The very essence of manliness, testosterone is a male sex hormone most commonly associated with sex drive. It is, however, responsible for so much more than that, including muscle health, sperm production, hair growth and a myriad of other roles.
Unfortunately, it is also becoming a scarcity for many males. According to Dr. Malcolm Carruthers of the Center for Men’s Health, Harley Street, London, “Men as young as 30 years old are now showing signs of low testosterone: reduced libido, brain fog and fewer erections on waking.” That’s not good news for the modern-day man, as lower than normal testosterone can negatively influence overall health in significant ways.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), normal testosterone levels for men range from 300–1000 ng/dl. When a man’s testosterone falls below this range, he can experience a wide range of symptoms. These include low sex drive, difficulty achieving erection, low semen volume, hair loss, fatigue and lack of energy, loss of muscle mass, weight gain and decrease in bone density. As you can see, low testosterone is not something to be scoffed at. Luckily, there are a number of powerful foods you can introduce into your diet to get your testicles back on the road to healthy testosterone hormone production.
Foods rich in vitamin D are key
A study published in the European Journal of Endocrinology reported that low testosterone is strongly associated with vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, a weight reduction study that gave overweight men vitamin D daily for a year found that they experienced notable increases in testosterone levels. Based on these studies and a range of other research findings, vitamin D appears to be an important aspect of healthy testosterone production.
There are a number of foods rich in vitamin D, including certain fish, such as tuna, sardines or salmon. One serving of any of these fishes ensures you’re meeting your daily vitamin D requirements. Egg yolks are another excellent source of vitamin D, with the yolk containing a plethora of other vital nutrients which can help your body repair the damage caused by low testosterone. One such nutrient is controversial: cholesterol. In recent years, cholesterol has received a lot of bad publicity, and most of this is unfounded. Cholesterol is actually a vital component of a healthily functioning body, and getting it from a good source like egg yolks can actually help to alleviate low testosterone.
Cabbage helps to rebalance your hormones
Cabbage is brimming with a chemical called indole-3-carbinol, which helps to cleanse your bloodstream of excess estrogen and therefore helps restore healthy hormone balance in your body. One study found that taking 500 mg of indole-3-carbinol extract daily for seven days resulted in a 50 percent reduction in estrogen levels in healthy men. If you’re suffering from hormone imbalance, reducing your estrogen count can help to address low testosterone levels.
Avocados combat erectile dysfunction
As mentioned earlier, one of the most common symptoms of low testosterone is erectile dysfunction. It’s possible that this erectile dysfunction and low ejaculatory flow may be indirectly related to high LDL cholesterol, which is the kind of cholesterol you want to keep low. Researchers from Penn State University found that men with high intake of monounsaturated fat had lower LDL cholesterol and higher testosterone than those who had low monounsaturated fat in their diets. Avocados are packed with nutrients and are very high in monounsaturated fat — why not make a goal to eat an avocado a day? They’re delicious and amazingly versatile, so there’s really no excuse.
Venison promotes muscle growth
Perhaps unsurprisingly, following a strict vegetarian diet can lower testosterone levels in men by as much as 14 percent. The lack of protein associated with typical meat-free diets boosts testosterone de-activating hormones. Conversely, eating too many meats rich in saturated fats, such as beef and lamb, can also result in a reduction in testosterone. Happily, venison provides the answer — it’s loaded with protein and doesn’t negatively impact your testosterone production.
Garlic lowers stress
Garlic contains high concentrations of a compound called allicin, which effectively impedes the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol, in addition to affecting your health in a range of other negative ways, directly competes with testosterone for certain parts of muscle cells. Eat plenty of raw, uncooked garlic for a potent allicin infusion, and let testosterone do its noble work without hindrance.
Want to step your testosterone support network up a notch? Here are four other ways to boost it naturally.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.