If you’ve been experiencing symptoms like diminished sex drive, low energy, difficulty losing weight or erectile problems, it’s time to consider some ways you can increase testosterone naturally.
What is testosterone?
Testosterone is widely known for its “manly” effects on boosting competitiveness and desire for power, but it plays a much bigger role in the body than that. It’s crucial to the health of male sexuality and reproduction by increasing libido, sperm count, and sexual pleasure.
Testosterone even improves the sex drive in females—it’s the ultimate libido-boosting hormone! But testosterone has a significant role in overall health and well being as well. It affects muscle mass, hair growth, bone density, and red blood cell development.
Normal levels are critical for normal cognitive function, mood stability, exercise endurance and energy. A low testosterone level can be associated with a variety of symptoms, including decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction, depressed mood, weight gain, reduced lean muscle mass, difficulty with concentration, poor memory, diminished cognitive function, arthritis, and an increased risk of heart disease.
You can have your T level tested by your doctor if you have any of these symptoms to determine if they may be a result of lowered testosterone levels.
Why increase testosterone naturally?
Since testosterone (T) plays such an important role in your sexual health and overall well-being, you want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to naturally maximize your testosterone level.
There are hundreds of products, supplements, and beverages on the market claiming to boost testosterone and improve sex drive. Many (most) of these products don’t work, and studies show that many of these supplements can actually have long-term, negative side effects including liver and kidney damage, hormone imbalances, loss in bone density, and more.
What you consume to help your health shouldn’t harm it. So I’ve created a list of 13 easy, dependable, natural ways to increase testosterone and boost your sexual health and overall vitality.
The first thing that often comes to mind when most people think of increasing testosterone is exercise. They think of huge, muscular men lifting 400lb dumbbells at the gym. And this isn’t entirely wrong.
Studies show that high-intensity exercise boosts testosterone both in the short- and long-term. Short intervals of high-intensity training prove to be more beneficial in producing natural testosterone than prolonged exercise, aerobics, or running.
Strength training can have this high-intensity interval effect on testosterone if it’s intense enough. The way to do this is to increase the weight being lifted, and lower the number of reps. Push yourself harder, for a shorter period of time.
Also, focus on exercises that work a large number of muscles at once to further increase the intensity.
Who knew deadlifts and squats were actually natural ways to increase testosterone? Push yourself as hard as you can for 30 seconds, and then rest (without slowing down your heart rate). Even 20 minutes a day of high-intensity interval training will boost your testosterone and start to build healthy, lean muscle.
Interval training exercise can also help you lose weight, which further increases testosterone levels, according to the Endocrine Society.
2. Eat good fats.
The idea of a Ron Swanson “manly” burger may have some truth behind it. Healthy fats are a natural way to increase testosterone quickly and effectively.
However, not all fat is good fat. Studies suggest that saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are the best predictor of testosterone escalations, while poly-unsaturated fatty acids can actually lower testosterone.
A study by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that men who ate more than 100g of fat per day for 2 weeks had significantly higher levels of free testosterone. This is because fats reduce globulin, the hormone that binds to, and reduces T.
Ask your doctor about finding the right mix of fats in your diet.
Here are some natural ways to increase testosterone by consuming healthy, delicious fats:
Grass-fed beef is the number one source of testosterone-boosting protein with just the right amount of healthy fats. Make sure the beef is organic, because pesticides and insecticides can lower your testosterone.
Eggs are considered the perfect protein because they have all vitamins and amino acids for human needs (except vitamin C). They have mostly SFA and MUFA, and the yolk contains high levels of cholesterol, which is a precursor to testosterone creation.
One of the most comprehensive, natural ways to increase testosterone is consuming coconuts or coconut oil. Coconut is a saturated fat that generates healthy cholesterol while reducing body fat, boosting metabolic rate, and improving cognitive abilities—all of which can help ease symptoms of low testosterone.
Olive oil and argan oil
Cooking with and adding extra virgin olive oil to your food are natural ways to increase testosterone. Olive oil is an anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants, but it also contains elevated levels of oleuropein, a testosterone-loving bitter.
One study found that Moroccan men who added olive oil to their diets saw an increase in testosterone levels by 17%. This study also substituted Argan oil for olive oil, and the testosterone levels increased by about 20%.
Add either—or both—to your daily consumption for a quick (and tasty) boost of testosterone.
3. Consume zinc.
Supplementing your diet with zinc for as little as six weeks can have marked improvement in testosterone levels. Because zinc is a metal, concentrated supplements can have severe side effects on the body. Instead, opt for natural ways to increase testosterone by consuming zinc-rich foods:
- Raw milk
- Raw cheese
- Kefir from raw milk
- Wild Salmon
Oysters are so rich in zinc they can actually boost your testosterone in minutes. No wonder oysters are a sultry (and salty) aphrodisiac!
4. Increase your vitamin D level.
Vitamin D is crucial for the development of the sperm cell and maintenance of high sperm count and quality. A lot of men who suffer from low testosterone symptoms discover that they are deficient in vitamin D as well.
The best way to get vitamin D is by getting some sun (make sure to use sunscreen so you’re not at risk for skin cancer, though). Yes, I am saying that going for a swim, playing basketball, and taking a vacation are amazingly natural ways to increase testosterone.
If it’s cold or you have a tendency to burn, though, there are other natural ways to increase testosterone with vitamin D, like consuming fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel), fortified milk or juice, and egg yolks (back to those healthy fats).
5. Reduce stress.
When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol. A University of Texas Austin study found that cortisol blocks the production of testosterone. This can lead to long-term, low T levels, putting the body in a vicious cycle of stress and diminished testosterone.
Lower your cortisol by managing stress through relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or meditation. Make time to have fun with your family and friends, and find the relaxing methods that work for you.
Consuming garlic can help lower cortisol, because it contains the stress-relieving allicin, which allows the body to effectively continue producing testosterone. Pure pomegranate juice can also lower cortisol levels and enhance testosterone by 24% on average.
6. Consume probiotics.
Probiotics are good bacteria that your gut needs to function properly, leading to digestive health and overall well-being. Recent studies have shown that probiotics may increase testosterone levels, testicular size and weight, and even prevent age-related testicular shrinkage. The reason for this may be that probiotic microbes convert stress-related cortisol into testosterone derivatives, as found by Phillip Hylemon at Virginia Commonwealth University. Fermented foods tend to have probiotics, like yogurt, sauerkraut, and blue cheese. A blue-cheese burger sounds good right about now.
7. Eat more ginger and onion.
Ginger and onion may be the hidden gems of these natural ways to increase testosterone. Ginger improves nitric oxide count and blood flow, which puts your body in the “mood.” In a University of Tikrik study, consuming ginger raised testosterone by 17%. Another study found that adding onion juice to rodent feed increased testosterone levels by almost 200%. There aren’t any studies of the effects of onions on human hormones, but with such significant effects in rodents, it’s worth adding to your diet.
8. Limit sugar intake.
Not feeling sexy after a big slice of cake? That may be more than just your belly talking. Sugar leads to higher insulin, and insulin leads to lower testosterone. The more you cut high-sugar items out of your diet, the higher your testosterone will be.
9. Limit alcohol intake.
Alcohol has been found to have a negative effect on testosterone levels as well as raising estrogen and cortisol levels. Drinking alcohol stimulates the transformation of testosterone into estrogen, which can further lower your bone density and libido. If you tend to drink heavily, this may be a hidden cause of your diminished sex drive. The hops in beer are highly estrogenic—so much so that it is being studied as a treatment for menopausal women. Limiting sugar and alcohol are natural ways to increase testosterone by making simple lifestyle changes that will also improve your overall health and quality of life.
Although a highly debated fact, one cup of coffee a day has been proven to have health benefits. As far as raising testosterone levels, coffee stimulates the nervous system by boosting cAMP levels, which leads to increased testosterone production. One of the most deliciously natural ways to increase testosterone is to drink a cup of coffee before you workout. Caffeine brings your exercise routine up a notch, so you get better effects from your high-intensity interval training—for the same amount of work!
11. Try intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting has been found to have a profound impact on testosterone levels in non-obese men. There are a number of approaches to intermittent fasting, but all include fasting for 24 hours or less as a sort of ‘metabolic reset”. I’ll detail the physiologic effects about this in another article, but for now, consider skipping breakfast as a fairly simple approach to intermittent fasting and a quick way to boost your T level.
Sleep gives your body time to produce testosterone and other hormones. A lack of sleep, on the other hand, produces cortisol—the arch nemesis of testosterone. There is a direct correlation between hours slept and testosterone changes, so get to bed!
13. Have sex.
Now that you’re in bed… Sex can help increase testosterone naturally!
Testosterone gives you a higher sex drive, but the reverse is true too. A higher sex drive also helps to boost your testosterone. Sex is one of the best natural ways to increase testosterone, with so many other added benefits:
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Increased immunity
- Reduced stress and pain
- Increased blood circulation
- Better sleep
- Improved fitness
So, if you boost your testosterone levels and sex drive, your vibrant sex life will, in turn, boost your testosterone, relieve stress, and reduce symptoms of low testosterone.
It’s a win-win-win cycle of natural ways to increase testosterone!
Natural and smart nutrition and lifestyle adjustments can drastically raise your testosterone levels and optimize your sexual health. With these 13 natural ways to increase testosterone, you are sure to find healthy solutions that enhance your sexual drive and enrich your well-being.
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