Low T is a problem faced by all too many men. Stress, an unhealthy diet, exposure to T-sapping toxins – all of these things can contribute to lowered androgens. Many guys are not aware that you can reverse these issues simply by including more foods that boost T.
In this post, we start of with an easy to use graphical reference for T boosting foods. After this section we will continue with a short introduction to T and low T symptoms, along with detailed explanations of the cornerstones of T nutrition such as dietary fats and grass-fed animal products.
If your T-levels are low enough, you may be diagnosed with a medical condition called andropause and be prescribed androgens in the form of gel, patches, or injections.
Prescription T is not something guys should be asking their doctors for when they have a problem, instead you should be asking how to increase your T naturally. Many men suffering from low T go through life feeling less manly than they really should without ever asking how to raise T.
Fear not, healthy T levels can often be restored through diet and lifestyle modification. You won't have to go through life relying on a prescription to provide you your manliness.
An Introduction To T
Many would agree that without T, men would not have most of their defining characteristics that makes them men. So, it should not come as a surprise that T is deemed THE male compound – even though other androgens do exist and T also exists in women. Now, if you wish to maximize the T’s potential, knowing the basics isn’t going to cut it.
A Peek into the History of T
How did the scientific community become aware of this compound's existence? In the 1800s, Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard was experimenting with animal testicles. What he did was injecting the combined extracts of dog and guinea pig testicles into himself (oh the things we do in the name of science...). Whenever he did this, he noticed a temporary boost in both mind and body effects.
Despite how encouraging that might seem, given the fact that the effects were temporary and that the content and his means of taking in the “elixir” was rather questionable, he managed to pique people’s curiosity. In the following years, more and more scientists stumbled upon the masculinity-boosting effect of testicle extracts. But it was not until 1935, however, that they managed to isolate the compound.
The Process of Your Masculinity
Soon enough, scientific experts realized that the abundance of T in the body influences fertility, sex drive, muscle mass, bone density, and even fat distribution. So, if ever your body fails to make enough of this important androgen, it’s essentially guaranteed that you will develop all kinds of problems that could greatly impact your quality of life.
The question now is this – how does your body make sure it has enough T? The process starts by the release of GnRH from the hypothalamus. Once that reaches the pituitary gland, LH gets secreted. This, in turn, travels towards the Leydig cells – a group of specialized interstitial cells in the testicles.
In the presence of LH, the aforesaid cells begin to produce T. That process continues as long as necessary, or at least as long as there’s enough amounts of cholesterol. You’ve read it right. The widely-known male compound is actually built from the very same thing that has been repeatedly falsely accused of causing heart disease.
The Three States of T
Don’t think that all the T you produce gives your masculinity a boost. The androgen gets sorted into three different states – SHBG-bound, albumin-bound, and free (unbound) T. Understanding these are key to harnessing the power of some foods for freeing up more T.
The first one isn’t what most men seek, given that it doesn’t give you any benefits at all. In fact, it’s common for bodybuilders to try and lower the amount of SHBG in their bodies to free up more T.
Free T, on the other hand, is what provides all the perks – the increased libido, the leaner physique, and the improved bone and muscle strength. The third and last kind bound to albumin, is best considered a reserve. While it isn’t capable of immediately giving those benefits, it can be easily unbound and made free whenever necessary.
Symptoms of Low T
- Low sex drive
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weakness and muscle loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Low sperm count leading to difficulty reproducing
- Low motivation
- General reduced quality of and enjoyment for life
Needless to say, no man in his right mind wants to feel like this! Thankfully, there are lots of foods to increase T and including them in your diet are among the best natural ways to boost T. Making sure you provide your testicles with the right building blocks for optimal performance is important.
Foods that are natural T boosters work in one of two ways; they either directly increase T production or they help control estrogen – T's evil twin (well, sort of evil for men).
There are also foods that increase estrogen - like for example soy, flax seed and beer. Hence, we can consider these, foods that lower T.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of low T or simply want to make sure you never do, we created this list of T foods to give you the best guidelines on foods that boost T naturally by providing your body with the building blocks to make that happen.
We recommend keeping track of your T levels by doing regular blood tests:
T Boosting Foods and Dietary Fats
At this point, it should already be clear to you why men love increasing their T production. You’ve also learned that the androgen itself is made from cholesterol. So, by connecting those pieces of information, you’ll arrive at one fascinating possibility – by taking in dietary fats, your T levels should rise.
Does that mean that eating just any fat will give you the changes you desire? Unfortunately, no. There are different kinds of fat, and they don’t have the same effects on the androgen. To better understand what you should be eating, it’s only appropriate that you learn a bit more about the three main types of fat:
Both mono- and polyunsaturated fats obviously fall under this type. These are typically labeled as healthy options, being associated with improved heart health. If you eat lots of nuts and seeds, as well as use plant-sourced oils regularly, it’s safe to say that you’ve been getting enough unsaturated fats.
While all unsaturated fats have the potential to improve your well-being, given that you’re aiming to get more free T in your bloodstream, you should stay away from the polyunsaturated kind. These have been found to reduce the androgen’s availability. The more polyunsaturated fats you consume, the lower your T gets.
On the other hand, increasing your consumption of food containing monounsaturated fatty acids should have the opposite effect. It’s true, however, that good sources of these T-increasing oils are quite expensive – olive oil and macadamia nuts are normally marketed towards connoisseurs, after all.
There are also other oils that could boost T, such as patchouli oil which is an plant oil. However, stay away from essential oil from the mint family, as they are all potent phytoestrogens.
This type of fat is usually derived from animal sources, but there are exceptions. Coconut oil, for example, contains plenty of saturated fatty acids. Saturated fats have for the last few decades been falsely blamed to be implicated in heart disease, but in fact they have made up a major part of a healthy human diet for hundreds of thousands of years without side effects. Saturated fats are also quite beneficial for bodybuilders, having the same effect as monounsaturated fats.
Similar to saturated fats, cholesterol is primarily acquired through animal products. It comes in two sub-types, namely high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL is the one you want to focus on increasing here as it is the healthy type that brings with it many benefits. Best way to boost it is consuming plenty of healthy fats in your diet such as olive oil and avocados.
Excessive Fat Intake
Aside from being mindful of the lipids you’re getting inside your body, you have to make sure that you’re only getting what you need, especially if you are struggling to maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re going to increase your fat intake, you should make the appropriate changes to the ratio of other macronutrients such as carbohydrates – your total caloric intake for each day should stay within acceptable range for your weight and energy demands.
The only time where fat can be consumed freely is if you're following a ketogenic diet that is low carb. In a ketogenic state the body will convert fatty acids into ketones for fuel instead of relying on glucose. A ketogenic diet is great for your overall health and T levels but is very strict, so most people prefer to cycle it and only use when weight loss is needed. Ketones can also be consumed in the form of supplements as a booster.
Remember that each gram of fat gives nine calories, which is much more than equal grams in protein or carbs. Also, if you are consuming large amounts of carbohydrates in your diet, avoid doing it at the same time as fats since large amounts of fats and carbs can be problematic.
If you fail to maintain that, you will get fat. The lipids that get stored in your body fat don’t just get you further away from a lean, impressive physique – it reduces your masculinity as well. Aside from lowering T through leptin’s presence, body fat activates aromatase – an enzyme that specifically seeks T and converts it into estrogen.
Here at Anabolic Health, we prefer low carb, moderate/high protein, high fat diets and if you are going to use carbohydrates, use them only for performance at workouts. This way you are less likely to cause inflammation or struggle with overweight.
If you ever read that carbs are required for T production, that's complete bull, we have done blood testing ourselves for years and carbs has no long term effects on T. The studies you see that shows a decrease are either using the wrong macros or are not allowing the body adapt enough in-between diets. Countless of traditional populations have lived on very low carbohydrate diets without any issues with their T levels.
The Importance of Meat Being Grass-Fed and Organic
It's surprising that despite the incredible taste, beef is one of those kinds of food that is rather polarizing. Some people believe that red meat is bad for health, while the research shows otherwise. Hardcore Paleo advocates even believe that raw meat is the best protein source. Whatever your position is, you'll want to know about the importance of meat being grass-fed and organic since it can have huge implications in your health, and especially when it comes to androgens.
What's the Real Score With Beef?
Beef is healthy if the source was raised healthy. The saying "You are what you eat" also holds true for cows or any animal for that matter. Cows diet plays a significant role in determining the quality of their meat and its impact on your health when consumed.
Grass-Fed vs Grain-Fed Cows
As the name suggests, grass fed cows are those that lived on grass. Grain-fed cows are those that were raised primarily eating grains. Beef from grass-fed cows is typically from free animals, all-natural, organic, and healthier. Beef from grain-fed cows have different nutritional content and could be full of synthetic compounds and other harmful substances.
"Grass-fed" and "organic" do not refer to the same kind of meat, though. Grain fed cows could be a source of legitimately organic meat if the grains are of the organic kind. The best kinds are those that are both grass-fed and organic.
Why You Should Always Choose Grass-Fed Beef
The most compelling reason for choosing organic grass-fed beef is its excellent nutritional profile. It has larger amounts of nutrients than grain-fed beef. It is also free of toxic and synthetic compounds that are bad for you and can affect your health. In other words, the perfect protein source among this list of foods that increase T naturally.
Quality beef is an excellent source of healthy fats. Organic grass-fed beef is even better. Beef contains monounsaturated fats and saturated fats that support various body processes. Monounsaturated and Saturated fats are ideal, and polyunsaturated fats can also be useful if these are from a good source and in controlled amounts. However, there is the possibility of overdoing polyunsaturated fats (such as from vegetable oils) and this can cause chronic inflammation, hence it is better to stick to monounsaturated and saturated fats primarily.
The ratio of these fats is the same in both grass-fed beef and grain-fed beef. Each serving will contain 40-50% of monounsaturated fat (MUFAs), 40-50% saturated fats (SFAs) and around 10% or less of polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs). The difference is in the structural quality of the individual fatty acids between grass-fed and grain-fed.
Omega Fatty Acids
The most familiar types of omega fats are omega-3 and omega-6. Both of these are classified as subtypes of PUFAs. Both are good for your health in that they have anti-inflammatory properties (when in the right ratios) and they can also boost lung health. However, omega-6 (such as vegetable oils and nuts) tends to produce some adverse effects if consumed is considerably higher amounts than omega-3 (primarily in fish and grass-fed meat).
Omega-6 levels are the same in grass fed and grain fed beef, omega-3 levels are not. Remember, the ratio of omega-6 levels need to be lower than omega-3 levels for the fatty acids to have a positive effect on the body.
Grass-fed beef has more omega-3 than grain-fed. Omega-3 fats in grass-fed beef are 2 to 5 times greater than in grain-fed beef. The average ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in grass-fed cows is 1.53:1. In grain-fed beef, ratio jumps to a concerning 7.54:1. We are sure you can now see the value of consuming meat as natural as possible and staying away from factory farmed meat from animals fed grains which is not their natural foods.
As mentioned, saturated fats are not bad for health, it often depends on the subtype. Saturated fatty acids in beef are of three main types. These are myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. The scientific community affirms that stearic acid does not raise cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, palmitic and myristic acid can cause significant increases in cholesterol levels. However, keep in mind that cholesterol is required by your body for healthy function and cholesterols relationship with heart disease has been debunked. There is nothing that proves that consuming these fatty acids and raising your cholesterol would be a bad thing.
If you are still not convinced however, grass-fed beef contains a higher level of stearic acid compared to grain-fed beef. Consequently, it also contains lower concentrations of myristic and palmitic acid.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid
This is a type of PUFA naturally found in meats, meat products and milk from ruminants (e.g., sheep and cows). Conjugated linoleic acid is linked to some important antioxidant activity. Research has found it to also have some protective effects against cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
CLA can be obtained from food and supplements. One of the best food sources of natural CLA is beef. Can you get the same amount and quality in grain fed and grass fed beef?
As has been the case with most of the beneficial nutrients, grass-fed meat has way more CLA than grain-fed beef. In fact, it has 2-3 times the amount, on the average.
CLA production occurs within the ruminants' digestive system. The bacteria in the digestive tract of the cows play an important role. Bacterial activity is influenced by pH. Grain-based diets interrupt the ideal pH in the cows, digestive system. This leads to less bacterial activity and less CLA production. Grass diets support ideal digestive system conditions for more CLA production since grass is the cows natural food that they are engineered to eat.
Essential Nutrients Found in Beef
Aside from the excellent fat profile in grass-fed meat, it also contains plenty of other nutrients in greater amounts as well. Especially higher amounts of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. The following are some important nutrients found in beef:
The body creates this vitamin by converting carotenoids, which are pigments that can be obtained from eating plants. However, if a cow eats plants, they also consume carotenoids from the plant pigments which gives their meat its vitamin A content. Grains do not contain plant pigments such as carotenoids. These pigments are only present in the leaves, stems and flowers.
Carotenoids is responsible for the yellow/orange/red hues in many plants. Think of carrots. It has an orange colour because of the abundant carotenoids present.
In the same way, carotenoids in grass-fed cow’s plant diet turn their fats yellow. The deeper the yellow hue of the beef tallow, the more carotenoids have been eaten. You can easily observe this difference in different cuts of grass-fed vs grain-fed beef at your local supermarket.
Antioxidants in beef can help protect tissues against breakdown, oxidation and damage. This also means that more nutrients within the meat of grass-fed cows are preserved.
This protective action is best appreciated by the weak omega fatty acid. It will make the essential fatty acids more available and useful for your body when you eat beef from grass-fed cattle.
Moreover, protection from antioxidants even extends to cooking. Exposure to heat breaks down the tissues and destroys nutrients. Antioxidants can help conserve more nutrients.
This is especially beneficial when you grill meat. High-temperature cooking destroys more nutrients than low-heat or wet cooking methods such as braised or stewed meat.
Antioxidants in beef include vitamin A and E, SOD (superoxide dismutase), catalase and glutathione.
Enjoy tasty meals while loading up on essential trace minerals. Red meat contains good amounts of potassium, sodium, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
Of course, beef is an excellent source of proteins. It is of high quality, especially from grass-fed cows.
Lesser Known Nutrients
Aside from proteins, grass-fed beef also contains significant amounts of carnosine and creatine. These are essential nutrients that produce many health benefits. Creatine for instance is a potent booster of the male androgen DHT, which is responsible for the mental and libido increasing effects of T.
Bone and heart health improve in the presence of vitamin K. It promotes more calcium to enter the bones instead of staying in the arteries. Too much calcium in the arteries can lead to various situations that can result in serious conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart attacks. Together with CoQ10, Vitamin K is one of the most important nutrients for cardiovascular health.
Antibiotics, Toxins, Xenoestrogens and More
Another compelling reason for choosing grass-fed beef is the absence of harmful compounds and additives such as xenoestrogens.
Some grain-fed cows get fat faster than grass-fed cows because they are being treated with artificial growth stimulants. These compounds promote bulkier meat and weight gain within a short period of time. Think of a cow on steroids.
These artificial substances given to cows stay within the meat, and get stored especially in the fat of the meat. When you eat non organic beef, these synthetic substances and growth promoters are absorbed by your body and get deposited in your tissues, which can be very bad for you and especially your androgen balance.
It's true that grass-fed is usually more expensive than grain-fed beef, but only by a few dollars. The amount you save by buying cheaper grain fed beef could end up costing you your health.
Besides, top quality grass fed beef like wagyu beef tastes excellent. Think about it. It's high time to switch to grass fed beef on your next trip to the grocery store, it's a no-brainer!
Don't Forget the Plant Kingdom
Keep in mind that while dietary fats and meat have a significant impact on your T levels, the other things you eat could have an effect as well. So, once you’re ready, carry on with our T boosting foods list which also features an assortment of other androgen-boosting food items, ranging from common garden greens, rare plant oils such as CBD from hemp, to exotic sea vegetables.
50 FOODS THAT BOOST T
MEATS & PROTEIN
Vitamin D is an important part of T production. One of the best ways to get enough of this essential vitamin is through regular exposure to the sun. But, if you live somewhere like London where the sun seldom shines, or your work schedule keeps you mostly indoors, this may not be possible for you.
You can get lots of vitamin D from oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and tuna. Eat a few portions of oily fish per week to increase T levels naturally.
Fish oil has also been shown to lower SHBG and increase LH output which, in simple terms, means that the additional T produced has better access to the receptor cells and can perform its magic more effectively.
Eggs contain several T-boosting ingredients including vitamin D and protein but the most notable is cholesterol. Often unfairly given a “bum rap” in the media, the cholesterol in eggs acts as a precursor for T making eggs one of the best T boosting foods around.
Eggs are widely considered among the top choices on how to naturally boost T and looking at the research we could not agree more!
Beef is a rich source of protein and healthy fatty acids, meaning it’s about as good as it gets meat wise. However, you can’t just eat any beef.
It has to come from organically-raised cows. Conventionally-raised cattle are injected with artificial growth stimulants.
These artificial compounds can mess up your natural balance. They tend to increase estrogen which brings down T levels.
Grass-fed organic beef are not exposed to insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides, which all can lower T levels.
You may have grass-fed beef jerky as a handy, filling, healthy snack to keep giving your androgens all the building blocks they need while on the run.
This T-boosting food comes from the gelatinous portions of the joints and connective tissues. It’s typically obtained from the knuckles and large joints of livestock.
Gelatin is a dense source of connective tissue proteins, containing about 27% glycine and about 15% proline (two amino acids that are vital to the body). These help balance neurotransmitters, which in turn leads to improved quality of sleep.
Getting enough sleep will help restore the normal rhythm of the body. This can lead to enhanced androgen signaling which can help promote significant increases in T production.
The nutrients in gelatin may also help in lowering inflammation, which reduces cell responsiveness towards T and other androgens. Inflammatory responses may also interrupt vital signaling systems and directly lead to lowered T levels.
Nowadays gelatin is also popular to consume in the form of collagen supplements, which is basically a refined and more water soluble version that still contains the same amino acids.
Want more excuses to eat bacon? Here’s one – It can help you get more T.
Organic bacon is high in excellent-quality animal protein and saturated fats that can further help stimulate androgen production. It is also a rich source of cholesterol, which is the building block of T.
It’s important to verify though, that the bacon you’re getting was prepared organically. Otherwise, you might be introducing estrogen-laced meat into your body.
Conventionally-raised hogs are treated with loads of synthetic estrogen and synthetic growth promoters to make them bigger and fatter in a shorter period.
The estrogen is lodged within the fat of the pig. So, when you end up eating those parts, those compounds are released into your body and can wreak havoc on your health.
Organ meats such as liver are rich in vitamin A. This vitamin can also help in boosting your T levels naturally.
Liver is one of the best animal foods for building strength and vitality, since it is dense in about every nutrient your body could ever need.
Before you start adding liver to your diet though, be sure that you’re getting yours from organically-raised sources. Otherwise, you might be eating a toxin-loaded meal.
Like your liver, animal liver also processes toxins and detoxifies the animal’s body. If the animal was exposed to toxins, most of these will find their way into its liver.
If you eat the liver from an unhealthy animal, you might also be consuming these toxins. This will not be good for your T levels, or your overall health for that matter.
Also, you might want to stick to poultry or beef liver, as pork liver is often a common site of parasitic infection – roundworm, nodular worm, and whipworm are just some examples. If you cook your pork liver well though, it kills all of the parasites.
FATS & OILS
Extra virgin olive oil is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet and men who live in the Mediterranean region are well known for fathering children long after the rest of us have all but given up on sex! One possible reason for their long-lasting virility is olive oil. Add a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil to your meals to increase natural T production.
Coconut oil is a very healthy fat. Packed with medium-chain triglycerides which are a type of fat your body likes to use for energy, coconut oil is also a great booster of T levels. Choose extra virgin coconut oil for best results. If you don’t like the taste of coconut, there is no need to worry – there are taste-free varieties available.
We consider using oils from coconut and olives to be among the best natural ways to increase T. For frying food, coconut oil and butter is superior to all other oils because of their high smoke point and resistance to high temperatures. We like to fry with coconut oil and use butter/olive oil with foods because of their good taste.
This oil is obtained from the kernels of the argan tree, and is widely used in the Mediterranean diet.
One study demonstrated the effect of olive oil and virgin argan oil, and it was found that both oils can increase T levels. Olive oil produced a 17% increase, while argan oil yielded an increase of about 20%.
While that’s certainly encouraging, you might want to keep in mind that further studies are still necessary to prove argan oil’s T-increasing effect – yes, there’s only one study on it so far.
Nonetheless, argan oil is rich in antioxidants and act as an effective anti-inflammatory agent. It also contains a good ratio of essential fatty acids that support T production.
Your grandfather probably had higher T levels than you do! Our grandparents diets were typically higher in fat and especially in natural butter, than what we eat today. Butter contains zinc, saturated fat and several other compounds linked to increasing T production. Toss the bad margarine and enjoy butter instead.
Yogurt & Kefir
Gut-friendly bacteria, as seen in one 2014 study, raise LH and T levels. One particular strain, Lactobacillus reuteri, also promote increased weight and size of the testicles, along with inhibition of age-related shrinkage.
Another study found that Clostridium scindens could directly act on cortisol. This probiotic can alter the stress markers in the gut and in turn give you more androgens such as T.
One way to get these probiotics is by eating fermented foods. Excellent sources include yogurt and kefir. Yogurt, specifically, has both C. scindens and L. reuterii, along with many other healthy strains.
Kefir is a traditional fermented drink originating from the north Caucasus Mountains. This refreshing tart drink is similar to yogurt, and is a rich source of vitamin K2 and zinc (both nutrients that help raise levels of T).
Here’s an important reminder regarding these probiotics – keep them in your fridge if you want to ensure the microbe’s quality.
Blue cheese is filled with beneficial microbes, including both bifido bacteria and lactic acid bacteria. It also contains live enzymes and other compounds that can help improve T production.
While these characteristics are common among blue cheeses, you have to remember that there could be differences across varieties – especially in the combinations of cultures (microbes, including bacteria and fungi) used.
Nonetheless, all probiotics can help in protecting the body from the damaging effects of certain toxins. This includes detoxifying and protecting the cells from perchlorate, organophosphorus pesticides, heavy metals, and bisphenol A.
All these toxins are known to have a lowering effect on T. Some of these also have pro-estrogenic effects, which lead to higher estrogen that, in turn, can inhibit T production.
Aside from this, blue cheese is also rich in saturated fats that support higher T levels and there are also plenty T-boosting fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin K2.
Packed with healthy fats, folic acid, potassium and vitamin B6, avocados contain lots of nutrients essential for foods that increase T naturally.
Mash a ripe avocado with a little lemon juice and some cayenne pepper for a tasty T boosting dip.
Refreshing pomegranate has been shown to improve erectile function, improve blood flow, and boost T. It’s also packed with anti-oxidants which make this awesome fruit even better for your health.
Either eat the fruit or drink pomegranate juice, but it’s better to make your own as harsh processing may reduce the benefits of this excellent alternative to your morning orange juice.
Grapes contain a substance called Resveratrol which is an anti-oxidant which may also increase T production. Studies on grape extract have mainly been performed on rats but anecdotal evidence strongly supports that Resveratrol will also work on humans. Japanese Knotweed also contains high amounts of Resveratrol and can be a cheaper source then grapes, we have an article about Japanese Knotweed here. Clearly, if you want to consume some alcohol, red wine is the ideal choice for men because of the grape content.
For starters, raisins are full of antioxidants (including resveratrol, since they are basically dried grapes), which are linked to reduced estrogen levels and increased T. Raisins also have anti-inflammatory effects.
Aside from that, raisins are rich in boron – a not so commonly known mineral that supports T levels by lowering SHBG. Studies conducted on boron found that this mineral significantly help in achieving higher T levels.
Berries have already been established as among the most nutritious fruits and also healthier because of their lower sugar content. The darker-colored ones contain the highest concentration of antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamins.
Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, so in a way, they help the cells become more responsive towards T. Aside from that, antioxidants improve blood flow to the testes (which also benefit your erections).
Dark berries contain calcium-D-glucarate, which is a special kind of fiber. It has shown potential in getting rid of excess estrogen in the body. A sure sign of an imbalance in estrogen levels is a lack of morning erections (morning wood).
What’s so good about berries is that adding them to all sorts of dishes (particularly desserts) isn’t difficult at all. They’re also widely available and come in all shapes and sizes.
That’s right, you really don’t have to go for expensive acai berries since blackberries and cherries still do the trick. Besides, you could grow your own if you’re strapped for cash.
Bromelain is found in significant amounts in pineapples, and before you say that bananas also have this compound, know that the amount isn’t even comparable.
Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme. It is found in higher concentrations in the stem of the pineapple, though eating the fruit itself (or drinking its juice) should still give you a good supply of bromelain.
Bromelain acts in several ways to support higher T levels. One is by maintaining high T levels even during damaging strenuous activities or endurance training (as was demonstrated in this study).
Celery contains two very powerful plant sterols called androstenone and androstenol. Research suggests that even the smell of celery will accelerate T production significantly.
Celery also contains a flavonoid called luteolin, a recognized anti-estrogen, and a flavonoid called apigenin that has been shown to boost T naturally. Best eaten raw, why not enjoy a few sticks of celery with some blue cheese and a few Brazil nuts for a total T-boosting bedtime snack?
Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower can all help naturally increase your T levels by lowering estrogen levels.
When estrogen levels rise, T levels decrease and the opposite is also true. Eating cruciferous vegetables can help prevent the buildup of estrogen in your body by improving estrogen metabolism.
This popular leafy green contains compounds that act as natural steroids in the body. These are called phytoecdysteroids.
The two most notable from this group found in spinach are dehydroepiandrosterone and ecdysterone. Of all the natural steroids found in plants, ecdysterone is believed to be the most effective.
In a study involving human cell cultures, ecdysterone led to a 20% increase in cellular protein synthesis. The rate of protein degradation was also lowered. These effects would be highly beneficial for muscle growth and repair.
Aside from these plant steroids, spinach is rich in natural nitrates. They help increase nitric oxide levels, which in turn improves blood flow by relaxing the blood vessels.
Spinach is also abundant in many micronutrients needed for T production.
Fava beans are more commonly known for their ability to raise neurotransmitter levels and growth promoters in the body. Higher levels of these compounds can help raise T as well as increase muscle growth.
The main compound that makes this possible is L-Dopa. Fava beans contain high levels of this substance.
L-dopa has been proven in scientific studies to act as a direct neurotransmitter precursor and increase the production of growth promoters.
By eating fava beans, you support your muscle growth. At the same time, these growth compounds activate the testes, serving as a stimulant for the Leydig cells to produce more T. Combine with other natural neurotransmitter agonists for best effects.
Onions are loaded with antioxidants and phytochemicals. Some of these (such as quercetin and apigenin) may help boost T levels.
Studies on onion has so far only involved rodents, but the androgenic effects seen are quite promising. One particular study showed a 300% average increase in T levels – and that’s from consuming onion juice.
How does something as simple and cheap as an onion provide such remarkable outcomes? Well, nobody knows for sure yet.
We’d argue though, that it’s primarily due to the bulb’s potassium content (which is typically at approximately 150mg per 100g). The mineral regulates T concentrations and facilitates other androgenic processes.
Kelp & Seaweeds
One study conducted in California by the University of Berkeley found that sea kelp affects the body’s androgen and estrogen balance. This study found that, with increased kelp consumption, cells tend to produce less estrogen.
This allows T production to proceed at a normal rate, resulting in higher T levels.
Seaweeds and kelp are also natural sources rich in iodine. This mineral plays a vital role in the production of thyroid compounds (T3 and T4).
When T3 and T4 are produced and are functioning at optimal rates, T production improves. Thyroid compounds play an important regulatory role in androgen production, including that of T.
Kimchi & Sauerkraut
Kimchi and sauerkraut are traditional fermented vegetables, and are commonly enjoyed in various parts of the world.
Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine. It is made by fermenting cabbage in brine together with lots of scallions, pepper, and garlic.
The probiotics in kimchi helps improve gut health which eventually aids in androgen regulation. Kimchi also contains a good amount of vitamin K2, another T-supporting vitamin.
Sauerkraut is another fermented vegetable that can help boost T. It is traditionally made by pickling cabbage in salt for 4 to 6 weeks.
Fermentation happens through the lactic acid secreted by probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus.
Sauerkraut is rich in vitamin K2, which is believed to be effective in raising T levels. A gram of this vitamin may produce significant increases in T concentration.
Selenium is a powerful natural T booster and fertility aid – one of the richest sources being Brazil nuts. Studies show that the regular consumption of selenium increases serum T levels and may be a viable treatment for infertility. Read more about it here in our Brazil nuts article.
Don’t just assume that dietary fats (and by extension, the nuts from which they’re sourced) can effectively boost T levels.
What you need are saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. According to research, these two are linked to increased T production.
On the other hand, you would not want to get too much PUFAs from your diet. These polyunsaturated fatty acids may lower your T levels instead.
Most nuts are high in PUFAs. Macadamias isn’t.
A 100-gram serving of macadamia nuts contains about 75 grams of dietary fats. Of these dietary fats, 60 grams are MUFAs, 13 grams are SFAs, and fewer than 2 grams are PUFAs.
Almonds, either eaten raw or as almond butter, are a tasty way to boost T naturally.
High in the essential mineral magnesium, a well-established T booster. Eating an ounce or two of almonds a day will not only help elevate T-levels but can also help you sleep better – another important factor in T production.
Most grains have a negative impact on T levels. Likewise, they typically contain gluten, which can trigger a few problems such as gut irritation and glucose metabolism issues.
If you have healthy glucose tolerance levels and you want to enjoy grains and experience the least negative effects, try sorghum. This androgenic grain is also gluten-free, by the way.
One study demonstrated the effect of sorghum on androgens. There was a 54% increase in 5-alpha reductase in the presence of sorghum extract.
This increase results in the accelerated conversion of T into DHT, which is a more potent male compound that can boost libido.
Wild oats are another rich source of saponins, which are known for helping boost the amounts of both T and LH in the body. Oats are a very popular food in bodybuilding circles and since it is a cheap carbohydrate staple among foods that increase T.
You can get the most saponins if you eat organic wild oats. Don’t wash them though, since the compounds are typically found on the cover of the grains.
Also available as an extract, called “Avena sativa”, is a good T booster. This is derived from the straws of wild oats.
This extract has been scientifically proven to raise T because of its exceptional saponin content (in the form of avenacosides).
Just like kimchi, kombucha is another rich source of probiotics and is made through fermentation. This drink is rich in beneficial enzymes, amino acids, and B vitamins.
Drinking kombucha comes with many perks, such as improving digestion, detoxifying the body, and boosting energy. It improves overall health and restores the body’s natural state of balance, ultimately leading to higher T levels.
Probiotics are also known to have an inhibitory effect on cortisol, which tends to increase in times of stress. If you have more cortisol, other steroids, particularly T, will suffer.
T production slows down in the presence of cortisol. So, by controlling the release of this cortisol, probiotics help T levels return to normal.
Coffee does more than just wake you up in the morning, studies reveal that a couple of cups of coffee a day can naturally boost T.
While too much coffee will raise cortisol, a catabolic compound that can inhibit muscle growth, 200-400 mg of caffeine per day, about one to two cups of strong coffee, shows promise for increasing T levels.
SPICES & OTHERS
One special compound in parsley, called apigenin, helps raise the amount of free T available in the blood. It stimulates the rise in a binding protein called StAR.
This steroidogenic acute regulatory protein allows more cholesterol to enter the Leydig cells within the testicles. When this happens, more free T will be produced.
The Leydig cells convert cholesterol into free T, which is the form that is active and can be absorbed by cells.
White Button Mushrooms
These mushrooms are more than just pizza toppings. White button mushrooms are mostly water but are also loaded with polysaccharides.
Studies conducted on white button mushrooms found that this simple pizza topping has potent anti-estrogenic effects.
The active compounds exhibit a natural capability in blocking aromatase enzyme, which is the enzyme responsible for converting T to estrogen. In other words, mushrooms help keep free T from being converted into estrogen.
Here’s something to keep in mind though – concentrated extracts were used in the study. While the active compounds could also be gained from freshly-cooked mushroom, you would have to consume them regularly and in large amounts.
Other kinds of mushrooms also exhibit this effect to different degrees. Still, white button mushrooms, as far as studies have demonstrated, have the strongest aromatase inhibiting activity. Mushrooms are very powerful T boosting foods that we recommend all guys consume multiple times a week.
Dark chocolate is also packed with antioxidants which help reduce free radical damage which may lower T levels.
With additional T boosting ingredients such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, tryptophan, arginine, and catechins, it’s no wonder that chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac. Read more about foods that increase nitric oxide here.
It’s not very often you come across a food that increases T levels almost instantly but garlic seems to be able to do exactly that. Japanese studies revealed that lab rats fed with a mixture containing garlic powder experienced a huge increase in serum T levels.
Increases were also recorded in sperm volume, quality, and mobility – sure indicators of increased T and fertility. Needless to say, chowing down a clove of garlic before a big date is not recommended so maybe consider using odor-free garlic oil capsules instead. Cooking garlic also removes a lot of it's smell properties that can affect your breath.
Curcumin is a proven T-boosting substance found in turmeric – a common ingredient in Asian cooking. Also available in supplement form, or you can simply add plenty of turmeric to your meals to enjoy the T boosting effect of Curcumin. Find out more in our turmeric and T article..
Ginger and, more recently, ginger extract, is often associated with an increase in libido which, in studies, was accompanied by an increase in sperm count and mobility as well as T levels in infertile men. If it worked for them, it could very well work for you! Add ginger to your meals or use a ginger supplement to experience the many benefits for yourself.
A study made in Egypt determined the effect of daily consumption of cinnamon, together with ginger. Results showed that daily consumption may help in increasing testicular weight, and enhanced amount and quality of semen production. Also when erectile dysfunction is caused me a lack of blood flow, cinnamon can be a great potential remedy.
There was also a decrease in blood sugar levels and improved glucose tolerance levels in general. The daily intake resulted in significantly raised levels of T.
The same T-boosting effect was seen in one study conducted in Iran, which showed that cinnamon helps raise other important compounds, namely, LH and FSH. These substances play important roles in stimulating T production.
One study found a correlation between eating hot chili peppers to higher risk-taking behavior. So, men tend to become more aggressive, sexually active, and dominant after eating this member of the nightshade family.
In France, at the University of Grenoble, scientists found that men with higher T levels had more inclination towards spicier foods. In a group, those with the highest T are usually the ones who ate spicier foods, and they also exhibit more alpha male qualities.
Real Salt is different from refined table salt. Unaltered, clumpy natural salt has more than 60 different trace minerals.
These minerals support the Leydig cells which aid in the process of T production, as well as in the development of healthier and more robust sperm cells.
On the other hand, refined table salt is stripped off most of the minerals. It only contains sodium and chloride, along with added unhealthy anti-caking agents.
Still, you have to make sure that your preferred rock, sea or himalayan pink salt doesn’t come with caking agents (which, as mentioned, aren’t good for your health).
There are many different kinds of basil and some are more beneficial than others. In India, there is a kind of basil known as tulsi. It is traditionally used as an aphrodisiac.
The compound apigenin is the most notable in basil in terms of its positive effect on T levels. This is a flavonoid and is found in great amounts in most kinds of basil.
Apigenin has been widely studied. Results showed that this flavonoid is effective in increasing levels of T significantly. Apigenin is also present in parsley.
Basil has been studied for its effect on T levels and spermatogenesis. Basil leaves fed to rabbits resulted in an overwhelming increase of up to 1,500 ng/dl of serum T. Follow up studies in humans would have to be conducted to verify this effect and to what degree it affects us.
As it is, basil is surely one herb worth adding to your daily diet. It has so many other benefits as well, aside from T-boosting effects. Examples of benefits include antibacterial properties and cancer-protective effects.
Quinoa is a carbohydrate-rich food that’s good for health. The best time to eat quinoa is before going to bed and after workouts, since this will prevent blood glucose spikes that can lower T levels.
Like spinach, quinoa is also rich in ecdysteroids. In a 50-gram serving of quinoa, you may get as much as 18 mg of ecdysterone.
Saponins are also abundant in quinoa. These are plant steroid compounds that can help raise T by acting on LH.
Minerals and various vitamins are also present, which means that quinoa is a good alternative to grains, especially for those who want to have gluten-free meals.
Maybe not the most obvious T boosting food on this list, but baking soda has a long list of uses, everything from baking to general cleaning. Included in that list is also boosting health and improving physical performance.
It’s an excellent ergogenic aid, able to provide improvements in performance during exercises such as bench press and squats. It also improves the adaptation of cells towards HIIT (high intensity interval training).
Likewise, baking soda may help in optimizing the effects of creatinine supplements, supporting higher DHT levels.
Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) may act as a molecular switch, influencing and raising cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate). Higher cAMP levels usually result in increased T production.
cAMP promotes this effect by activating protein kinase A. This enzyme serves as a secondary messenger between androgens and their target cells.
Royal jelly is fed to the larvae meant to grow up into potential queen bees. These larvae grow 60 times larger than other bees in the same hive, and reach lengths that are at least 40 times longer.
This jelly is secreted by worker bees through their hypopharynx glands, and is a rich source of acetylcholine, which serves two major biological functions.
For one, it acts as a neurotransmitter that improves communication between androgens and cells. It also functions as a methylator, aiding the liver in chelating estrogen.
Royal jelly also contains traces of T. This is actual T, not just mimetics.
In a 2007 clinical study, it was found that a small amount could already create a significant rise in T levels. A 25mg serving mixed in honey can boost T levels by about 20% in infertile men.
Building your diet around foods to boost T and lower estrogen will not only affect how you feel but how you look too. Men with higher T tend to be leaner and more muscular than men with low T.
If diet modification is not easy for you, there are also the alternative of taking natural T boosting supplements. If you want to live life to the full and look your best, consuming more foods that increase T naturally is a must!