Men's testosterone levels peak at age 20 and then slowly decline for the rest of their lives. Drops in testosterone can cause reduced libido, a loss of physical strength, lower energy levels and a lack of initiative. Testosterone also plays a key role in both men and women when you're working out to try and achieve a better physique.
This anabolic hormone can help you to gain lean muscle and get rid of body fat. While women produce less testosterone than men, both genders benefit from it when trying to maintain a lean physique.
The good news is, testosterone levels can be boosted through your dietary choices. So regardless of your gender, try these foods to help boost your testosterone levels naturally:
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in testosterone production, and seafood is one of the best sources. The Harvard school of Public Health published that men with high Vitamin D levels also have higher levels of testosterone. Over the winter, many people experience a dip in their Vitamin D due to lack of sunlight exposure.
Other good food vitamin D sources include: cage-free eggs, sardines, salmon, mackerel, herring and cod liver oil.
2. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are packed full of zinc, an essential mineral that plays a vital role in plenty of enzymatic functions including production of hormones. Men who have low zinc levels also produce less testosterone, according to "Nutrition" magazine. Pumpkin seeds are great mixed into muesli, used to top salads or eaten plain as a snack.
More zinc-laden foods include: crab, steak, wheat germ, cashews, lentils and oysters
"The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism" published that males who switched from a high-fat diet to a low-fat diet also saw a decrease in their testosterone levels. If you want to put some fat back into your diet without fearing cardiac implications, plant-based saturated fat like coconut is just the ticket. Meat-based fat is also acceptable if kept to less than 10% of your dietary fat intake.
Other sources of healthy fat include: dairy products, steak, lamb and avocados
4. Wheat Bran
Magnesium-rich wheat bran helps to boost testosterone, and it works doubly well for those who engage in high-intensity workouts. You can sneak it into your pancake mix or blend it into protein shakes to reap all the benefits of this magnesium-rich superfood.
For more magnesium in your diet, try out: oat bran, green leafy vegetables, sunflower seeds, cocoa powder and almonds
5. Ricotta Cheese
The University of Connecticut recently published findings stating that those who supplemented with whey protein produced less cortisol, a stress hormone, than those who did not supplement. Cortisol lowers production of sex hormones and is also responsible for belly fat formation. Ricotta is an excellent source of natural whey protein and amino acids, both of which are essential to muscle growth and avoiding the spare tire.
For more sources of whey protein and amino acids, try: yogurt, milk, kefir and whey protein powder
Packed with Vitamin C, these berries are also full of powerful antioxidants that may help lower cortisol production during intense exercise. High levels of cortisol reduce the production of testosterone and make it work less effectively in the body. To get the most gains from your workout, reducing cortisol with these berries is a great move.
Other foods that provide Vitamin C are: broccoli, red bell peppers, pineapple, tomatoes, kale and kiwi.