In fact, studies (1) show testosterone levels decrease with age at a rate of 0.4 – 2% annually after 30.
Fortunately, you don’t have to live with low testosterone and its side effects.
Testosterone boosting foods, supplements, and healthy lifestyle changes help get your levels back to normal.
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What Are the Symptoms of Low Testosterone?
If you have low testosterone levels, you might experience the following signs and symptoms associated with this common condition in men over 40:
- Loss of muscular strength
- Decreases in muscle mass
- Increases in body fat
- Low sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- Chronic fatigue
- Moodiness or irritability
- A decreased sense of well-being
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased rates of hair loss
Low testosterone can make losing weight difficult too. Choosing testosterone boosting foods and supplements means a lower risk of low T in men.
If your levels are still lower than you’d like after trying healthy dietary changes, ask your doctor about medical treatments for hormonal imbalance.
Testosterone Boosting Foods
Use the list of nutritious foods below to increase testosterone levels in your body naturally – and maintain optimal health along the way.
Eating onions appears to enhance testosterone production in males, based on research studies examining its effects on animals and humans.
One review published in 2019 in Biomolecules found that while research is ongoing, onion consumption in rats and men neutralizes damaging effects of free radicals, improves insulin resistance, increases luteinizing hormone (LH), and promotes nitric oxide and testosterone production.
Onions also contain cancer-fighting compounds and my boost bone, heart, and digestive health in men.
They are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
So the next time you’re cooking or making a salad, consider adding onions to the menu.
Fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables and include onions in the mix when you can.
#2 Fatty Fish
Fatty fish, such as tuna, anchovies, and salmon, are beneficial for men for numerous reasons – one of them being increases in testosterone levels.
Rodent studies found that long term consumption of fish oil from fatty fish significantly boosts testosterone in the testes and blood of mice.
Furthermore, fish is an excellent source of vitamin D, which studies show is associated with higher testosterone levels in men.
Fatty fish is beneficial for heart health, brain health, reduced inflammation, and numerous other health and wellness benefits.
The American Heart Association recommends you eat at least two servings of fish weekly to achieve optimal health.
Because fish is loaded with protein, it helps your body maintain or build muscle mass, keeps your metabolism high, and aids in healthy weight management.
#3 Dark Green Vegetables
Dark green veggies, such as broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale, and other leafy greens, appear to protect you from experiencing low testosterone.
A 2018 study published in the journal Nutrients found that men who eat dark green vegetables are less likely to suffer from low testosterone than men who don't consume green veggies.
The same study showed that men who eat homemade meals vs. dining are were less likely to develop low T.
Aim for at least 3 cups of vegetables daily and fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables, including dark green veggies, every day to maintain optimal health.
#4 Oysters and Other Shellfish
Oysters and other types of shellfish are loaded with protein, iron, zinc, and numerous other essential micronutrients.
In fact, oysters are one of the best sources of dietary zinc you'll find, containing nearly 500% of your percent daily value.
Other good zinc food sources include crab, lobster, grass-fed lean meat, and zinc-fortified breakfast cereals.
Studies show that zinc is crucial for maximizing male fertility, and a deficiency in this essential mineral can lead to low testosterone levels.
To help ensure you’re getting enough zinc in your diet, add oysters or other shellfish to your weekly meal plan or take a multivitamin supplement containing zinc.
#5 Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Virgin Argan Oil
Choosing plant-based oils offers numerous benefits for your heart and overall health – and appears to give testosterone a boost naturally.
A study published in 2013 in Natural Product Communications found that testosterone levels significantly increased (nearly 20% and 17% for virgin argan oil and extra virgin olive oil, respectively), after ingesting these oils instead of butter.
Use plant-based oils for cooking whenever possible.
Consume about 7 teaspoons of oils (or other nutritious fats) daily when following a 2,500-calorie meal plan, and 5 teaspoons per day when eating 1,600 calories for weight loss, suggest the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
#6 Caffeinated Coffee or Tea
Believe it or not, drinking caffeinated coffee or tea is associated with increases in testosterone levels in men too!
A 2017 review published in Nutrition Journal found that men with high caffeine intakes had 14% higher concentrations of testosterone compared to men with low caffeine intakes.
Another study published in 2012 in Nutrition Journal in found similar results – that men who drank five 6-ounce cups of caffeinated coffee (spaced out evenly throughout the day) for four weeks showed increases in total testosterone levels and decreases in estrogen.
#7 Foods to Avoid
Avoiding certain foods is just as important as eating testosterone-boosting foods to reduce your risk of low T.
A 2019 study published in Nutrition Journal shows distinct dietary patterns associated with reduced testosterone levels in men.
Based on the results of this study, limit or avoid the following foods associated with low T:
- Deep-fried foods
- Processed foods
- Foods loaded with preservatives
- Organ meats
- Fried rice or flour products
- Instant noodles
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
Steer clear of sodas, sweet tea, sweetened lemonade, sweetened coffee drinks, and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
Additional studies found that drinking alcohol is associated with decreases in testosterone, so avoid or limit alcohol as much as possible to enhance your body's natural testosterone boosting ability.
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Testosterone Boosting Supplements
Consider taking the following testosterone boosting supplements to enhance the effects of testosterone boosting foods and further reduce your risk of low T.
#1 Vitamin D Supplements
Studies show that higher vitamin D intakes are associated with significantly higher levels of testosterone in men.
However, the Vitamin D Council suggests that up to 70% of Americans aren’t meeting daily vitamin D recommendations.
Vitamin D rich foods include fish, fish oil, egg yolks, dairy foods, vitamin D-fortified orange juice, and vitamin D-fortified breakfast cereals.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D in men is 15-20 micrograms daily.
If you’re vitamin D deficient (ask your doctor to test vitamin D in your blood), you might require a higher vitamin D dosage to bring your levels back up to a normal, healthy range.
#2 Fish Oil and CLA Supplements
Supplements containing fatty acids, such as fish oil and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplements, are also beneficial for testosterone production in men.
Fish oil derived from fatty fish contains Omega 3's docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
CLA is a fatty acid commonly found in grass-fed beef and dairy foods.
Like fatty fish, studies show that fish oil supplements give your testosterone a boost naturally.
If you’re not eating at least two servings of fatty fish weekly or you want to ensure you’re meeting daily omega-3 fatty acid requirements, consider taking fish oil supplements in doses of at least 500 milligrams of DHA plus EPA daily.
That's the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) recommendation.
Studies also show that CLA supplements, when taking in doses of 6 grams daily, promote testosterone production and increase total testosterone levels in men.
CLA supplements are also linked with weight and fat loss, which in itself is associated with a boost in testosterone if you're overweight or obese.
#3 Onion Extract
If you don’t like onions but want to reap their beneficial effects on testosterone levels, consider giving onion extract supplements a try.
The 2019 review in Biomolecules found that consuming 30 milligrams daily of onion extract increases testosterone levels in men.
#4 Ginger Supplements
Ginger is a spice often used to flavor foods, but it appears to provide numerous health and wellness benefits when taken in supplement form.
Studies show that while additional human studies are needed, ginger powder or extracts enhance testosterone production in animal studies due to increases in luteinizing hormone, reduced oxidative stress, enhanced antioxidant activity, increased testicular weight and blood flow, recycled testosterone receptors, and enhanced nitric oxide production.
Research demonstrates the additional health benefits of ginger.
Examples include anti-inflammatory effects, reduced heart disease risks, better blood sugar control, lower cholesterol, and improved brain function when used in dosages of 1-3 grams of ginger powder or extract daily.
#5 DHEA Supplements
DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone naturally present in your body that enhances testosterone production.
However, natural DHEA levels tend to slowly decline with age.
DHEA supplements are available over the counter.
Research shows that taking 50 milligrams of DHEA increases free testosterone levels in middle-aged men, and prevents testosterone from declining with high-intensity exercise.
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Testosterone Boosting Lifestyle Habits
In addition to eating testosterone boosting foods and taking dietary supplements, adopting the following healthy habits maximizes your body’s testosterone production:
#1 Maintain a Healthy Weight
Studies show that low testosterone is associated with obesity, so what better way to enhance your body’s natural testosterone production than by achieving a healthy body weight?
Diet is a key component of healthy weight management and weight loss if you’re overweight or obese.
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#2 Work Out Regularly
Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight and is associated with more testosterone and reduced erectile dysfunction in men.
Studies show that decreasing body fat using exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, helps increase total testosterone levels.
Strength training also helps boost lean mass and decrease body fat, to help you achieve or maintain optimal testosterone production.
#3 Reduce Stress
When you experience long term stress, testosterone levels tend to decrease.
Research shows that the stress hormone cortisol inhibits testosterone’s effects in your body.
The American Psychological Association reports that chronic stress not only negatively affects testosterone production, but it can also lead to impotence, erectile dysfunction, and a low sex drive.
Do everything you can to relieve stress in your life.
Say no to excessive extracurricular activities, take a vacation, get a massage, try yoga or tai chi, spend time outdoors, get plenty of sleep, and set aside 20-30 minutes each day for relaxation.
#4 Sleep More
Lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of low testosterone in men.
In fact, studies show that after one week of sleep deprivation (getting 5 hours of sleep per night), daytime testosterone levels decreased 10-15% in otherwise healthy men.
Your body needs at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function at its best.
Set a regular bedtime, reduce stress, and sleep in a cool, dark room to optimize sleep quality.
If you have trouble sleeping, try using a white noise machine or ask your doctor if natural sleeping aids – such as melatonin supplements – are right for you.
Monitor Testosterone Levels Regularly
In addition to taking advantage of testosterone boosting foods, supplements, and healthy lifestyle habits, it’s important to check in with your doctor regularly to monitor testosterone levels.
In some cases, testosterone might remain low despite a healthy diet and exercise changes.
If this is the case for you, your doctor can detect low T using a simple blood test.
They might recommend hormone replacement therapy.
Examples of hormone treatments for men include prescription testosterone skin patches, injections, gels, creams, and sub-dermal pellets.
Don't let low testosterone ruin your confidence and sense of well-being.
Add testosterone-boosting foods to your menu, consider testosterone boosting supplements, exercise regularly, reduce stress, sleep well, and join the Fit Father Project!
Your new friend & health coach,
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on testosterone boosting foods.