Sex hormones are of two broad types; estrogens and androgens. Among human beings, these hormones are naturally produced in the form of estradiol and testosterone. Estrogen (and progestogen) is categorized as sex hormones of females. Androgen (mainly testosterone) is called as male sex hormone. This hormone is essential for males to develop tissues relating to sexual function – tissues such as prostate and testes. This hormone also plays a vital role in rendering male-specific characteristics – such as growth of hair on men’s body, density of bones and muscles. In order to maintain a healthy life, it is important for your body to make sufficient quantities of testosterone. Inadequate levels of this sex hormone can lead to impairment of bone health. It is also known to result in conditions such as osteoporosis or bone loss. Thankfully, there are a few foods which can increase your testosterone levels.
In males, testosterone is made by the testes. Though women can also make it in their ovaries, the levels are incomparable. Testosterone in fully grown-up men can be as high as approximately 8-times more than that made in women. This hormone plays a key role in development of sperm cells. A normal level of this testosterone is associated with overall wellbeing – especially, cardiac health as well as to avoid likely incidence of autoimmune conditions like cancers. A significant increase in testosterone is observed in men during times of sexual intercourse. Hence, a strong link is believed in exist between levels of this sex hormone and ability to get sexually aroused. Levels of this hormone decrease sizeably as men get old. In general, its levels are known to drop as soon you become a father. It is also widely believed that such dropped levels can help in paternal caring and nursing.
Androgens – such as testosterone – are also believed to influence women’s sexual desires. It is one of the reason why testosterone-based drugs – available as dermal patches – can help women overcome a few types of sexual disorders. These patches can be of help to women who have aged; especially those who have reached menopause.
Deficiency of testosterone
This sex hormone sets the right tone to a man’s central nervous system (CNS). In women – though the hormone is present in smaller levels – testosterone helps sexual health and wellbeing. In both genders, deficiency of this hormone is likely to impair metabolic health. A testosterone-deficient condition is often linked to several medical conditions. Most noteworthy among them are chronic spells of inflammation, obesity (especially at the abdominal region), decrease in levels of good cholesterol (also known as high density lipoprotein – HDL), hypertension, increase in blood sugar levels as well as likely risks of cardiac disorders.
The typical range of testosterone in men is nearly 400 to 975 nanograms / deciliter (ng / dL). Men with low levels of testosterone are likely to have it at less than 300 ng / dL. As per established urological agencies – such as AUA, as high as 3 in 10 men aged 80 or above are likely to have reduced levels of this hormone. In their 60s and early 70s, nearly 2 in 10 men may have this deficiency.
Key symptoms observed in men with low levels of testosterone
Your body is likely to experience a wide range of signs when this hormone hits a low level. The most common among the signs you may experience include inability to have or sustain a penile erection (this is due to the lower levels of nitric oxide – an essential substance that triggers the erection of penis), reduced output of semen (this essential liquid is the medium for movement of sperm cells), sizeable decrease in libido or urges to have sexual intercourse, loss of hair (male baldness along with loss of facial and body hair), etc.
There are a few other symptoms which are often associated with drop in testosterone levels. These are decrease in muscular mass (though it often does not show up as loss of functional capability or strength), reduced levels of energy or persistent weariness, depression as well as other mood shifts, increase in fat levels in your chest or abdomen, thinning down of bone-mass (osteoporosis; an autoimmune disorder which is common among aged women; can affect men with low levels of testosterone), shrinking of size of your testes, memory lapses, anemic conditions, etc.
Foods you can have to boost testosterone levels
You can boost your testosterone levels either by taking a synthetic shot from your treating doctor. However, this synthetic approach can often lead to multiple side effects. One such effect is the permanent shutdown of your body’s ability to make this sex hormone. In other words, you may end up taking these shots for a lifetime.
A shots-based approach has inherent limitations. But, you can boost testosterone levels in a natural manner. A few naturally available foods serve as best dietary supplements to boost its levels. A comprehensive list of such foods includes –
Seafood – especially, oysters
In general, foods with high amount of zinc stored in them are known to boost testosterone levels. Not only zinc, sea foods such as oysters have significant loads of magnesium and protein contents. Like zinc, magnesium is also endowed with properties to boost the levels of this sex hormone. People who take insufficient levels of proteins report a drop in libido. No wonder – oysters score high on this count as well! This amazing sea food has abundant quantities of proteins. Needless to state, all these goodness make this seafood as the most favored choice to boost testosterone levels.
Brazil nuts –
These nuts work as superfoods to increase the level of testosterone in your body. Most nuts such as Brazil nuts are endowed with abundant amounts of fatty acids – especially of the monounsaturated as well as saturated types of fats. Of all the other types of nuts, Brazil nuts also have high levels of selenium in them. This is another super ingredient which works to build-up testosterone. The good news is – you need not have to take a large quantity of these nuts. All you will need is only a handful of them! Yes, all it takes is only a few numbers of Brazil nuts to provide you with the daily dose of selenium.
Fish such as salmon and tuna-
Omega 3 fats are known for their inherent ability to give a boost to testosterone. Salmon is a rich source of these fatty acids. These substances can also enhance the production of luteinizing hormone; it is another important prerequisite to help your body make more testosterone. Zinc – available in abundance in seafood – is a super substance to increase testosterone levels. Salmon is another food that has copious levels of zinc in it. Presence of zinc in your diet has a direct bearing on the testosterone levels. Dietary studies establish a reduced intake of zinc and a marked reduction in the levels of this sex hormone; on the other hand, addition of zinc to daily diet has shown a substantial raise in the production of this sex hormone.
Another benefit which is associated with the intake of salmon is its vitamin D content. This essential vitamin can be effortlessly sourced from sunlight. But, people who do not exposure to needful sunlight can depend on salmon to meet this important need.
Olive oil of the extra virgin type –
This oil has plenty of healthy fats in it. It is widely considered a standard food item to increase testosterone. Not stopping with it, extra virgin form of olive oil can also safeguard your heart and help keep mood shifts such as depression at bay. As an added benefit, olive oil is also known for its capabilities to boost the functioning of your brain. The notable levels of antioxidants help relieve oxidative stresses from building up deep inside. Its anti-inflammatory properties ensure better wellbeing and can suppress risks associated with a likely incidence of autoimmune medical conditions. In a closely monitored test, use of olive oil boosted testosterone by more than 15% within a fortnight.
One of the best known foods to trigger an enhanced production of nitric oxide is garlic. It is notorious for its ability to adversely change your breath; but, it is loaded with amazing powers to increase your testosterone levels. Intake of this food can promote your blood vessels to make a substance called hydrogen-sulfide. This substance is known for its ability to streamline flow of blood to all parts of your body. It is also a reason why garlic is recommended as a powerful remedy for blood circulation related disorders such as hypertension, erectile dysfunction or male impotence. Not stopping with these benefits, garlic is also known to impart added immunity to your body. It is hence not surprising that it can be used in decreasing the adverse effects of near-fatal conditions such as atherosclerosis.
By this time, you might have rightly guessed the connection between healthy fats and testosterone levels. On this note, avocado score high as a reliable source for fats of the healthy kind – especially of the monounsaturated type. As high as 3/4th of its calories are fats-based; this makes it one of the fat-rich foods known to mankind. This wonder food is full of healthy fats as well as potassium. It is widely used as a treatment option for several conditions such as high levels of cholesterol, autoimmune disorders like arthritis, obesity, etc. The excessive amount of fiber content in avocado helps boost your metabolic health. A pronounced level of stressful hormones – such as cortisol – is known to control the extent of testosterone your body makes.
This Mediterranean fruit is viewed as a powerhouse of antioxidants. Owing to the loads of benefits, this fruit is eaten in most parts of the world. Pomegranate owes most of its powers to punicalagin; this is an antioxidant with greater powers to resolve oxidative stresses – especially in the testes. Studies indicate that an intake of pomegranate (in juiced from) raised the sex hormone levels to more than 22%. The fruit is thus known for its ability to optimise testosterone more than many other foods. Its capability to improve the quality of sperm cells is widely attributed to the benefits it offers to boost hormonal health.
You may be already aware that eggs are a rich source of natural proteins. Yolk of eggs is where the boosting powers reside. The yolk – which is rich in cholesterol – helps boost the levels of testosterone. As an added goodness, egg yolks have plenty of vitamin D. This essential vitamin can be easily obtained by sitting under the sun for a while every day. But, people living in countries where sunlight is very scarce, egg yolk can serve as one great food to source vitamin D. In general, the yolk carries more dietary supplements and health benefits than the white of eggs. But, if you have a high level of cholesterol, it is strongly recommended to consult your treating doctor before starting to take egg yolk. So, if you have the consent of the doctor, you can add an egg to your breakfast plate and make your body ready for an enhanced supply of testosterone.
It can be surprising to know that carbs can help increase your testosterone levels. The catch however is, not all types of carbs can do this. Carbs present in grains can trigger a substance called prolactin; this substance can actually reduce the levels of this sex hormone. But, carbs present in potato can yield a different benefit. These carbs can help your body to make more of this sex hormone. You can choose from a wide range of varieties, namely red potato, white potato, sweet potato, etc. These humble tubers add loads of essential nutrition and can be consumed in many ways. For example – chips made of potato – as long as they are not fried in oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids – are also a reliable source of energy.
There are a lot more superfoods which can help your body to make needful amounts of testosterone. Some of these foods are coffee (low levels of consumption are recommended as coffee can also boost the release of cortisol – a stress substance), raisins (primarily due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and above all, its ability to supply boron – a serving of 100 grams can yield nearly 3 mg of boron), ginger (has natural androgenic properties and has gingerol – a key substance endowed with unique anti-inflammatory strengths), parsley (this herb has the powers to move cholesterol to cells in your testes, and thus makes way for an increased production of testosterone), etc.
You are also advised to stay aware of the side effects of excessive presence of testosterone. In men, it can lead to increased levels of discomforts such as being in an irritated state of mind, changes in sexual desires as well as reduction in the size of your testes. Among women, it can lead to a few skin conditions, growth of facial and body hair, etc. It can also result in increase in muscular mass among girls and can also impact their genital heath.
On the other hand, low levels of testosterone can lead to erectile dysfunction, decrease in quantity of semen and decreased desire to have sex, etc. In some men, it can also lead to baldness and loss of facial hair. Men may also see a reduction in their muscular bulk, report persistent episodes of fatigue, depression, fatty abdomen, memory lapses and anemia. In general, it is highly recommended to talk to your doctor or a qualified diet expert before starting to take foods that can boost testosterone levels.