Testosterone is the single most important androgen (steroid) in the human body. Not only does low testosterone affect muscle mass development, but it can also cause low energy, decreased immune function & bone health, and put an athlete at increased risk for diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease.
On average, in adult human males, the plasma concentration of testosterone is about 7–8 times as great as the concentration in adult human females’ plasma. While women do have testosterone in the body, it’s at much lower levels so there is no need to worry about becoming “manly” from lifting weights. In fact, the actual daily production is about 20 times greater in men than women.
There are definitely foods shown to help with increasing testosterone (“t”), so this post is focused on the pairing of foods to increase t, rather than one specific recipe.
What will boost testosterone naturally?
Omega-9 & Omega-6 fatty acids
Cholesterol: Precursor for testosterone
Cruciferous Vegetables: indole-3-carbinol: Phytochemical that reduces estrogen
Adequate carbohydrates/whole grains – protein sparing
Healthy fats & cholesterol function as building blocks for t. Without adequate levels of these nutrients, t cannot be synthesized in the body. Indole-3-carbinol is a phytochemical in cruciferous vegetables that helps to reduce excess estrogen in males.
For those that may be deficient in vitamin D, t can increase by 90% when the deficiency is corrected. It’s extremely important to know your vitamin D level, not just for this reason but also for many other side effects of low D.
Consuming adequate carbohydrates, whether it’s from fruit/starchy veggies/whole grains, allows the body to use that carbohydrate for energy to burn and spare protein which can be used for building muscle in the body instead. Athletes with low carbohydrate intake will eventually dip into protein stores for energy.
An easy way to start increasing t is by eating breakfast after a morning workout! Foods that contain the nutrients listed above include:
Healthy Fats (Omega -9 & 6)
Almonds, pistachios, cashews
Whole Grains (least processed)
Look at the highlighted foods that can be combined for a t-boosting breakfast… an omelet with veggies, oatmeal topped with walnuts or peanut butter, fresh fruit (citrus if possible) & a glass of low-fat milk.