Few of the most often asked questions I get are: what do I eat to maintain high testosterone levels, and if I have a specific list of recommended foods that boost testosterone. While there are many food related posts scattered around this blog, I’ve never really made an all-around post about what I would put into a high T pantry. Until now.
In this massive article, you will basically get a 30 item shopping list of foods that boost testosterone in men with all the nitty-gritty explanations about why the foods are great for the endocrine system.
1. All Kinds of Potatoes
Carbohydrates are hugely important for healthy testosterone production.
You also know that grains are not the preferred source of carbs, mainly due to problems with gluten, which can significantly increase prolactin levels, effectively messing up T production.
Simple sugars are also not the preferred carbohydrate sources on a high T diet, since they have been linked to lowered testosterone levels in multiple studies.
Ruling out grains and simple sugars, may make it look like you can’t eat any carbs, except for salad, but that’s not the case.
You can – and should eat – potatoes as part of a testosterone boosting diet!
Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, russets, red potatoes, purple potatoes, etc. If it’s a potato, you should be eating it. Potatoes are excellent no-gluten source of testosterone boosting carbohydrates, and also very dense in nutrients. Stock pile your pantry full of them, and make potatoes your main carbohydrate source.
2. Macadamia Nuts
Dietary fat, in general, is known for its testosterone increasing effect, and nuts in general, are very high in fats. So one could easily assume that all nuts are pro-testosterone. However, that’s not the case.
The kinds of fats that have been linked to increased T production are saturated fatty-acids (SFAs) and monounsaturated fatty-acids (MUFAs). Polyunsaturated fatty-acids (PUFAs) on the other hand tend to lower testosterone levels.
Most nuts are – unfortunately – loaded with PUFAs.
Not macadamia nuts though. 100 grams of these wonderful little fat balls contain ~75 grams of dietary fat, out of which 60 grams are MUFAs, 13 grams are SFAs, and less than 2 grams are PUFAs.
Did someone say perfect for testosterone production?
3. Epic Bar
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first saw 100% grass-fed bison bars on the market.
Not only bison, but also lamb, turkey, and beef.
Why are the epic bars so epic then? Well, despite their high price point, they’re exactly the kind of protein your endocrine system craves for. Animal-based. Grass-fed. And free of antibiotic, hormone, and pesticide traces.
I know for sure that my pantry is always loaded with bison bars. Or should I say testosterone bars. Either way, they’re epic.
4. Beef Gelatin
In traditional societies, the bones and connective tissue of meat-giving animals were generously enjoyed, giving the consumer a great balance of amino acids.
In more recent cultures, we have started eating only the muscle-meat, tossing away the connective tissue, bones, and organ meat.
The problem with that is the fact that we are getting too much of the amino acids tryptophan and cysteine, and too little of the amino acids proline and glycine (both of which act as crucial neurotransmitters for the body).
To correct this, you could eat some bone broth and animal organs, but there’s also an easier way…
…Gelatin. It’s an incredibly dense source of connective-tissue protein, providing you with ~27% glycine and ~15% proline. It’s also tasteless, so you can easily scoop it straight on with a spoon.
Why would gelatin be pro-testosterone then? For starters, once you balance out the neurotransmitters in your body, your sleep quality and hormonal signaling will improve, this alone will lead to significant increases in testosterone and life-quality.
Who doesn’t love a cup – or five – of strong coffee?
Coffee is great. It gives you the caffeine which stimulates the nervous system and jolts you up, while also boosting cAMP levels, leading to increased testosterone production.
Sure coffee can also increase cortisol levels (which is a stress hormone notorious for lowering testosterone), but it’s crucial to understand that the cortisol boost from caffeine is very short in duration, not like the T suppressing long-term (usually stress-related) cortisol elevation.
Oh, and coffee is also loaded with antioxidants. So again, there’s no need to start avoiding coffee, just don’t drink it 15 cups a day for every hour of your time awake.
6. Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are shelled in a thick cone, so technically they’re seeds, but due to their nut-like taste and structure, people have always called them nuts.
They do not have as good fat ratios for testosterone production as the macadamia’s do (100 grams of brazil nuts has 15g SFAs, 25g MUFAs, and 19g PUFAs), but their true testosterone boosting potential is not in the fat ratio…
…It’s in the ridiculously high selenium content. 100 grams of Brazil nuts contains 1917 mcg’s of selenium, which is 2739% of the RDA%!
Selenium – mostly due to its glutathione stimulating effects – is directly linked to increased testosterone production (study, study), and just a handful of Brazil nuts a day is easily enough to cover your selenium needs, naturally.
NOTE: Most of the selenium is in the skin of the nut, so don’t buy your Brazil nuts unshelled.
7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil can be straight on labeled as a testosterone booster.
Since there’s literally a study where young Moroccan men changed to extra virgin olive oil as their main source of fat, and in 2 weeks their testosterone levels increased by 17%.
This could have been caused by the fact that olive oil has a pretty darn great fat ratios for T production (73% MUFAs, 14% SFAs, 13% PUFAs), or it could also be the fact that olive oil is anti-inflammatory, or that it’s ridiculously high in antioxidants. It also contains the possibly testosterone boosting bitter glycoside; oleuropein.
Just make sure your olive oil is the real deal. Organic. Extra Virgin. And from a trusted brand. Many cheaper olive oils have been heated, processed, and adulterated with cheaper oils (usually high PUFA ones too).
Raisins are a great food that boost testosterone levels for multiple reasons.
Firstly, they’re anti-inflammatory and chock-full of antioxidants, such as resveratrol, which has been linked to increased testosterone and lowered estrogen levels in few studies.
Secondly, 100 grams of raisins contain ~3 mg’s of boron, which is a not too popular mineral that has increased testosterone levels quite significantly in few scientific studies.
So, it’s not a bad idea to make your own testosterone boosting snack trail mix with raisins, macadamia nuts, and brazil nuts.
Parsley is a great little plant. That’s because of a compound in it called apigening.
The researcher at Texas tech found out that apigening increases the amount StAR (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein) inside the testicular leydig cells.
Why is this great you might ask? Well, StaR is the binding protein that transports cholesterol into the mitochondria inside your ballsack, essentially converting it to free testosterone.
So, more parsley -> more StaR -> better conversion from cholesterol to free testosterone -> more free testosterone.
Bottom line: You better be consuming parsley.
Ginger is a common household spice, but it can be used to many other things than just to add flavor to foods.
Ginger contains the active ingredient, gingerol, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent in the body.
Not only that, but several animal studies have identified ginger as an androgenic compound (study, study), while one Iraqian human study noted a 17% increase in testosterone levels after ginger supplementation.
So not a common household spice alone, but also a powerful androgenic anti-inflammatory agent. And cheap as fuck.