This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD
Testosterone-boosting foods help the body maintain normal hormone production. Here are our favorite ones, plus foods that contribute to low testosterone levels. Learn more in our discussion here.
There is a troubling new trend occurring today: the decreasing levels of testosterone in males. Low testosterone can impact both men and women, but it has become a significant health issue recently. Some men begin to lose testosterone starting at age 30, and research indicates that up to 40% of men over 45 have low testosterone levels caused by hypogonadism. 
Testosterone is a steroid hormone. It plays a pivotal role in developing male sex organs, deepening the voice, and pubic and facial hair growth during puberty. The hormone also assists in fat distribution, red blood cell production, and increasing muscle mass. Testosterone is also produced by women, albeit in smaller quantities than men. Its functions for women include the following:
- Bone strength
- Energy levels
- Lean muscle mass development
- Libido and sex drive
Some foods can help increase testosterone levels. Foods containing zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and selenium are all believed to support testosterone levels. The top foods for increasing testosterone levels include the following:
Healthy fats help to stimulate the production of testosterone naturally. A study on male volunteers with no known health issues found that a reduction in healthy fat consumption reduced their serum concentrations of androstenedione, testosterone, and free testosterone. 
Top healthy fat foods include the following:
- Coconut Oil
- Goat Cheese
- Fish Oil
Oysters & Zinc
Zinc is an essential nutrient, which means the body can’t produce or store it. As a result, we obtain it through diet. Oysters are high in zinc, containing more of the nutrient than any other food per serving. Zinc deficiency is linked to hypogonadism in men, which leads to the reduction of sex hormones in the body. Studies indicate zinc may help stimulate the production of serum testosterone levels in men. 
Ginger is a spice that has been added to dishes and used as medicine for thousands of years. Studies are ongoing, but research indicates “ginger enhances semen quality and improves the main sperm parameters such as concentration, viability, motility, and morphology.” 
Magnesium Rich Foods
Magnesium plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Also, magnesium deficiency can result in reduced testosterone levels. Magnesium supplements increased free and total testosterone values in sedentary individuals and athletes . Top food sources of magnesium include spinach, dark chocolate, almonds, chia seeds, and oats.
While many foods can help boost testosterone production, some foods can lower body levels as well.
The following popular foods may decrease testosterone:
Foods that tend to contain soy include the following:
- Baked goods (bread, crackers, cookies)
- Canned foods (tuna, meat, broth, soup)
- Low-fat peanut butter
- Infant formula
Soy contains phytoestrogens, a substance found in some edible plants. Phytoestrogens can impede testosterone production because they are structurally and functionally analogous to estrogens. In animal studies, the consumption of phytoestrogens impacted fertility, sexual development, and behavior. 
Commercially grown cow’s milk contains large amounts of progesterone and estrogen. This is due to cows lactating through their entire pregnancy. Studies on men and children indicate the estrogens were absorbed in their bodies, which led to a decrease in testosterone secretion. 
Alcohol consumption can damage the Leydig cells located in the testes. These cells play a role in the production of testosterone and assist in maintaining fertility in adult males.
Consuming foods high in sugar can cause blood sugar to spike, which causes testosterone levels to drop in response. According to the American Diabetes Association, men with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to have low testosterone levels than men who do not have diabetes. 
Many processed foods contain trans-fats. Trans-fats tend to lower health fat, impacting testosterone production. A study on healthy males found trans fatty acids were “associated with lower total testosterone and calculated free testosterone concentrations” and “influenced testicular function.” 
In addition to eating the right foods, you can increase testosterone naturally with a few lifestyle changes:
Intermittent fasting consists of eating during a particular window of time. For example, one form of intermittent fasting is the 16:8 plan, which consists of not eating for 16 hours and only consuming foods during the remaining 8-hour window. In addition to regulating insulin levels and potentially decreasing the risk of having Type 2 diabetes, intermittent fasting can increase testosterone levels and positively influence Leydig cell function. 
The physical exertion of strength training causes the body to increase both testosterone and human growth hormone. A 12-week study on the effects of weightlifting on men between the ages of 23 and 63 found that “strength training can induce growth hormone and testosterone release, regardless of age.” 
Low testosterone levels may contribute to low energy levels, insomnia, and changes in sleep patterns. According to studies, testosterone levels are lower in men when experiencing sleep deprivation. 
Testosterone levels for both men and women are decreasing at alarming levels. Fortunately, the body can increase testosterone levels naturally with a few simple lifestyle changes.
Medical Disclaimer: This article is based upon the opinions of Dr. Daniel Pompa. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Pompa and his associates. This article has been medically reviewed by Dr. Charles Penick, MD for accuracy of the information provided, but Dr. Pompa encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
Today’s Wellness Breakthrough
Stress is at an all-time high in the U.S. and beyond, especially for parents. And when it comes to hormone production, stress is the #1 cause of imbalance. Cortisol, your primary stress hormone, can actually block testosterone, which suppresses libido and crushes energy and motivation.
Not only that, your natural production of testosterone diminishes with age. That’s why natural testosterone support is so critical (especially when you’re stressed).
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