Let’s face it fellas, we are all on a quest to boost our testosterone. We all want that youthful rush of hormones swimming through our bloodstream. Why do we crave this? To help us destroy our workout sessions. To have women chase us around like a dog chases squirrels. To have boundless amounts of energy. Whatever the benefit of high testosterone may be, we want it.
The marketing of low T as a common medical condition helped propel sales of testosterone gels, patches, injections and tablets to about $2 billion in the United States last year, according to IMS Health, a health care information company. In 2002, sales were reported to be a mere $324 million; around that time, Solvay Pharmaceuticals, which was then marketing AndroGel, began using the term “low T,” replacing a previous euphemism for male aging, “andropause.” Today the low-T trend is global. From 2000 to 2011, there was “a major and progressive increase” in testosterone use in 37 countries, according to a recent study published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Some men like to believe those outrageous claims made by pharmaceutical companies without first testing out the natural, healthier, and more sustainable holistic approach.
While those other men spend thousands of dollars on a miracle solution, we will be smarter than that and follow the food protocol outlined in this article that has been proven to bolster testosterone levels beyond your desire. Now that is a legitimate claim!
What follows is a list of 6 key foods you should be eating often. These foods will not only boost your testosterone production, they also have numerous benefits that I will discuss and provide you with eye popping case studies.
If you have any of the following symptoms you will benefit significantly from this article.
Decreased muscle mass
Low sperm count
Organic Grass Fed and Grass Finished Red Meat:
Red meat is full of zinc; this mineral is important for testosterone production, and supplementing your diet for as little as six weeks has been shown to cause a marked improvement in testosterone among men with low levels. 1
Likewise, research has shown that restricting dietary sources of zinc leads to a significant decrease in testosterone, while zinc supplementation increases it2 — and even protects men from exercised-induced reductions in testosterone levels.3
It’s always better to get your vitamins and minerals from whole foods but sometimes supplementation is wise, and this seems to be the case for zinc. This article is about whole foods, if you are interested in my top supplements for boosting T Levels, click here.
Keep in mind, most people deplete the nutrients in your food by the way you prepare it. For most food, cooking it will drastically reduce its levels of nutrients like zinc … particularly over-cooking.
Getting back to the beef. You may be wondering “what the heck is grass finished?”
There’s a lot of confusion about the term “grass-fed,” and in many cases, it’s an abused term like the word “natural.” Some producers of beef will misuse this term because the rules around it are still somewhat undefined.
Most all calves are fed grass for a certain amount of time. This is one factor that allows less scrupulous producers to get away with calling their beef grass-fed. The key to a truly grass-fed product is actually the finishing. Optimal beef is both grass-fed and grass-finished beef.
Some of the benefits of grass-fed and grass-finished beef include higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and other healthy fats.
It also has a more balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6. Modern food, in which processed foods and vegetable oils dominate, has led to a dramatic increase in omega-6 over omega-3.
Compared to a century ago, we now have 100,000 times higher intake of omega-6, which does not bode well from a health perspective.
Substituting processed vegetable oils with healthy animal fat is a good approach that will help optimize your health and testosterone levels.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats, and anything that keeps your heart beating strong helps keep blood flowing to the right places.
About a year ago, a UCLA study.4 showed that eating half a medium Hass avocado with a hamburger made of 90% lean industrial grade CAFO beef inhibited creation of the inflammatory compound Interleukin-6 (IL-6). Unfortunately, the researchers did not disclose what the animals were fed before they were turned into hamburger. In any case, even toxic meat from chemically treated sick animals is less inflammatory when you eat it with avocado.
A summary of the study by Medical News Today.5 reported that plain burgers caused a 70% increase in IL-6 four hours after a meal, but only a 40% increase when avocado was included. Interestingly, avocado did not cause an increase in triglyceride levels even though it’s made of mostly fat. Triglycerides are caused by fructose digestion more so than by eating healthy fat. Another finding was a 27% reduction in peripheral blood flow after the meal with no avocado, but only a 4% drop when there was avocado.
Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat (about 2/3 of the fat is monounsaturated) and nutrients, especially potassium, B vitamins, 11 different carotenoids, and vitamin E. Here at Hacking Hormones we recommend that 50 to 70% of your calories coming from healthy fats. Since avocados have a good amount of fiber, almost no sugar (1g per 150g of avocado), and almost no protein (about 3g per 150g of avocado), you can eat tons of them instead of eating carbs or excessive protein.
Avocados have a very thick peel. The peel helps to block pesticides from entering the fruit. That means it’s mostly safe to eat non-organic avocados. However, we still prefer organic avocados when we can purchase them because we value the soil integrity of our planet.
Avocados do more than just boost your T production and keep your heart healthy:
Liver Health: A Japanese study8 found laboratory rats, when fed a liver toxin that interferes with cell synthesis and kills cells, suffered the least amount of liver damage when they were fed avocados compared to 21 other fruits. The chemical toxin mimics viral hepatitis damage, so the researchers believe avocado might be a good idea in cases of viral hepatitis.
Here is how we eat our avocados
Bulletproof® Guacamole recipe:
Four large ripe Haas avocados, peeled
2-4 T Brain Octane or Upgraded XCT Oil (it will taste horrible if you use coconut oil, and these oils are 18 times or 6 times more concentrated than coconut oil, with no flavor so the natural avocado flavor explodes)
2 teaspoons or more of Himalayan salt (to taste)
1 T dried organic oregano
1-3 tsp of apple cider vinegar (to taste)
Blend everything with a hand blender until it is very creamy. Stir in chopped cilantro and jalapenos (if you tolerate nightshades) or other herbs of your choice.
The end result is like guacamole on steroids. The flavor is much more intense because of the effect of the esters from the Brain Octane on your taste buds. You won’t miss the onions and garlic common in most recipes. (These medical herbs taste good but have negative effects on your performance, unless you’re sick.)
Guacamole made this way keeps you full for longer and is amazing on top of grass fed meat, sushi, or salads.
Organic Raw Brazil Nuts:
Brazil nuts are the richest known source for bio-active selenium in the whole planet, and selenium has been linked to elevated testosterone levels.9 Brazil nuts are actually so rich in selenium, that even as little as 1-2 Brazil nuts can easily fill the daily requirements of selenium.
Brazil nuts are filled with antioxidants known for protecting your sensitive testosterone molecules from oxidization. Recent studies also show that certain antioxidants will stimulate the leydig cells to produce more testosterone.10
During the process of naturally elevating my testosterone nearly 400%; one of the daily protocols I followed was eating 6 brazil nuts per day. I starting making brazil nuts a staple in my diet after reading the great book “The 4 Hour Body” by Tim Ferriss.
Asparagus is considered to be a natural aphrodisiac; a main reason for this is because it’s rich in folic acid and potassium; the former nutrient is a form of complex vitamin that aids in the production of chemicals that enhance sex drive. Asparagus contains a high level of vitamin E, which stimulates the production of testosterone.
Asparagus is one of the most nutritionally balanced plant-derived foods! Asparagus has vitamin A (also known as retinol because it produces pigments in the retina), E (has strong antioxidant properties, meaning it reduces oxidative damage caused by oxygen, which can harm human tissue, cells, and organs, and lower T levels), and K (which helps your blood clot), magnesium, zinc and selenium, as well as fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, iron, copper, and manganese.
As the above list shows, asparagus leads the pack in the wide range of nutrients it supplies, as well as amounts. A 5.3 ounce serving of asparagus provides a whopping 60% of the recommended daily allowance of folate. Besides keeping your heart healthy, folate is necessary for blood cell reproduction, especially in bone marrow, normal growth, and liver disease prevention. Studies have shown folate, also known as vitamin B9, to be a significant factor in the prevention of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.11
Let’s brush up on the importance of magnesium (which asparagus has a good amount of). Studies have shown that magnesium intake affects the secretion of total IGF-1 and increases testosterone bioactivity.12 This observation suggests that magnesium can be a modulator of the anabolic/catabolic equilibrium disrupted in elderly people. Magnesium was positively associated with total testosterone and with total IGF-1. After further adjustment for body mass index (BMI), log (IL-6), log (DHEAS), log (SHBG), log (insulin), total IGF-1, grip strength, Parkinson’s disease and chronic heart failure, the relationship between magnesium and total testosterone remained strong and highly significant. In a cohort of older men, magnesium levels are strongly and independently associated with the anabolic hormones testosterone and IGF-1.
Magnesium plays many physiological roles including the following:
It enables the production of enzymes that allow vitamin D to help with calcium absorption and bone building.
It relaxes the central nervous system and plays a primary role in cardiovascular health.
It promotes deep sleep which is crucial for testosterone production and muscle repair.
It is especially important for athletes because it must be present to enable forceful muscle contractions.
It supports energy use and blood sugar regulation; low magnesium as been directly linked to diabetes risk.13
I know the title of this article says “6 foods”, but I’m going to throw in some bonus information regarding foods rich in magnesium to add to your T boosting list;
organic raw pumpkin seeds
kale and chard
T- Boosting Recipe: Avocado and Asparagus Salad
Ingredients:(Always buy organic if possible)
2 pounds asparagus, thick ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 ounce raw organic almonds
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add asparagus and cook until bright green – 2 to 3 minutes. Remove, rinse under cold water, and drain. Combine asparagus, avocados, lemon juice, almonds and lemon zest in a large bowl; toss gently to coat.
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, parsley, cilantro, mint, vinegars, sugar, salt, and pepper. Pour over asparagus mixture and toss gently. Serve immediately or chill for 2 hours.
Organic Cruciferous Vegetables:
Cruciferous vegetables are highly regarded as anti-estrogenic; it’s role are especially helpful for preventing hormonal cancers, such as breast cancer, because some ITC, such as indole-3-carbinol (abundant in broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage), can even help the body excrete estrogen and other hormones.14 In fact, new research has shown additional anti-estrogenic effects of both indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane (most abundant in broccoli); these ITCs blunt the growth-promoting effects of estrogen on breast and cervical cancer cells.15-17
Researchers have now discovered that estrogen also plays an important role in many of the processes previously thought to be relegated to testosterone alone.18
For example, they’ve determined that, in men, testosterone deficiency accounts for decreases in lean mass, muscle size and strength, while estrogen deficiency was the primary culprit when it came to increases in body fat. Both testosterone and estrogen were found to be important for sexual function, and a deficiency in either had a negative impact on the men’s libido.19 According to the lead author, Dr. Joel Finkelstein, an endocrinologist at Harvard Medical School:
“Some of the symptoms routinely attributed to testosterone deficiency are actually partially or almost exclusively caused by the decline in estrogens.”
Despite individual variations, Dr. Finkelstein’s research offers valuable insight into the function and behavior of estrogen and testosterone at different levels in a man’s body. For example, they found that less testosterone is actually needed for muscle maintenance than previously thought. They also found that:
In young men, the average testosterone level is about 550 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl)
Muscle size and strength does not become adversely affected until testosterone levels drop below 200 ng/dl, which has previously been considered extremely low
Fat accumulation, however, increases at testosterone levels of 300-350 ng/dl, due to its impact on estrogen
Libido increases steadily with simultaneous increases in testosterone and estrogen
Please note that men are NOT advised to take estrogen replacement therapy, as this could cause feminization, such as enlarged breasts. As your testosterone levels rise, your body will automatically produce more estrogen, so the key is to maintain your testosterone level.
Organic Pastured Free Range Eggs:
There’s a reason why old school strong men would drink raw eggs — studies have suggested that higher fat and cholesterol consumption results in increased levels of total T20; men eating low-fat diets typically have decreased testosterone levels.21
When purchased from a reputable source eggs can be one of the healthiest foods in the world.
How do you shop for eggs? Do you fall for fancy words such as “added omega 3!”, “cage free” and “all natural”? Or do you conduct your own research to dig deeper into the truth?
Why should you care about whether or not your eggs are truly organic AND free-range/pastured?
Because organic, pasture raised hens are healthier, live longer, and produce eggs with superior flavor and nutritional content than their factory-raised counterparts. Organic eggs also tend to be more expensive, so why shouldn’t you get everything you pay for? A hen that has been in a crowded pen simply will not produce as healthful an egg as a hen that has been pastured, even if she’s fed an all organic diet…
Simply put, the healthier the hen, the healthier her eggs, and outdoor access is a major part of optimal health for food producing animals.
An egg-testing project performed by Mother Earth News in 2007 found there were significant differences in nutrition between factory-farmed and organically raised eggs.22
Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene