Testosterone boosters

Foods That Boost Testosterone Production

Written by Ann Winters

Increasing testosterone is an important goal for many men, particularly those that are over 40. From the age of 30 men’s production of testosterone naturally begins to drop. This occurs naturally but can be exacerbated by a number of lifestyle factors. In this article we will briefly explore some of the common causes of decreased testosterone, and then look at some common foods that you can use to boost your testosterone levels.

Common Causes of Low Testosterone

There are many causes of low testosterone, as we mentioned before age is the main one. But there are a number of other causes. A lack of sleep can really affect testosterone, with many studies noting a sharp decrease in morning testosterone levels in men who had a bad night. A 2010 study by Goh & Tong found that Asian men who slept less, had lower testosterone than their well-rested counterparts [1].

Another big cause of low testosterone is stress, this is because prolonged stress can raise cortisol levels. Cortisol is a steroid hormone similar to testosterone, and a small amount of it is actually beneficial. But prolonged increases can lead to reduced testosterone, this is because cortisol attacks the testes which is where testosterone is mostly produced.

A third cause comes in the form of an enzyme known as aromatase. It is produced in the body and its function is to convert excess testosterone into estrogen. This can be beneficial in some circumstances, for example if men have way too much testosterone in their body. But for men who are already struggling, this can be a real blow.

Sadly, one of the biggest causes of increased aromatase production is adipose tissue (body fat). The more you have, the more aromatase you produce. This creates a vicious circle where increased body fat leads to more estrogen, which further increases body fat.

How can we address low testosterone? Well as you have seen there are three main causes listed here (plus many others), each from a completely different source. Which is interesting because the way food can increase testosterone also occurs in three different ways.

There are foods that directly boost testosterone production, foods that reduce aromatase and then indirectly boost testosterone, and there are foods that can help us to lose weight/build muscle/lower stress/improve sleep, which also indirectly increases testosterone.

In this article we are going to produce a small list of foods that can effectively increase testosterone via the above methods. We will separate them into three groups: Testosterone boosting foods, aromatase blocking foods, and healthy foods that can indirectly help increase testosterone. Filling your diet with foods from each group will really help to improve your testosterone levels long term.

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Testosterone Boosting Foods

The foods in this section are all foods that can boost testosterone production directly. Eat these foods and your body will respond by increasing testosterone. Study after study has linked high fat diets with increased testosterone.

A 1990 study by Key et al [2] found that there was a correlation between fat intake and testosterone [2]. With people on higher fat diets (in this case people who ate meat) having substantially higher testosterone than vegans (who tend to have a low fat diet in comparison).

So the first few foods on our list are going to be different types of meat, if you are a vegetarian or vegan then obviously avoid this section – but double down on the non-meat foods.

  • Bacon
  • Beef Mince
  • Steak
  • Lamb
  • Chicken & Turkey

A 1992 study by Raben et al found that eating meat led to increased muscular endurance, and increased testosterone [3]. It is important to remember though that if you are already eating sufficient meat then you won’t see a huge increase, also if eating more meat causes you to gain weight (through increased calories) then you may lose testosterone. Aim for leaner cuts of meat but still consume some saturated fat (as this is the main cause of increased testosterone).

While meat is an amazing way to increase t levels, increasing saturated fat (as we mentioned above) is crucial. But meat is not the only source of fat. The next few foods are all excellent t boosters thanks to their levels of fatty acids.

  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Coconut Oil
  • Cheese
  • Avocados

If you are a vegan then it makes sense to stock up on the avocados, coconut, and olive oil, but remember that a little goes a long way. One tablespoon of oil contains around 120 calories! So it can easily lead to weight gain if not measured properly.

Anti-Aromatase Foods

As we mentioned earlier, while aromatase can have its uses too much of it can lead to weight gain, low testosterone, and increased estrogen. Luckily there are a lot of foods that inhibit aromatase, which can lead to restoration of testosterone, a reduction in estrogen, and all the benefits that this brings. The following foods are excellent aromatase inhibitors.

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Celery
  • White Mushrooms
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Red Wine
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Olive Oil
  • Onions
  • Citrus Fruits

A lot of the vegetables mentioned above are cruciferous vegetables (kale, spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli). They are perfect foods for vegetarians and vegans (who tend to have higher levels of estrogen than meat eaters), red wine or red grapes are also excellent at inhibiting aromatase.

Foods that indirectly boost testosterone

The following foods do not directly affect testosterone at all, but they may help treat some of the causes of low testosterone. The main ones are: Stress, weight gain, and bad sleep. So we will identify 3 foods that can help with stress, 3 foods that can help with weight loss, and 3 foods that can improve sleep.

Foods that can help lower stress

  • Lentils – contain folic acid which can help reduce depression
  • Oranges – High in vitamin C that can reduce blood pressure and cortisol
  • Oily fish – High in omega-3 which can prevent cortisol spikes

Foods that can help with weight loss

  • Decaffeinated Coffee – Stimulates a hormone called Peptide YY which can help keep you from feeling hungry [3]. Perfect for dieting.
  • Boiled Potatoes – Highest food on the satiety index, eating boiled potatoes will help keep you feeling full for longer.
  • Greek Yoghurt – High in protein, filled with probiotics, and can help reverse Leptin resistance – a major cause of overeating.

Foods that can help improve sleep

  • Fish – High in Vitamin B6 which can help improve sleep quality by boosting melatonin.
  • Cottage Cheese – great source of an amino acid called Tryptophan which can help you fall asleep, also high in protein.
  • Casein Protein Shake – High in protein, and proven to help improve sleep quality

So there you have it, a list of foods that will lower stress and anxiety, help aid weight loss, and improve your sleep. This will all help to boost your testosterone levels long term. Combine these foods with aromatase inhibiting foods, and testosterone boosting foods and you will have the perfect testosterone diet.

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[1] Goh, V. Tong, T. 2010, Sleep, sex steroid hormones, sexual activities, and ageing in Asian men. Journal of Andology31(2): 131-7


[2] Timothy J. A. Key, Liane Roe, Margaret Thorogood, John W. Moore, Graham M. G. Clark and Dennis Y. Wang (1990). Testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, calculated free testosterone, and oestradiol in male vegans and omnivores. British Journal of Nutrition, 64, pp 111-119. doi:10.1079/BJN19900014.


[2] Raben, A., Kiens, B., Richter, E., Rasmussen, L., Svenstrup, B., Micic, S., Bennett, P. 1992. Serum sex hormones and endurance performance after a lacto-ovo vegetarian and a mixed diet. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 24(11): 1290-7


[3] Greenberg, J., Geliebter, A. 2012. Coffee, hunger, and peptide YY. Journal of the American College of Nutrition31(3): 160-6