Medically reviewed by Michele Emery, DNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 9/19/2019
Testosterone is more than just the hormone that puts hair on your chest. It also plays an important role in your sex drive and reproductive health. Low testosterone affects as many as 5 million men in the United States alone and it isn’t just the older men. Though testosterone production naturally starts to decrease after the age of 30, low-T is affecting younger and younger men with each passing year. Luckily, we're learning more about the affects of low testosterone all the time, and have found a multitude of foods that boost testosterone, and thus, help fight dreaded erectile dysfunction, or ED.
If you struggle with ED, you might assume that low testosterone is to blame. While some of the symptoms of low-T include various aspects of sexual dysfunction such as decreased sex drive, infertility, and ED, boosting your testosterone production isn’t a guaranteed way to resolve your issues with ED. In fact, it is entirely possible to experience erectile dysfunction with normal testosterone levels.
So, why is it important to maintain healthy testosterone production in your thirties and beyond?
Testosterone plays a role in maintaining your lean muscle mass, as well as your bone density. It even plays a role in the production of red blood cells. If you hope to become a father one day, having low testosterone could make it more difficult to get your partner pregnant. Low testosterone may also contribute to hair loss.
The simple truth is that having low testosterone levels may affect myriad aspects of your life from your appearance to your sexual performance and everything you love about being a man. What can you do to boost your testosterone levels? Keep reading to find out.
There are a number of factors which contribute to low testosterone in men, especially in the younger crowd. Though your production will naturally start to slow after the age of 30, having very low testosterone levels as a young man is not normal. The healthy range for testosterone is between 300 ng/dL and 800 ng/dL. If your score is below this range, it could be due to hormonal disorders, some kind of infection, chronic liver or kidney disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, testicular cancer or injury to the testicles themselves. Certain medications may also affect your testosterone production.
If your testosterone levels are abnormally low and it is causing you to experience unpleasant symptoms, your doctor might recommend certain lifestyle changes or other forms of treatment. Achieving and maintaining a healthy bodyweight and incorporating regular exercise into your routine are two of the best ways to boost natural testosterone production. If that isn’t enough, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be an option, but keep in mind that this form of therapy may cause side effects such as enlarged prostate, sleep apnea, shrunken testicles, decreased sperm count and breast enlargement. TRT could also increase your risk for heart attack and stroke. For these reasons, you should be very careful before considering this treatment option.
If you don’t like the idea of side effects caused by testosterone replacement therapy, you may want to think about natural remedies for ED. In addition to following a healthy diet in general, you should consider adding the following ten foods that boost testosterone to your diet:
Coconut – Rich in healthy saturated fats, coconut helps provide your body with essential fatty acids needed to produce hormones, including testosterone. It also helps your body produce good cholesterol, which improves your fat burn and helps maintain lean muscle mass.
Olive Oil – In addition to being rich in healthy fats, olive oil has been shown to boost testosterone production by as much as 19% when used daily for at least three weeks. Try cooking with olive oil instead of hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Pomegranate – Rich in antioxidants, pomegranates have been used medicinally for centuries as a remedy for high blood pressure and sexual dysfunction. Drinking a glass of pomegranate juice once daily can boost your testosterone production by as much as 30%.
Whey Protein – This form of protein helps to restrict the production of cortisol, leaving more room for testosterone. Take 15 grams of whey protein isolate before and after engaging in resistance training to boost testosterone production by as much as 25% for up to 48 hours.
Garlic – This flavorful herb contains a compound called allicin which has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that competes with testosterone inside your muscle cells, so flushing out excess cortisol makes more room for testosterone to do what it needs to do.
Oysters – Known as an aphrodisiac, oysters are also loaded with zinc, a mineral that will boost testosterone production as well as libido and sperm count. You can try other zinc-rich foods as well such as anchovies, sardines and cashews.
Tuna – Rich in vitamin D (which has been linked to testosterone production) and protein, tuna can naturally boost your testosterone levels. Other fish like sardines or salmon may work as well, though too much omega-3 in your diet could increase your risk for prostate cancer.
Honey – This natural sweetener benefits your sexual health in two ways. First, it contains a mineral called boron which has been associated with high testosterone levels. Second, it contains nitric oxide which helps to improve circulation which means more blood flowing to the penis.
Vitamin Enriched Milk – Skim milk is often advertised as a source of lean protein, calcium and Vitamin D. One of the ways milk helps to improve testosterone levels is by boosting production of anabolic hormones that help you burn fat and build muscle.
Eggs – In addition to being a source of protein, eggs are also rich in Vitamin D – particularly the yolk. Vitamin D (especially Vitamin D3) has been shown to naturally boost testosterone production and the cholesterol in egg yolks may provide this benefit as well.
Regardless the cause of your low-T, you should take heart in knowing that you aren’t destined to live the rest of your life battling the consequences of inadequate testosterone production. By adding to your diet the ten foods listed above you can naturally boost your testosterone levels without taking erectile dysfunction drugs or subjecting your body to synthetic hormone replacement therapy. That’s right; you can eat your way to higher testosterone, so grab a fork and dig in!
And if you want to know more about drugs that you take to eliminate ED, we suggest starting here.
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