The 12 Best Foods for Testosterone Support

The wild, virile stallion

Believe it or not, there are dietary choices you can make to help support normal testosterone (T) levels. For guys, getting enough testosterone boosting nutrients like zinc, vitamin D and protein (essential amino acids) can help reduce the need for workout supplements or HGH to be a superstar on the field or in the bedroom. And ladies, you also need stable (but lower) testosterone levels for mood, muscle and bone mass. For best testosterone support, make these twelve foods a part of your regular diet.

1. Oysters

Myth or Fact? It only seems appropriate to start with the one food traditionally considered both a T booster and aphrodisiac. While the jury may be out on its aphrodisiac qualities, oysters have proven beneficial for testosterone levels. A 3 ounce serving of oysters contains nearly 500% the recommended daily amount of zinc, an key element in testosterone production. [1] Oysters also contain D-aspartic acid and N-methyl-D-aspartate, not so commonly occurring amino acids. [2] Studies have found fertile men possess high concentrations of D-aspartic acid. [3] When looking for a food to support testosterone, oysters seem like a great place to start!

2. Olive Oil

Sure it’s great for the heart, tasty and a generally accepted component of a healthy diet. It’s also been shown that regular consumption has a positive effect on a man’s testosterone. A recent study found men placed on a diet including daily consumption of olive oil experienced significant increases in testosterone levels. [4]

3. Beans

Loaded with more protein than any other plant-based food, beans also contain high levels of zinc and iron. All of these nutrients contribute to testosterone production. They also support whole body health which maximizes their all around effectiveness in testosterone production.

4. Nuts

Full of zinc, B vitamins, and protein, nuts provide the vitamins, minerals and essential compounds necessary to create testosterone. Look specifically for almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans and peanuts.

5. Garlic

This herb contains two substances, allicin and quercitin, which studies have found inhibit cortisol metabolism. Cortisol is often called the stress hormone and in excess can slow or stop reproductive function. Allicin and quercitin reduce the impact of cortisol, so the body can continue producing testosterone.

6. Salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids and protein both support testosterone levels, but that’s not how it made this list! Salmon has the highest levels of vitamin D than any other fish. And the male reproductive system requires vitamin D for health and proper function. Researchers have observed a significant increase in testosterone levels in men supplementing with vitamin D compared to those who did not. [5] So in addition to the protein and necessary fatty acids, salmon offers a healthy alternative proven to support testosterone levels.

7. Cruciferous Vegetables

This group of veggies includes cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, cress, bok choy, and broccoli. All of these have been found to include indole-3-carbinol. In studies this compound has been observed reducing estrogen levels in men. [6] This allows testosterone production to function more effectively.

8. Red Grapes

The skins of red grapes contain resveratol, a proven aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase is an enzyme that converts testosterone and other androgens into estrogen. [7] Consuming grapes and other sources of resveratol (red wine) supports testosterone levels.

9. Eggs

Egg yolks contain pure – healthy – cholesterol which is a key building block for testosterone. Recent studies have demonstrated eggs do not pose the health threat perpetrated for so many years. Plus, eggs provide an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and proteins needed for overall health and well being.

10. Pumpkin Seeds

What makes these seeds so good for the prostate also makes them an excellent food for testosterone support. They are packed full of zinc, magnesium, and healthy fats, all necessary for the body to produce and support healthy testosterone levels.

11. Beef

Lean cuts of beef offer an excellent dietary source of protein, fatty acids and zinc which are necessary for testosterone and hormone production and maintenance.

12. Figs

Often considered an aphrodisiac, these fruits deserve their reputation. They are excellent sources of manganese, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc, minerals necessary for cardiovascular and muscular health and hormone production. They also contain flavonoids with potent antioxidant properties…and they taste great!

Got a favorite that I missed? Please weigh in and leave a comment below!

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Zinc. (last accessed 2013-11-05)
  2. Lusher, Adam. Raw oysters really are aphrodisiacs say scientists (and now is the time to eat them). 12:01AM GMT 20 Mar 2005.
  3. D’Aniello G, Ronsini S, Guida F, Spinelli P, D’Aniello A. Occurrence of D-aspartic acid in human seminal plasma and spermatozoa: possible role in reproduction. Fertil Steril. 2005 Nov;84(5):1444-9.
  4. Derouiche A, Jafri A, Driouch I, El Khasmi M, Adlouni A, Benajiba N, Bamou Y, Saile R, Benouhoud M. Effect of argan and olive oil consumption on the hormonal profile of androgens among healthy adult Moroccan men. Nat Prod Commun. 2013 Jan;8(1):51-3.
  5. Pilz S, Frisch S, Koertke H, Kuhn J, Dreier J, Obermayer-Pietsch B, Wehr E, Zittermann A. Effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone levels in men. Horm Metab Res. 2011 Mar;43(3):223-5. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1269854. Epub 2010 Dec 10.
  6. Michnovicz JJ, Adlercreutz H, Bradlow HL. Changes in levels of urinary estrogen metabolites after oral indole-3-carbinol treatment in humans. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1997 May 21;89(10):718-23.
  7. Hong Y, Chen S. Aromatase inhibitors: structural features and biochemical characterization. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov;1089:237-51.
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  • Michael Pannone

    Reviewing this list, and regarding what I’ve learned this past year about diet, I try my best to eliminate foods that introduce inflammation and foods that promote oxidative damage. There is one item on the list I’d vote to remove and that item is olive oil. According to Drs. Wallach and Glidden, both men are NDs, “oil in a bottle” is one of ten “bad foods”. One part of their theory is, oils that are exposed to air, while being stored, like on our kitchen counters, are oxidizing. That is they’re literally going rancid. Maybe not to our taste but they are turning on the molecular level. Ingesting these oxidized oils introduce free radicals to the body. Plus there is inflammation that goes along in the bargain. So unless I can get olive oil fresh off the press, I’ve eliminated it from my diet. Where I used oil before for cooking I now use butter and for salads I use only acids like vinegar or fresh citrus. Testosterone production, like all of the body’s bio-chemical systems need essential nutrients every day in order to function properly. Getting these nutrients solely from food is not possible in 2013. We must supplement. And two-thirds of our essentials are minerals. Testosterone needs minerals, vitamins, protein and fat, saturated fat from things like fish, red meat, dairy and butter. But we gotta eat, right? Right. Then choosing what really works with the body and eliminate foods that don’t work will increase our absorptive capacity and we win. Also, walking away from gov’t and MD-directed food mythology is essential. Thanks for the list, the rest of the items work for me!

  • ghc_health

    Thank you Michael for the thoughtful post, you bring up some great things to think about and I’m going to take a look at it!
    -Dr. Edward Group

  • http://www.agemanagementoptimalwellness.com/ Anti Aging Medical Clinic

    A lot of people will take zinc supplements in order to increase their testosterone levels. If you do supplement with zinc, make sure you are also taking copper supplements as well. The work in the body as a team so taking one at a higher level than the other can do more harm than good!

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