Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that is responsible for promoting strength, muscle mass, bone density, sex drive, and sperm production. Though testosterone levels naturally decline with age, there are ways to help maintain healthy levels through lifestyle and dietary choices.
Eating a balanced diet that includes nutrient-dense foods can help support testosterone production. In this article, we’ll explore 6 foods that science suggests may help give your testosterone levels a boost, according to registered dietitian recommendations.
The Role Of Diet In Boosting Testosterone
The foods we eat provide our bodies with the vitamins, minerals, and other compounds needed for optimal hormone production. Research shows that vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, and some plant compounds may be particularly important for supporting healthy testosterone levels. However, crash dieting, excessive alcohol intake, and vitamin deficiencies can negatively impact testosterone.
That’s why it’s important to eat a varied, well-balanced diet focused on whole, minimally processed foods to provide your body with the full range of micronutrients it needs. While no food or supplement can replace medical treatment, adding some testosterone-supporting foods may help maintain healthy levels.
6 Foods That May Help Boost Testosterone
Oysters are the highest food source of zinc, providing over 500% of your daily needs in just 6 medium oysters. Zinc is essential for testosterone production and oyster extracts have been found to boost testosterone in some studies. The minerals and B vitamins oysters provide also support male sex hormones. Enjoy raw, cooked, or canned oysters a couple of times a week for a tasty testosterone boost.
Whole eggs are a highly bioavailable source of vitamin D, which research links to healthy testosterone levels. Vitamin D, along with cholesterol in the yolk, helps support testosterone production. Enjoy eggs cooked any style or consider using egg yolks to make homemade mayonnaise or salad dressings to increase your intake.
All shellfish, like crab, lobster, shrimp, and clams, are rich sources of zinc and vitamin D, making them great testosterone-friendly choices. Eat a variety of shellfish 2-3 times per week as part of a healthy, balanced diet for the best results.
🔹 Fortified Dairy And Plant Milk
Vitamin D-fortified milk, yogurt, soy milk, almond milk, and orange juice can help you meet your daily vitamin D needs. Low-fat or nonfat dairy are good options that also provide protein important for muscle growth and testosterone production. Those who are lactose intolerant can benefit from fortified plant milk and juices.
🔹 Fatty Fish
The omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna offer several benefits for testosterone. Regularly eating these fish, 2-3 times per week, may help support testosterone production while also reducing inflammation. Grilling, baking, or poaching fish are healthy prep methods.
🔹 Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidants and compounds that may increase testosterone levels, according to research. Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking, drizzling, and homemade salad dressings. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil may also support testosterone by reducing inflammation.
How To Incorporate These Foods Into Your Diet?
Focusing on a nutritious, balanced diet can naturally incorporate many of these testosterone-supporting foods. Try eating 2-3 servings per week of oysters, other shellfish, and fatty fish. Choose whole eggs, fortified dairy or milk alternatives, olive oil, and other monounsaturated fats daily. Round out meals with plenty of fresh vegetables, high-fiber whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruit.
Limit processed foods, sugars, refined grains, and alcohol, which can negatively impact testosterone. Additionally, staying active through strength training and other exercise can benefit testosterone levels. Speak to your doctor to determine if your diet or testosterone levels could use specific support from lifestyle changes or medical treatment.
Boosting testosterone through nutritional choices may help men maintain strength, sex drive, energy, and vitality. Research suggests that eating foods rich in zinc, vitamin D, magnesium and healthy fats may aid testosterone production. Oysters, shellfish, eggs, fatty fish, fortified dairy, and olive oil are examples of nutrient-dense foods to include.
However, no single food can substantially increase testosterone on its own. Focus on an overall balanced diet plus exercise, stress management, and sleep for optimal testosterone levels. Speak with your doctor to discuss whether testosterone testing or treatment could benefit your health.
A: Some supplements like zinc, vitamin D, or DHEA may provide modest support, but the evidence is limited. It’s best to focus on getting nutrients from a healthy diet first before trying supplements. Speak to your doctor to see if a supplement may help your individual needs.
A: Research on specific foods is limited, but adopting an overall nutritious diet may begin improving testosterone levels within a few weeks. However, the effects are likely to be modest and vary based on your individual health. Significant increases in testosterone generally require medical treatment.
A: Regular exercise, strength training, stress management, high-quality sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol are all important for supporting healthy testosterone levels. Quitting smoking can also help. Optimizing these lifestyle factors combined with a nutritious diet is your best bet for naturally maintaining testosterone.
A: If you’re experiencing bothersome symptoms of low testosterone like low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, reduced muscle mass, or fatigue, make an appointment with your doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms, order bloodwork to check your testosterone levels, and determine if testosterone therapy or other treatments are appropriate.