.

When combined with a high-protein diet, garlic improved testosterone levels in rats.[10] This study also showed a specific chemical in garlic increases secretion of luteinizing hormone. Luteinizing hormone is one of two primary hormones which encourage testosterone production.

Another testosterone benefit of garlic is its ability to lower the stress hormone cortisol. Established research links high cortisol levels with lowering circulating testosterone.[11] Thus, using garlic to inhibit cortisol has an indirect effect on boosting testosterone.

8. Brazil nuts

Even some snack foods are capable of increasing testosterone. Just a small handful of nuts holds enough fat, protein, and zinc to impact your male hormone levels while combatting afternoon food cravings.

For serious testosterone enhancement, reach for several Brazil nuts instead of plain peanuts, cashews, or almonds. Brazil nuts impact testosterone levels more than smaller, more popular nuts thanks to their high selenium content. Research shows the element selenium increases testosterone and improves sperm quality.[12]

In fact, no natural food has higher selenium content than Brazil nuts. A single Brazil nut can have almost 100 micrograms of selenium. For most adults, daily consumption of selenium is best below 400 micrograms. So, be careful not to eat Brazil nuts in excess.[13]

9. Honey

Honey, one of nature’s best sweeteners, also has the ability to sweeten your testosterone levels. Honey’s testosterone-boosting effects come from two major components: boron and nitric oxide.

Recent research indicates upping boron intake in an oil-rich diet has a “remarkable increase” on free testosterone levels.[14] Honey has one of the highest boron contents of any food.[15] And, like most nutrients, boron from a natural source likely absorbs better than a supplemental form.

Similarly, honey’s nitric oxide content enhances testosterone. Specifically, nitric oxide encourages blood flow for better erections.

10. Oysters

Traditional wisdom proclaims oysters one of nature’s best aphrodisiacs. Turns out, oysters contain several minerals known to enhance testosterone levels which naturally boost sexual performance.

For instance, oysters have smaller selenium content than Brazil nuts, but it’s still significant: about 54 micrograms per 3 ounce serving.[16] They’re also rich in zinc. The same 3 ounce serving contains over 200% of the recommended daily value.[16]

Another important testosterone booster in found in oysters is vitamin D. A 2011 study showed adding vitamin D to your diet increases not only total testosterone but all-important bioavailable testosterone.[17] That’s the kind floating in your bloodstream enhancing masculine traits.

Eat a Healthy Diet

This list of the best foods to increase testosterone levels has something to please every male palate. Whether you enjoy red meat or garden-grown greens, adding these foods to your diet is a great way to increase your amount of the manliest hormone.

Plus, this list of testosterone-boosting foods is designed to be versatile. If you get bored with beans, switch to broccoli. If you’d rather avoid avocado, become an olive oil enthusiast.

Just remember, some of these foods are best in limited consumption and won’t entirely replace exercise and other healthy habits. Still, these 10 foods offer flavorful ways to noticeably increase your masculinity.

References

[1] Lukyanenko, YO, JJ Chen, and JC Hutson. “Production of 25-hydroxycholesterol by testicular macrophages and its effects on Leydig cells.” Biology of Reproduction. 64.3 (2001): 790-6.

[2] Behrenbeck, Thomas. “Are chicken eggs good or bad for my cholesterol?” MayoClinic.com. 2012 Jan 12.

[3] Hurtado de Catalfo, GE, MJ de Alaniz, and CA Marra. “Dietary lipids modify redox homeostasis and steroidogenic status in rat testis.” Nutrition. 24.7-8 (2008): 717-26.

[4] May Clinic staff. “Cholesterol: Top 5 foods to lower your numbers.” MayoClinic.com. 2012 Jul 27.

[5] Volek, JS, WJ Kraemer, JA Bush, T Incledon, and M Boetes. “Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise.” Journal of Applied Physiology. 82.1 (1997): 49-54.

[6] PureHealthMD editors. “Testosterone and Estrogen Balance in Men.” HowStuffWorks.com. 2010 Jul 29.

[7] Auborn, Karen J., Saijun Fan, et al. “Indole-3-Carbinol Is a Negative Regulator of Estrogen.” The Journal of Nutrition. 133.7 (2003): 24705-55.

[8] Langfort, JL, R Zarzeczny, K Nazar, and H Kaciuba-Usicilko. “The effect of low-carbohydrate diet on the pattern of hormonal changes during incremental, graded exercise in young men.”International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 11.2 (2001): 248-57.

[9] “Zinc.” University of Maryland Medical Center, 2011.

[10] Oi, Y, M Imafuku, C Shishido, Y Kominato, S Nishimura, and K Iwai. “Garlic supplementation increases testicular testosterone and decreases plasma corticosterone in rats fed a high protein diet.” The Journal of Nutrition. 131.8 (2001): 2150-6.

[11] Bambino, T.H. and Hsueh, A.J. “Direct inhibitory effect of glucocorticoids upon testicular lutenizing
hormone receptor and steroidogenesis in vivo and in vitro.” Endocrinology. 108 (1981): 2142-2148.

[12] Safarinejad, MR, and S Safarinejad. “Efficacy of selenium and/or N-acetyl-cysteine for improving semen parameters in infertile men: a double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized study.” The Journal of Urology. 181.2 (2009): 741-51.

[13] Office of Dietary Supplements. “Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Selenium.” National Institutes of Health. 2012 Oct 12. NIH.gov.

[14] Naghii, MR, Y Ebrahimpour, et al. “Effect of consumption of fatty acids, calcium, vitamin D and boron with regular physical activity on bone mechanical properties and corresponding metabolic hormones in rats.” Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 50.3 (2012): 223-31.

[15] Fox, Kay. “Boron in Food.” GreenFacts.org.

[16] “Mollusks, oyster, eastern, farmed, raw.” Self Nutrition Data. 2012. Self.com.

[17] Pilz, S., S. Frisch, et al. “Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Testosterone Levels in Men.” Hormone and Metabolic Research. 43.3 (2011): 223-5.

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