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Health / Fitness

The top foods to boost testosterone

Increase your levels of the essential male hormone with these four suggestions to add to your diet

A diverse diet can have a significant impact on your production of testosterone.

The ability to build muscle, burn fat, have energy and vitality are all factors that are affected by one key factor: the male hormone, testosterone.

Testosterone levels start to decline at a steady rate after the age of 30. Worse still, it seems that no matter what your age, men of all ages are experiencing much lower testosterone levels nowadays. 

Factors such as life stressors, lack of exercise, toxins from the environment and excess intake of poor food choices are causing these low levels.

However, the vitamins, minerals and micronutrients you get from following a diverse diet can have a significant impact on your production of testosterone and even your metabolism. 

Here are four testosterone-boosting foods to add to your nutrition plan.

A diverse diet can have a significant impact on your production of testosterone.

Lean red meat

Red meat provides not only a significant source of protein, but also provides vitamins, minerals and the muscle-building amino-compound creatine. 

Creatine is an essential driver of energy levels in muscle – without it, it’s impossible to have enough ATP (adenosine triphosphate) or energy to lift weights or run fast. Additionally, red meat is also a source of saturated fat.  Although, this fat may get a bad rep, it is an important source of cholesterol, which is the base molecule that is needed to build testosterone.

Choose grass-fed, organic meat when possible, which will not only provide a source of saturated fat, but will also be higher in vitamins and nutrients, and free from chemicals and toxins that act like estrogen in the body; too much estrogen can lower testosterone levels and decrease fat metabolism. 

Eat lean red meat, such as tenderloin, once or twice per week.  

Eggs

Whole eggs are a source of cholesterol, which as mentioned above is a precursor to testosterone production.

Whole eggs are also an important source of Vitamin D, which may support testosterone production.

In one study where subjects took either a set amount of Vitamin D or a placebo for a year, those that took the Vitamin D had significantly increased free testosterone levels compared to no change in the group that didn’t.

Whole eggs also provide a rich source of antioxidants that can aid in recovery, and are considered one of the highest quality sources of protein because they provide all of the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth.

One whole egg delivers 187mg of cholesterol and 11% of your daily value of Vitamin D. 

Include eggs in your breakfast, lunch or dinner – there’s never a bad time to eat them.

Salmon

Fresh salmon is loaded in good fats, including omega-3s, and is a rich source of protein. A 100g serving of salmon provides 20g of protein and 4g of polyunsaturated fat. A diet rich in such fats has been associated with increases in free testosterone levels, as well as lower abdominal fat and smaller waistlines in men versus diets that were lower in fat of the same caloric value.

Aim for a diet that provides 30% of its calories from good fats. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help counteract the catabolic effects of cortisol. When cortisol is high, testosterone production is low.

In one study, three weeks of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids blunted cortisol levels caused by the stimulation of stress. Incorporate fresh omega-3 rich fish, including salmon or even tuna, into your meal plan.

Green vegetables

Green vegetables, but more specifically cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and even cauliflower should be included in a testosterone-boosting diet plan. These veggies are loaded with fibre and the natural estrogen-fighting compound di-indole-methane, or DIM. 

This compound binds to excess estrogen and subsequently helps get rid of it from the body by packaging it for removal and preventing absorption in the bloodstream.

DIM also blocks the production of the aromatase enzyme, a catabolic compound that can reduce testosterone to the useless form DHT, or dihydrotestosterone.  You may have heard of this compound already: it is the main culprit of hair loss in men.

Be sure to eat these fibrous veggies at least once per day.  Make a raw cabbage slaw to eat alongside a burger, or add fresh kale to an egg omelet, hearty stew or salad.

The writer is nutritional director of UAE macro-focused meal-prep company Fuel-Up by Kcal

References

  • Delarue J et al. Fish oil prevents the adrenal activation elicited by mental stress in healthy men. Diabetes Metab. 2003. 29(3): 289-95.
  • Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H et al. Effect of Vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Hormone and Metabolic Research. 2011. 43(3):223-5.
  • Travison TG et al. A population decline in serum testosterone levels in American men. 200. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 92(1): 196-202.
  • Volek J, Kraemer W et al. Testosterone and cortisol relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. 1997. J Appl Physiol 82(1): 49-54.
  • Wang C et al. Low-fat high-fibre diet decreased serum and urine androgens in men. J Clin End & Metab. 2005. 90(6): 3550-59.
  • Vermeulen A et al. Testosterone, body composition and aging. J Endocrinol Invest. 1999. 22(Suppl): 110-6. 

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