Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and with its links to muscle mass, fat distribution, and sex drive, it’s no surprise that many men are seeking to enhance their levels of the hormone.
When it comes to our diet, our food selection is vital for encouraging the healthy production of hormones. This is because food is our source of nutrients. Without a balanced diet, the body is starved of the essential nutrients that it needs to properly function.
So, what’s the best diet to increase testosterone?
Although there’s no specific diet that’s been proven to boost testosterone, research has given us insight into the types of foods that support the production of the hormone.
A study that observed levels of testosterone when consuming a low-fat, high-fibre diet found that the hormone depleted. Processed, fried, and preserved foods are also thought to negatively impact testosterone levels. There’s also some evidence that points towards the importance of following a diet that balances carbohydrates and protein effectively, with one study reporting higher levels of testosterone in the high-carb diet group compared to the high-protein diet group.
Nutritional deficiencies can also interfere with the production of testosterone so it’s important to follow a diet that contains a healthy balance of nutrients. In particular, to promote levels of testosterone, you should eat a diet that contains a sufficient level of zinc, magnesium and vitamin D. Why? Let’s take a look at the science…
- What’s the association between zinc and testosterone? Zinc is often marketed for its testosterone-boosting properties. A study that aimed to understand the effects of zinc deficiency on testosterone found that dietary zinc restriction was associated with lower levels of testosterone in healthy men. However, a study that measured the effects of zinc intake on testosterone found that testosterone did not increase in men who already had sufficient levels of the nutrient. This implies that a zinc deficiency is associated with decreased levels of testosterone but men with sufficient zinc in their diet should not expect to see an increase in the hormone if they consume more zinc.
- Foods containing zinc: Oysters contain more zinc per serving than any other food source (and might be of benefit in the bedroom), as well as red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, and dairy products.
- What’s the association between magnesium and testosterone? A study on magnesium and hormone levels in men found that the nutrient was significantly and positively correlated with testosterone levels.
- What’s the association between vitamin D and testosterone? Vitamin D deficiency appears to be associated with lower levels of testosterone with one study finding that vitamin D supplementation increased levels of testosterone in men with a deficiency. However, these results weren’t replicated in healthy men, suggesting that vitamin D levels that surpass the normal threshold won’t result in increased testosterone. To measure your vitamin D levels, you can take a vitamin D blood test.
- Foods containing vitamin D: Foods that contain vitamin D include fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), fish liver oils, egg yolks, and cheese. The amount of vitamin D you get from your diet is minimal and the best way to get vitamin D is through sunlight or supplementation.
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Obesity is also linked to decreased testosterone levels, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight in order to encourage normal production of the hormone.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to your testosterone-boosting diet plan, follow our 7-day testosterone meal plan as a guide.
7-day testosterone-boosting meal plan:
Download our testosterone-boosting diet plan here.
If you want to check your levels of testosterone, you can take an at-home blood test. The test will also give you insight into other areas of your health, including liver and kidney function, and vitamin levels.
The numan take
A healthy diet filled with nutrients is important for the normal production of hormones - including testosterone. In particular, nutrient deficiencies in zinc, magnesium and vitamin D have been linked to lower levels of testosterone. Research has also pointed towards a diet that’s high in carbs and free of processed and fried foods to encourage normal testosterone levels.