Testosterone is a vital hormone, primarily associated with the development of male sexual characteristics. Testosterone builds muscle and strengthens bone as well as contributing to hair growth, mood and cognitive function. This means that you want to keep your testosterone at a healthy level.
There is a natural drop in testosterone levels as you age, but this does not generally cause any serious harm. Some chronic health conditions can also cause testosterone levels to fall. If you have a particularly severe case of low testosterone, known as hypogonadism, it can be treated medically.
You can also help maintain healthy levels of testosterone by choosing a diet rich in testosterone boosting nutrients, such as zinc, magnesium and vitamin D. Extreme diets, whether under or overeating, can be damaging to your health regardless of testosterone levels. Try to balance protein, carbohydrates and fats to maximise success.
Here then is our list of the top 10 foods to help naturally boost testosterone levels.
Tuna, whether fresh or canned, is a good source of vitamin D as well as containing lots of protein and few calories. Other good fish include salmon and sardines. The highest proportion of zinc is found in oysters, whilst it can also be found in crab and other shellfish.
Eating too much red meat can cause problems due to the high fat content and has even been associated with an increased risk in some kinds of cancers. Eaten in moderation, however, beef contains vitamin D (in liver) as well as zinc (particularly found in minced beef). Venison provides a good balance between the high fat of beef and lamb and the risk of lowered testosterone in a completely meat-free diet.
Pomegranates, as well as reducing stress and improving heart health, can increase testosterone levels according to some studies. Bananas can boost testosterone as well as improving energy levels. Other useful fruits include watermelon and grapes. Citrus fruits can help testosterone production as well as reducing the hormones that make testosterone less effective.
Leafy greens such as chard, spinach and kale are high in magnesium, which is another nutrient associated with higher testosterone levels. Cabbage also reduces oestrogen and improves the efficiency of testosterone. Other testosterone boosting vegetables include asparagus and garlic.
Eggs are rich in vitamin D, with the yolks being richer in nutrients than the whites. You may, however, need to be careful with your egg intake if you have high cholesterol.
In addition to naturally occurring calcium and protein, milk can be fortified with vitamin D. Skimmed and semi-skimmed are probably healthier than full-fat milk. Plant milks such as almond milk (almonds are high in zinc in their own right) or soy milk can contain as much as 25% of your recommended vitamin D intake in one serving.
Vitamin D is just one of the nutrients that can be used to fortify cereals. Porridge oats, in particular, contain nutrients such as zinc and other sexual performance enhancers.
Amongst many health benefits, honey contains boron. This is a mineral linked to higher testosterone levels. The nitric oxide in honey can also improve erections.
Ginger has been utilised for medical purposes for centuries and recent scientific research suggests our ancestors may not have been wrong. Ginger can improve the health of your sperm and increase levels of testosterone.
Baked beans can give you both vitamin D and zinc, but these nutrients are also present in kidney beans, white beans and black beans. They’re also healthy in other ways, including being good for the heart.