Did you know that testosterone levels for men peak between the ages of 30 and 35, then begin to decrease every year after? What’s more, a poor diet can accelerate the loss of testosterone production.
While it’s important to maintain a physically active lifestyle, one of the key things you can do to ensure healthy testosterone levels is to eat a healthy diet.
Not all foods are created equal and when it comes to testosterone, some foods are far better than others. We highly recommend following a testosterone diet that is packed with foods that support testosterone production while eliminating estrogenic compounds that are commonly found in foods such as soy.
Let’s take a look at the best testosterone boosting recipes and specific foods to begin avoiding and incorporating into your day-to-day diet to maximize your testosterone levels.
- What is a Testosterone Diet?
- Know What You Eat
- Foods Boosting Testosterone Levels
- Foods Lowering Testosterone Levels
- Caloric Intake and Testosterone
- Testosterone Boosting Meal Plan
- Testosterone Boosting Recipes
The best testosterone-boosting diet is one that will take into account these three factors:
Going Natural: If you want to boost your testosterone via diet, you need to focus on natural and whole food choices while eliminating processed and unhealthy choices.
Related article: How does going vegan affect your t-levels?
Shopping exclusively on the outside ring of the grocery store – where all of the natural choices are – is a great place to start. Avoid buying anything that is processed or contains a variety of artificial sweeteners and flavoring.
Knowing Your Calories: You’ll never get to where you’re going if you don’t know the destination. You can look at your caloric intake as a road map to your goals of testosterone production.
Knowing how many calories you should be eating per day can be essential for ensuring you stay the course and don’t overeat, which can lead to weight gain and lower testosterone levels.
Avoiding Testosterone-Lowering Foods: Familiarizing yourself with the worst foods for testosterone is going to put you well ahead of the game when it comes to increasing your testosterone. We discuss the worst foods for testosterone below, but we suggest writing these foods down and taking them with you when you go shopping.
Every meal plan can be broken down by macronutrient content. There are three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Each macronutrient plays a unique role in promoting a diet to increase testosterone production:
Protein: Shown to provide satiety following a meal, the amino acids in protein also support fat-burning and muscle recovery post-workout. You’ll want a good portion of your diet – around 25% to 35% – to come from protein-based sources such as chicken, beef, yogurt, and pumpkin seeds.
Carbohydrates: Diets that are lower in overall carbohydrates and only focus on complex sources such as dark leafy green vegetables and whole gains have been shown to support testosterone production. The exception to this would be if you are consistently engaging in a high-intensity workout program. Studies show that post-workout carbohydrate consumption following a tough workout can support free testosterone levels and keep cortisol levels in check.
If you are not very active, you may want to consider a low-carbohydrate diet; one where carbs only make up 10% to 25% of the total caloric intake. Atkins and the ketogenic diet are great examples.
If you are a very active person, you may want to eat a higher percentage of complex carbohydrate sources such as 30% to 45%.
Fats: Despite the bad publicity that dietary fats once received, countless studies have revealed the important role of healthy fatty acids in maintaining a healthy weight, but more importantly, healthy testosterone levels. Studies show that eating enough healthy fats each day is key to supporting high levels of testosterone.
How much fat you eat per day depends on which type of diet you choose. A lower carbohydrate diet will naturally have more fat content. For example, if you’re following a ketogenic diet, 60% to 80% of your total caloric intake will come from fat. If you are following a moderate-carbohydrate diet, 30% to 40% of your calories may come from fat.
No matter which diet you choose, there are some foods that are capable of having a positive and negative impact on your testosterone levels.
Here are some of the best testosterone-boosting foods that you can begin adding to your diet:
- Whole eggs (with yolk)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, kale, spinach)
- Grass-fed beef and lamb
- Raw honey
Here are a handful of the worst foods for testosterone levels:
- Soy and soy-based products (e.g., tofu)
- Alcohol (e.g., high-calorie beers) and excessive drinking
- Simple / Processed carbohydrates (e.g., sugar-based junk foods)
- Trans fat-based products (e.g., French fries from a fast food restaurant)
- Mint and spearmint
- Vegetable and canola oil
- Any food with a high level of pesticides
Studies show that there is a direct correlation between eating too much and becoming overweight with low testosterone levels. In fact, the study above found that when obese men were given testosterone replacement therapy, they began to burn fat and lose weight. This is not to say that testosterone replacement therapy is a quick and easy solution – it’s not – but it does show the role that dietary choices have on your testosterone levels.
By following an appropriate caloric intake based on your activity level and a testosterone diet plan, you can effectively burn fat and simultaneously increase your testosterone levels. We highly recommend using an online calorie calculator to determine how many calories you should be consuming per day for either weight maintenance or fat loss.
Once you know how many calories you need to eat per day, you can begin to follow a testosterone-boosting meal plan, keeping tabs on your progress in a meal tracker app. What you need now is a testosterone-boosting meal plan.
The following testosterone boosting meal plan is based on one day and it includes some plant-based options that are high in protein, fat, or both.
- 2 whole eggs
- ½ cup of egg whites
- 3 strips of bacon
- Greens smoothie with broccoli, kale, spinach, and maca
- ¾ cup of cottage cheese
- ½ cup of pumpkin seeds
- 5 ounces of chicken thighs, grilled
- 1 cup of vegetable variety (focus on dark leafy greens)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil (for vegetables)
- 2 scoops of whey protein isolate
- 1 tablespoon of chia (in the shake)
- 1 tablespoon of maca (in the shake)
- 3 ounces of grass-fed beef
- 1 cup of broccoli
- 1 tablespoon of grass-fed butter (for broccoli)
Not confident in the kitchen? That’s okay! Here are a few testosterone-boosting recipes that are easy to make, great for your waistline, and effective in boosting your t-levels.
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 scoop of vegan protein
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
- 1/4 cup almond flour to thicken
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla (optional)
- Place everything into a blender
- Blend on medium for 30 seconds
- Grease a pan
- Pour batter into the pan
- Cook on medium-high heat for one to two minutes on each side
- 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 lb. ground lamb
- 1 ounces of garlic, minced
- ½ cup Parmesan
- 2 tbsp. Parsley
- 1 tbsp. onion salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine the egg, seasoning, and cheese with the meat
- Mix the meat with your hands
- Form into 10 to 18 meatballs, depending on preference
- Cook the meatballs in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes
Protein Avocado Ice Cream
- 1 avocado, no skin or seed
- 1 scoop of whey protein (your favorite flavor)
- 1 cup of ice
- 1 cup of almond, coconut, or regular milk
- Place all of the ingredients into a blender
- Blend on high for about 30 seconds
- Place in the freezer for a few hours
Healthy testosterone levels are a combination of diet and exercise, but if you had to choose one to focus on, it would be diet. The choices you make in your day-to-day nutritional choices have a tremendous impact on your testosterone levels. By adopting a testosterone-boosting diet, you can effectively increase your testosterone, lower estrogen levels, and improve your overall health.
Be sure to download a meal tracker app and dedicate a few minutes each day to write down the foods that you chose. Try the testosterone-boosting recipes and testosterone-boosting meal plan that we recommend above, and then let us know your results in a few weeks in the comments below.