"Here, try this, it'll put hair on your chest."
If you've ever heard that phrase from a more adventurous friend and immediately thought that it was a load of bull, then it just might blow your mind to discover that certain foods can actually result in a swath of hair cropping up on the space between your navel and your neck.
Testosterone is the hormone that is in charge of making men, well, men. A deep voice, development of sperm, bone density, and yes, even chest hair are all directly related to this sex hormone. On the other hand, if you've noticed a gradual decline in your sleep quality, sex drive, and mood, low testosterone may be the culprit.
Fortunately, giving your testosterone levels a kick in the pants is fairly simple and doesn't require a total upheaval of your life. There are many foods that boost testosterone and, combined with some basic lifestyle changes, you can find yourself back to your normal manly self in no time.
Take a Hard Look at Your Lifestyle
If you've noticed yourself getting a little thick around the middle, your sleep is suffering, and you've set exercise to the wayside, you may be inadvertently sabotaging your own virility. In today's hectic, hustle-and-bustle way of life, it's far too common to choose career advancements over health and fitness. However, long-term neglect of these aspects of your life can be detrimental to your well-being as well as your masculinity.
Research has indicated that obesity can cut the testosterone levels in men in half. Nearly one-in-four overweight men may be at risk of low testosterone, but by modifying your lifestyle and losing weight (to the tune of about 17 pounds), your risk of low testosterone drops by 46%. By shedding the weight and filling your pantry with foods that boost testosterone, you can kill two birds with one stone.
In addition to eating right, you can also boost your testosterone with exercise and snagging a good night's sleep. Lifting weights has been demonstrated to boost testosterone in men of all ages, and even a brief stint with cardio can reap significant benefits. Reward yourself with a hot shower and crawl into bed early and aim for a full 8-hours of sleep to maximize your testosterone boosting benefits.
Eat Like a Man
Certain foods have been shown to restore testosterone serum levels, especially in men who have been deficient in these essential vitamins and minerals.
For instance, men who were low in Vitamin D found that supplementing their diets with it resulted in significant improvement in testosterone levels. Men need 600IU of this vitamin daily and foods rich in it include sockeye salmon (570IU per 3-ounce portion), eggs (46IU each), and fortified milk (120IU per cup).
Low zinc is fairly common and is linked with hypogonadism (low sperm count) in men, but getting enough of this mineral can vastly improve testosterone levels. Aim for 11mg daily of this mineral from foods like tri-tip steak (3.9mg per 3-ounce serving), raw oysters (5.5mg each), and cashews (1.6mg per ounce).
An amino acid called d-aspartic acid has also been shown to contribute to higher testosterone levels. While there's no set RDA for this amino acid, it's plentiful in various protein sources and easy to include in your diet. You can find it in chicken breast (2.32g per 3 ounces), peanut butter (1.06g per 2 tablespoons), almonds (0.78g per ounce), and black beans (0.92g per 1/2 cup cooked).
If you were worried about sacrificing pleasure or flavor when trying to eat foods that boost testosterone, think again. Garlic, which is the exact opposite of bland, also improves testosterone levels. And lastly, everyone's favorite drink -- coffee! -- is shown to improve testosterone, so enjoy that latte in the morning without worry.
One Full Day Example Meal Plan to Boost Testosterone
In addition to a healthier lifestyle, there are several foods that boost testosterone that you can sneak into your diet. These foods are unquestionably delicious and the fact that they can make your testosterone levels higher is just an added bonus of consuming them.
Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with Cheese; Coffee with 2% Milk
Lunch: Fajita Bowl with Brown Rice, Black Beans, Sauteed Chicken, Tomatoes, Bell Pepper, Avocado, Cheese, and Sour Cream
Dinner: Tri-Tip Steak with Roasted Garlic-Herbed Potatoes and Steamed Broccoli
Dessert: Chocolate Ice Cream with Sliced Bananas and Chopped Peanuts
By stepping up your fitness game, ensuring you get plenty of sleep at night, and integrating foods that boost testosterone into your diet, you can find yourself with renewed vigor and health. Over time, with these lifestyle changes, you may find that you'll feel like a young man (both in and out of the bedroom!) once again.
Still struggling with questions about boosting testosterone and achieving hormonal balance?
- Men's Health: Reliable Food Choices To Support Hormonal Balance
- Naturally Boosting Your Testosterone With These Easy Hacks
- Women's Health: Clean Eating Strategies For Hormonal Balance