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Is your performance in the gym diminishing? Are you concerned that the issue could lie with your hormones? Before you head to the doctor, perhaps you should look at your diet — are you eating enough testosterone-boosting foods?
Your diet impacts every aspect of your performance, from physical stamina to mental and emotional state. Getting more of the right nutrients helps your body restore your hormones to optimal balance.
This technique is safe and easy for any guy concerned about their levels dropping with age or lifestyle changes. Let’s take a closer look at ten testosterone-boosting foods.
The Importance of Testosterone
You probably associate testosterone with manliness and crave more in the gym. Some individuals get so desperate that they turn to anabolic steroid use, but taking hormone-altering medications without a doctor’s supervision is dangerous. Long-term use can decrease sperm counts and lead to infertility, although the condition is reversible if you catch it early.
However, you need optimal levels to make muscular gains and feel your best in daily life. Testosterone often depletes from lifestyle factors, such as the following:
- Being overweight: Men with larger waist circumferences tend to have lower testosterone levels.
- Being sedentary: Physical inactivity disrupts your hormones.
- Excessive drinking: Long-term alcohol use results in lower blood testosterone levels.
- Certain medications: The hair loss drug Propecia and narcotics can decrease testosterone.
Unless you’re on medication or have a substance-use disorder, you can maintain healthy testosterone levels with moderate physical activity and the right diet. What foods should you be sure to add? Here are ten to incorporate into your meal prepping to fuel your gym performance.
10 Testosterone-Boosting Foods
The following testosterone-boosting foods have various impacts on the male reproductive system. Many of them are also good for improving your overall health.
Did you hear that oysters are an aphrodisiac? You might have thought the connection came from the mollusk’s suggestive shape. However, the saying might have more to do with this food’s impressive testosterone-boosting properties.
These foods boost male virility in two ways. The zinc may boost testosterone levels while maintaining dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward. The heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in seafood increase blood flow and prevent erectile dysfunction.
Something about the sea’s gifts is good for human reproduction. Tuna, and most other fatty fish, is an excellent source of vitamin D, a natural testosterone booster. Furthermore, it’s low in calories and rich in omega-3s. A tuna wrap makes great recovery fuel or a superior pre-workout meal — take one for lunch on leg day.
Ginger is somewhat of a wonder herb. It’s anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial, but that’s not all. This root herb is superb at balancing blood glucose and insulin levels and has shown potential benefits in preventing diabetic retinopathy.
Why does this matter for testosterone? When you have hyperglycemia or high blood sugar, you produce less testosterone. Ginger has been shown to restore levels in people in such a condition. It matters because scores of Americans live in a prediabetic state without knowing it — ginger may be a preventative that everyone would benefit from more of in their diets.
You knew deep, leafy greens would find a spot on this list, right? These foods are fabulous sources of phytonutrients found in chlorophyll-rich plants like folate and have high levels of plant-based protein to boot. Spinach, in particular, is rich in relaxing magnesium, which increases blood flow to keep things perky below the belt.
Previously, researchers thought that garlic was a testosterone-boosting food because of the allicin. While this antioxidant can help increase blood flow, that’s not the only benefit.
In one study, the S-allyl Cysteine in garlic increased testosterone levels in mice. It also bumped up sperm production in animals affected by chemotherapy.
Did you know that women have testosterone, too? Although it predominates in males, one study found that drinking pomegranate juice can increase levels in both genders by an average of 24% after two weeks of daily use. It’s also better for treating urinary tract infections than cranberry, so pay attention if you get frequent infections.
7. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
You probably know slathering your steak and potato with butter isn’t heart-healthy. Guess what? It’s not good for your libido, either, as excess saturated fat can clog blood vessels, blocking the flow. However, swapping the dairy for extra-virgin olive oil increased testosterone levels in one study, so choose your oils wisely.
8. Dark Chocolate
The semi-sweet stuff makes the testosterone-boosting foods list. Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols, substances that dilate your blood vessels. When this occurs, your blood flow increases, improving sensitivity and making it easier for you to do the deed.
Eggs go up and down — one day, they’re the latest superfood, and the next, they’re bad for you. The truth is that eggs are among the leanest proteins you can eat, at only 70 calories per serving. Additionally, the vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids they contain help boost testosterone levels and blood flow.
Sometimes, the problem is that you have too much of a different hormone. For example, both men and women have estrogen. Men’s levels can become excessively high, especially if they love the brewskis, as hops are phytoestrogens, foods that increase levels of this hormone.
Conversely, cabbage and other cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower act as estrogen antagonists. They lower your levels by blocking receptors. Perhaps the next time you attend a backyard barbecue, you shouldn’t turn your nose up at the veggie tray.
What Foods Should You Avoid to Boost Testosterone Levels?
There are two general classes of foods you should avoid if you want to boost your testosterone levels. The first are those substances that generally lead to excess weight, obesity and their associated health risks, including problems in the bedroom. The second is phytoestrogen-rich foods.
Foods that nearly anyone could use less of include the following:
- Unhealthy fats: These include saturated fats from animal sources and trans fats. Although the FDA banned trans fats, they still exist in some foods.
- Sugar: Too much sugar taxes your body’s ability to make insulin, putting you at risk of Type-2 diabetes.
- Bleached flour: Bleached flour absorbs as quickly as sugar as manufacturers strip away the fiber-rich bran and chaff. Stick to whole grain or alternatives like chickpea.
- Alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption decreases testosterone levels.
Foods that are phytoestrogens include several that are healthy for you. For example, you can find these substances in many fruits and vegetables. Eliminating these foods from your diet deprives you of other phytochemicals your body needs for health.
However, you might want to avoid some of the worst offenders, including:
- Soy: Soy is a great plant-based protein source, but some men find it contains too much plant estrogen for their comfort.
- Hops: Hops are a common phytoestrogen found in nearly every beer.
- Flaxseeds: Flax is a fabulous source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it has even higher levels of plant estrogens than hops or soy.
Do you want to build muscle fast? If so, you might be concerned about your testosterone levels. You now know that diet can impact your levels.
The above testosterone-boosting foods can keep you running strong. You’ll improve your fitness performance and overall health.