In the world of naturally boosting testosterone, most of the attention is falsely given to magical supplements that promise 400% increases in testosterone levels but can’t deliver. If you’re trying to naturally increase your testosterone levels, the focus should be your body fat (get under 15%) and your sleep (get at least 7 hours of good sleep), but there are testosterone booster foods that should get more attention than those expensive supplements.
What follows is a list of testosterone booster foods that should be a staple of your diet. None of them are expensive. All of them are available at your local grocery store, but most men aren’t aware of the fact that they are testosterone booster foods by either helping us produce more testosterone naturally, lower cortisol which is necessary for testosterone production, or block aromatase which is a precursor to estrogen, also a testosterone inhibitor.
Add these testosterone booster foods to your pantry or fridge and make sure you’re consuming each of them daily.
Coffee is an interesting one because it also increases cortisol levels. Cortisol, of course, opposes testosterone, so you don’t want high cortisol levels. That said, coffee has been shown in numerous studies to naturally increase testosterone levels in men, especially before a workout.
To add to that, a cortisol rise in the morning isn’t necessarily a bad that, as your body will counteract the cortisol level at night, helping you produce more melatonin and get a better sleep.
For example, this study showed that 4 mg/kg of caffeine taken an hour before exercise increased testosterone levels by 12% in comparison the placebo.
How does coffee increase testosterone if it also increases cortisol? The theory – or a possible explanation – is that coffee inhibits the PDE-4 enzyme, which breaks down cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a messenger between cells and hormones, thus, higher cAMP levels in cells may increase testosterone levels.
Much in the same way zinc blocks aromatase, preventing the conversion of testosterone to estrogen, coffee may prevent the breakdown of cAMP, which may be the reason studies show increases in testosterone even alongside increases in cortisol due to coffee intake.
On a side note, drink more coffee, not tea, especially green tea, as it increases estrogen levels in men.
I was on the low carb side for years, always seeing the benefits of fats for testosterone (though at a certain point those benefits stop yielding returns, which is why you want to cap your daily fat intake at around 30-40% of your daily calories coming from dietary fat), while seeing carbohydrates as bad, as being responsible for people being fat.
The truth is that both carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, are all necessary for testosterone production.
The right carbohydrates are great testosterone booster foods because of how they suppress cortisol. Forget about the caffeine example above, if your cortisol levels are high, your testosterone levels are low or at the very least, impeded.
One of the ways we measure testosterone is in relation to cortisol. Carbs suppress cortisol levels, allowing your testosterone levels to thrive. If you’ve ever eaten a bunch of them, you’ll experience fatigue and sleepiness afterward as well, which makes potatoes a great addition to your dinner.
Lower cortisol, don’t contain gluten, packed with minerals that help T production.
- Nuts (Brazil and Macadamia only)
Saturated and monounsaturated (MUFAs) fats are ideal for testosterone production, while polyunsaturated (PUFAs) and trans fats aren’t. Most nuts are comprised primarily of PUFAs, but the make up of both Brazil and Macadamia nuts, with their high saturated fat content, make them perfect testosterone booster snacks.
On top of the saturated fat content, Brazil nuts also are very high in selenium, which has been shown to increase testosterone levels in men, as well as zync and boron, both of which have been shown to increase testosterone in men.
Avoid most other nuts.
Eggs contain almost a perfect breakdown of amino acids for human consumption. They’re one of the best foods and protein sources you can possibly consume. Their fat make up is also pretty close to ideal with 38% saturated fats, 44% monounsaturated fats, and only 18% polyunsaturated fats.
Eat eggs. They’re also filled with vitamins and nutrients making them one of the most perfect foods you can consume as a human.
For those worried about cholesterol, read this article that will put your mind at ease – second, cholesterol is THE building block of testosterone, so don’t listen to people that tell men to stop eating so much cholesterol.
Truth about cholesterol (article)
Raw cacao is rich in antioxidants, that protect cells and hormones, as well as minerals like iron and magnesium. Not only is cacao good for your testosterone levels, acting like a natural mineral vitamin, it’s great for clarity, focus, and energy.
- Animals (beef, bison, elk, venison)
Red meat, along with eggs, is probably the most complete and beneficial food source for humans. Numerous studies have shown that saturated fats are idea for testosterone production (1). You also need protein to maintain a good body composition, lean and muscular, as fat holds estrogen in men.
This makes meat ideal, but there’s more to meat than the proteins and fats. Meat can also contain high amounts of bioavailable zinc (lamb and veal), and carnitine.
Carnitine is important for the brain, but also possibly for your testosterone levels as it increases the density of androgen receptors that help your body actually use the hormones it produces more effectively.
- Olive oil (raw shot)
Cooked heated olive oil and room temperature, raw olive oil are two different animals. Don’t actually cook your food with olive oil, but by all means take a shot of it in the morning and at night for a very reliable boost in testosterone.
In one Moroccan study men had extra virgin olive oil as their main source of fat leading to testosterone increases of 19.9% and 17.4%. Not bad. It’s likely due to the fact that olive oil is an anti-inflammatory, high in antioxidants, and has a great fat ratio for testosterone production of 73% MUFAs, 14% SFAs, 13% PUFAs.
Again, take it as a shot, use coconut or avocado oil or butter as your cooking fat.
Like olive oil, avocados have almost a perfect fat ratio for testosterone production with 71% monounsaturated fats, 16% saturated fats, and only 13% polyunsaturated fats.
Having an avocado helps you quickly get to the 30%-40% of your calories coming from the right kinds of fats for testosterone production.
- White button mushrooms
Polysaccharides, which have been found to block aromatase, which is an enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen, are abundant in white button mushrooms.
At the beginning of the article I mentioned that testosterone booster foods either help with testosterone production through their fat content, lower cortisol, or block the aromatase enzyme that converts testosterone into estrogen. White button mushrooms is high on the list for estrogen-blocking foods that you should eat a lot of.
Raisins are very high in both resveratrol and boron, both of which have been shown to increase testosterone levels in men in multiple studies.
I don’t even like raisins, but I include them in a fruit and yogurt bowl that I have every second day along with blueberries (which are also on this list next).
Antioxidants protect cells, reduce inflammation and oxidative damage that takes place in your body. While blueberries aren’t a typical ‘testosterone booster food’ in the sense that they’re not packed with the right fats and they don’t block estrogen, the insanely high antioxidant content in blueberries should result in increased testosterone production along with the protection of the testosterone molecule.
Let’s not forget, they’re also a great carbohydrate, which lowers cortisol. A cup or two of blueberries per day with any meal, or in a shake, is highly recommended for your testosterone levels, but also your overall health.
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil is very high in saturated fats – which are, again, ideal for testosterone production, so brush off any claim that you shouldn’t eat saturated fats – and has also been shown to boost testosterone (study).
Finally, oysters, which are essentially a natural multivitamin as they’re packed with magnesium, zinc, selenium, vitamin d (which free’s up testosterone from being bound to a protein so it can do what testosterone does), and copper, all minerals that have been shown to increase testosterone levels in men.
On top of that, oysters have high quality protein and amino acid content.
They’ve been known as an aphrodisiac throughout history, and we’re now seeing why. They’re one of the most potent testosterone booster foods you can find.
What to Do Next
If you want a full list of foods that are testosterone boosters, but also a diet to help you naturally increase your testosterone levels, training tips and best practices, how to clean out your house of chemical estrogens, and a fool-proof plan to optimize your testosterone levels in 3 weeks, pick up a FREE copy of my new book, the Man Diet (grab your copy here).
Non Linked Studies:
Volek J, Kramer W. Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology. http://jap.physiology.org/content/82/1/49. Accessed February 12, 2017.