By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Tue 25 September 2018
Medical Review by Dr. Stefano Pizzo, MD & Dr. Vlad Belghiru, MD
Few of the most often asked questions I get are: what do I eat to maintain high testosterone levels, and if I have a specific list of recommended foods that increase testosterone naturally. While there are many food related posts scattered around this blog, I’ve never really made an all-around post about what I would put into a high T pantry. Until now.
In this massive article, you will basically get a 30 item shopping list of foods that boost testosterone in men with all the nitty-gritty explanations about why the foods are great for the endocrine system.
If you didn’t already know, high testosterone offers benefits such as:
better sexual health and libido
increased ability to gain and maintain muscle mass
mental focus and clarity
If you’re a frequent reader here in AM, you already know that carbohydrates are hugely important for healthy testosterone production.
You also know that grains are not the preferred source of carbs, mainly due to problems with gluten, which can significantly increase prolactin levels, effectively messing up T production.
Simple sugars are also not the preferred carbohydrate sources on a high T diet since they have been linked to lowered testosterone levels in multiple studies.
Ruling out grains and simple sugars may make it look like you can’t eat any carbs, except for salad, but that’s not the case.
You can – and should eat – potatoes as part of a testosterone boosting diet!
Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, russets, red potatoes, purple potatoes, etc. If it’s a potato, you should be eating it. Potatoes are excellent no-gluten source of testosterone boosting carbohydrates, and also very dense in nutrients. Stock pile your pantry full of them, and make potatoes your main carbohydrate source. Heck, if you can find potato chips that haven’t been laden with polyunsaturated fats, go for those too.
2. Macadamia Nuts
Dietary fat, in general, is known for its testosterone increasing effect, and nuts in general, are very high in fats. So one could easily assume that all nuts are pro-testosterone. However, that’s not the case.
The kinds of fats that have been linked to increased T production are saturated fatty acids (SFA) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on the other hand tend to lower testosterone levels.
Most nuts are – unfortunately – loaded with PUFAs.
Not macadamia nuts though. 100 grams of these wonderful little fat balls contain ~75 grams of dietary fat, out of which 60 grams are MUFAs, 13 grams are SFAs, and less than 2 grams are PUFAs.
Did someone say perfect for testosterone production?.
3. Palm Kernel Oil
Palm kernel oil is one of the best oils you can consume when the goal is higher testosterone levels.
Because it has high amounts of saturated fat (80%) which is the type of fat that seems to be most effective in raising testosterone.
Palm kernel fat is also low in polyunsaturated fat (PUFA). Which is great, as PUFA is the type of fat that is most prone to lipid peroxidation, and found time after time to be one of the foodstuffs that effectively suppress androgenic hormones.
On top of the good fatty acid ratios, palm kernel is also rich in naturally occurring vitamin E, a micronutrient that both increases testosterone levels, and can mitigate the free radical damage caused by a high PUFA diet.
In traditional societies, the bones and connective tissue of meat-giving animals were generously enjoyed, giving the consumer a great balance of amino acids.
In more recent cultures, we have started eating only the muscle-meat, tossing away the connective tissue, bones, and organ meat.
The problem with that is the fact that we are getting too much of the amino acids tryptophan and cysteine, and too little of the amino acids proline and glycine (both of which act as crucial neurotransmitters for the body).
To correct this, you could eat some bone broth and animal organs, but there’s also an easier way…
…Gelatin. It’s an incredibly dense source of connective-tissue protein, providing you with ~27% glycine and ~15% proline. It’s also tasteless, so you can easily scoop it straight on with a spoon.
Why would gelatin be pro-testosterone then? For starters, once you balance out the neurotransmitters in your body, your sleep quality and hormonal signaling will improve, this alone will lead to significant increases in testosterone and life-quality.
Who doesn’t love a cup – or five – of strong coffee?
Coffee is great. It gives you the caffeine which stimulates the nervous system and jolts you up, while also boosting cAMP levels, leading to increased testosterone production.
Sure coffee can also increase cortisol levels (which is a stress hormone notorious for lowering testosterone), but it’s crucial to understand that the cortisol boost from caffeine is very short in duration, not like the T suppressing long-term (usually stress-related) cortisol elevation.
Oh, and coffee is also loaded with antioxidants. So again, there’s no need to start avoiding coffee, just don’t drink it like a madman for every hour of the day.
6. Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are shelled in a thick cone, so technically they’re seeds, but due to their nut-like taste and structure, people have always called them nuts.
They do not have as good fat ratios for testosterone production as the macadamia’s do (100 grams of brazil nuts has 15g SFA, 25g MUFAs, and 19g PUFAs), but their true testosterone boosting potential is not in the fat ratio…
…It’s in the ridiculously high selenium content. 100 grams of Brazil nuts contains 1917 mcg of selenium, which is 2739% of the RDA%!
Selenium – mostly due to its glutathione stimulating effects – is directly linked to increased testosterone production (study, study), and just a handful of Brazil nuts a day is easily enough to cover your selenium needs, naturally.
NOTE: Most of the selenium is in the skin of the nut, so don’t buy your Brazil nuts unshelled.
7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil can be straight on labeled as a testosterone booster.
Since there’s literally a study where young Moroccan men changed to extra virgin olive oil as their main source of fat, and in 2 weeks their testosterone levels increased by 17%.
This could have been caused by the fact that olive oil has a pretty darn great fat ratio for T production (73% MUFAs, 14% SFAs, 13% PUFAs), or it could also be the fact that olive oil is anti-inflammatory, or that it’s ridiculously high in antioxidants. It also contains the possible testosterone boosting bitter glycoside; oleuropein.
Just make sure your olive oil is the real deal. Organic. Extra Virgin. And from a trusted brand. Many cheaper olive oils have been heated, processed, and adulterated with cheaper oils (usually high PUFA ones too).
Raisins are a great food that boosts testosterone levels for multiple reasons.
Firstly, they’re anti-inflammatory and chock-full of antioxidants, such as resveratrol, which has been linked to increased testosterone and lowered estrogen levels in a few studies (study, study).
Secondly, 100 grams of raisins contain ~3 mg of boron, which is a not too popular mineral that has increased testosterone levels quite significantly in a few scientific studies (study, study).
So, it’s not a bad idea to make your own testosterone boosting snack trail mix with raisins, macadamia nuts, and brazil nuts.
Parsley is a great little plant. That’s because of a compound in it called apigenin.
The researcher at Texas tech found out that apigenin increases the amount StAR (steroidogenic acute regulatory protein) inside the testicular Leydig cells.
Why is this great you might ask? Well, StaR is the binding protein that transports cholesterol into the mitochondria inside your ballsack, essentially converting it to free testosterone.
So, more parsley -> more StaR -> better conversion from cholesterol to free testosterone -> more free testosterone.
Bottom line: You better be consuming parsley.
Ginger is a common household spice, but it can be used to many other things than just to add flavor to foods.
Ginger contains the active ingredient, gingerol, which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent in the body.
Not only that, but several animal studies have identified ginger as an androgenic compound (study, study), while one Iraqi human study noted a 17% increase in testosterone levels after ginger supplementation.
So not a common household spice alone, but also a powerful androgenic anti-inflammatory agent. And cheap.
11. Raw Cacao Products
Raw cacao, cocoa, or chocolate products are nutritionally dense testosterone boosting superfoods.
However, I’m not talking about the chocolate or cacao that most people identify as chocolate. Real chocolate is not heated (this destroys the antioxidants and many vitamins), it’s not processed, and it’s definitely not refined.
It’s this unheated, minimally processed, and essentially RAW version of chocolate that maintains the antioxidants, enzymes, and friendly gut bacteria. It’s also the RAW chocolate that is linked to increased cardiovascular health, lowered blood pressure, and lowered blood glucose levels. Not the junk on the candy shelves.
But why are raw chocolate and cacao products an awesome food that boosts testosterone production?
First, of, they’re loaded with antioxidants and jam-packed with minerals, such as magnesium, zinc, manganese, iron, and copper…
…and not only that but raw cacao products have pretty much perfect fat ratios for testosterone production too. For example, out of the dietary fat in raw chocolate ~61% is saturated fats, ~37% is monounsaturated fats, and only ~2% is polyunsaturated (depending bit on the manufacturer).
So, chock-full of antioxidants, live bacteria, and enzymes. Full of testosterone boosting minerals. It also has perfect fat ratios, making raw cacao products a powerhouse food that boosts testosterone levels.
Eggs are considered “the perfect protein” since they contain a nearly perfect balance of amino acids for human needs.
Eggs are also highly nutritious, containing nearly all of the recognized vitamins (with the exception of vitamin C).
They also have good fatty-acid ratios for testosterone production. 38% saturated fats, 44% monounsaturated fats, and only 18% polyunsaturated fats.
The most important factor that makes eggs a high-T food, is the fact that the yolk contains hefty doses of cholesterol, which like you might already know, is the direct precursor of testosterone.
NOTE: I know that many people get scared about cholesterol and fats in the yolk, but there’s no need to. It has been scientifically proven that regular egg consumption on a daily basis does not negatively influence your cardiovascular health (study, study).
13. Unprocessed Salt
There’s a huge difference between real crystal, sea, or rock salt when compared to the usual “table salt”.
That is, real unrefined and unaltered salts are bit clumpy and they have about 60+ trace minerals in them.
The basic table salt on the other hand? It’s usually got 2. Sodium and chloride. Rest is stripped away.
What more? Well, the processed table salts can have up to 3% anti-caking agents, which are often unhealthy heavy metals like aluminum silicate or sodium ferrocyanide.
This is all done because of increased profits, aka. longer shelf-life.
14. Argan Oil
Argan oil is the oil pressed from the argan tree kernel. It’s heavily used in the Mediterranean diet.
Previously in this article, I mentioned a study where olive oil, a main source of fat for 2 weeks, was able to increase testosterone levels by 17% in healthy young Moroccan men.
Well, in that same study there was another group too. A group that used virgin argan oil as their main source of dietary fat for 2 weeks. Their testosterone levels increased by ~20%.
Much like olive oil, argan oil is anti-inflammatory and has a lot of antioxidants. It also has pretty good fatty-acid ratios for T production (not as good as olive oil does, though).
Anyhow, there’s clinical evidence showing how it boosts testosterone by 20%, so you better be eating this.
These fatty fruits are often deemed “bad” by the low-fat idiots. And this is because unlike many other fruits, 77% of the calories in an avocado come from fats.
If you’re a frequent reader here in AM, you already know that increased dietary fat intake is directly correlated with increased testosterone production. And not only that, but the types of fat that increase T seem to be saturated fats (SFAs) and monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), while polyunsaturated (PUFAs) actually tend to lower testosterone (more here).
In the view of the above, we can see that avocados are a great food that boosts testosterone naturally. Since they contain a lot of dietary fat, from which 16% is SFAs, 71% is MUFAs, and only 13% is PUFAs.
Avocados are also loaded with fat-soluble vitamins, many of which are crucially important for healthy testosterone production.
16. White Button Mushrooms
I used to eat these only as a pizza topping, and since they are mostly water, I was under the notion that white button mushrooms probably won’t do Jack-shit health wise.
As usual, I was wrong.
White button mushrooms are loaded with polysaccharides, and in multiple studies, they have been found to exert anti-estrogenic effects, since they seem to naturally block the aromatase enzyme which converts testosterone to estrogen (study, study, study).
Similar anti-estrogenic effects have been noted with other mushroom varieties too, but white button mushrooms seem to be the strongest shroomy aromatase inhibitors identified so far.
17. Baking Soda
I use baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) more as a supplement (pre-workout, and for increased T) than a grocery item, but since it can be bought at any supermarket, it fits perfectly to this list.
Why baking soda you might ask? Well, firstly because it is a great ergogenic aid that can dramatically improve your squat and bench press performance, cellular adaptation to HIIT, and can be used to supercharge your creatine supplements.
And then there’s also the fact that sodium bicarbonate tends to act as a molecular switch for the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). And increased cAMP levels – as you might already know – correlate with increased T production since cAMP activates protein kinase A and serves as a secondary messenger between cells and hormones (study, study, study, study, study, study, study, study, study).
It’s also about $7 per lb.
As of late, there has been a lot of evidence suggesting that prebiotics, probiotics, live enzymes, and other kinds of friendly bacteria could have a positive impact on testosterone production.
Few examples: In this 2014 study, a bunch of researchers tested multiple different diets with added Lactobacillus Reuteri on male rodents. In every single case, the addition of L.Reuterii to the feed increased testosterone levels, increased luteinizing hormone levels, increased testicular size & weight, prevented age-related testicular shrinkage, improved semen parameters, and even increased markers of social domination.
Another rodent study found out that increased exposure to healthy gut microbiomes led to elevated testosterone levels. And one even saw that the probiotic Clostridium scindens can literally convert the stress hormone cortisol into androgens inside the gut.
So, how do you nourish the gut flora and colonize those healthy probiotics, prebiotics, and friendly enzymes into your intestines more effectively? Simple, by eating fermented foods, which naturally have the friendly bacteria and enzymes.
Yogurt is a great example and an awesome food that boosts testosterone levels. It contains the L. Reuteri and C. Scindensis, and several other – yet unresearched – probiotic strains.
19. Grass-Fed Beef Jerky
Grass-fed beef is perhaps the number #1 source of testosterone boosting protein.
It’s high quality, not corn-fed, has awesome amino-acid balance, and even the fat in it is saturated, which is the kind of fat linked to biggest increases in testosterone production.
Not to mention that grass-fed and organically grown animals are not exposed to testosterone-lowering pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or insecticides. They’re also not pumped full of estrogen, like conventional cattle often is.
I developed a deep love for beef jerky in the military since it’s probably one of the healthiest foods you can carry as a “snack”. And there’s no way I would leave it out from a testosterone boosting foods list.
20. Minced Meat
Every time I visit my local grocery store, I leave with at least a couple kilo’s worth of organic minced meat.
There’s a good reason for that. Minced meat is fucking awesome.
Whether it’s beef or a mix of beef and pork or even lamb, you’re getting plenty of high-quality testosterone boosting fats, along with some animal protein that your endocrine system craves for.
Minced meat is almost like a staple in many testosterone boosting recipes. It’s so easy to use, tasty, and pro-testosterone. Why not load up with it?
NOTE: I use organic meat since I don’t want to eat meat that has been treated with estrogen (to make the meat-giving animal fat). If you can’t afford organic/grass-fed minced meat, it’s better to buy the kind with the lowest amount of fat, since that’s where the trace hormones tend to accumulate.
There have been some very interesting study results about pomegranates as of late.
In this human study, daily pomegranate juice consumption for 2 weeks increased salivary testosterone levels by 24%, while also dropping diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
Another human study associated long-term (1-3 years) pomegranate juice consumption to -35% reduction in the arterial plaque. Pomegranate juice also protected LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage and dropped blood pressure as seen in the above study.
In test-tubes, few compounds extracted from pomegranates have found to be anti-estrogenic.
22. Blue Cheese
As you can see from the “yogurt” subheading above, fermented foods are excellent for testosterone production, since they contain the probiotics, prebiotics, friendly bacteria, and enzymes associated with increased T production (study, study, study).
Just like in the case of yogurt, blue cheese is also filled with that friendly gut bacteria, live enzymes, and the like.
On top of that, blue cheese contains hefty amounts of testosterone boosting saturated fat, and certain testosterone boosting fat-soluble vitamins, like the K2 for example.
Blue cheese goes perfectly in dressings, dips, between hamburgers, etc. It’s a super simple way to add some T boosting goodness to your meals.
23. Dark Berries
Dark berries like blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, and so forth have always been identified as healthy.
And why wouldn’t they be? The darker the berry, the higher the antioxidant content, and the more antioxidants you consume, the less inflammation and oxidative damage take place in your body.
The result of that should be significantly increased testosterone production and testosterone molecule preservation.
Not only the antioxidants but berries are quite low in calories while being chock-full of nutrients.
They also contain the unique fiber called Calcium-D-Glucarate, which can potentially help your body to remove excess estrogen.
24. Grass-Fed Butter
Grass-fed butter is an amazing food that boosts testosterone and should be the staple in every testosterone boosting diet.
It’s a quality source for T boosting SFAs, while also containing the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, K2, and D, all of which are linked to increased testosterone production.
Just remember that it has to be real butter, and preferably from grass-fed cows. Margarine and other kinds of spread mixes are high PUFA and likely suppress testosterone.
Get the real deal, the same stuff your ancestors used, then use it with cooking, in coffee, as is, whatever. Your body will thank you.
Ever since I started seeing evidence of gluten being a potential prolactin booster and thyroid suppressant, I have been limiting my intake of grains and focusing more on potatoes as my main carbohydrate source.
I’ve seen nothing but good results health-wise from limiting grain consumption, but sometimes I just yearn for some floury grains, bread and the like.
I’m not completely anal about not eating grains, but since I discovered sorghum (a gluten-free androgenic grain), I have been substituting some of the more gluten heavy grains with it.
I was pleasantly surprised to even stumble upon this in-vitro study where sorghum extract increased 5 alpha-reductase levels by 54% (this should lead to increased DHT conversion).
Note: If you really want to increase DHT, check out the DHT Unleashed Program.
26. Coconut Oil
Look no further than the alternative medicine community, and you will see NOTHING but praises about coconut oil. And even though I don’t always agree with their ideologies, coconut oil really is kind of damn healthy.
It has been shown to improve cognitive abilities, increase testosterone production, increase thyroid hormones, boost metabolic rate, and so forth.
Being mostly saturated fat, it also fits well to the optimal testosterone boosting fatty-acid ratios.
NOTE: Despite being high in saturated fat, coconut oil doesn’t cause any cardiovascular problems (study, study, study). Does anyone even believe anymore that saturated fat would be the culprit anyway?
27. Organic Bacon
Bacon is pretty amazing. Not only does it have a heavenly taste, but it’s also packed with high-quality animal protein, testosterone boosting saturated fats, and the direct precursor of testosterone: cholesterol.
In my opinion, you should only eat organic bacon, though.
Because of the mass production, conventional pigs are fed with GMO soy and corn, and they’re living in such horrid conditions that they’re pumped full of antibiotics to ensure that the pigs won’t get any inflammatory diseases, and then they’re fed & injected with ridiculous amounts of estrogen and growth hormone to make the pigs fatter and bigger in record times.
That last part is crucial. Because of the high fat content of the pig meat, the hormone residues are much more of a concern. You see, the adipose tissue (fat) is exactly where the hormone traces can be found.
So, organic estrogen-trace free bacon is a great food that boosts testosterone naturally, but the conventionally raised stuff should be avoided. You’re better of using some lower fat conventional meats if you can’t afford organic bacon.
Pretty much all kinds of onions are loaded with anti-inflammatory phytochemicals and antioxidants. Some of which are potentially testosterone boosting, like apigenin and quercetin.
It’s not a big surprise that in several rodent studies, onions have increased testosterone and produced androgenic effects (study, study, study).
Possibly the sickest result so far comes from this study where onion juice added to male rodents feed, increased testosterone levels by ~300% on average. Hard to say if the results are skewed or if this applies to humans at all, but it’s still quite fascinating.
I have never seen any human data on the hormonal effects of onions, but there’s potential and onions can add a great punch to many foods, so why not?
Despite the fact that garlic can give you a foul breath, it’s also capable of increasing your nitric oxide levels by ~200% when taken in combination with vitamin C. Making it a stupidly cheap pre-workout booster.
There’s also a rat study where rodents on a high-protein diet, saw significant increases in testosterone and drops in cortisol after garlic supplementation.
I have no idea what would cause this rise in testosterone after garlic consumption, but it could be caused by quercetin, anti-inflammatory effects, a high amount of antioxidants, or its vasodilating effects.
Whatever it is, garlic is a food that boosts testosterone levels and is definitely worth the money.
Oysters are a staple in many testosterone boosting foods lists out here on the internet.
Not for nothing. They are absolutely jam-packed with zinc, magnesium, selenium, copper, and vitamin D. All of which are crucial for testosterone production.
Oysters also contain high-quality protein, including some of the more rare amino acids (like the possible testosterone boosting D-aspartic acid).
The legend says that the 18th-century ladies man – Casanova – ate 50 oysters for breakfast. You know, maybe he was on to something.
Conclusion on Foods that Boost Testosterone Levels
Utilizing these 30 testosterone increasing foods in your diet can result in some great results.
So the next time you’re out grocery shopping, get some of the above items and try incorporating them in your diet for couple of weeks, you’ll see the benefits yourself.
About Latest PostsAli KuoppalaAli Kuoppala is the founder of Anabolic Men. He has authored and co-authored multiple men's health books and focuses on uncovering the methods of optimizing hormonal health. To date, his articles on various websites have been read more than 15-million times. To read more about Ali, visit his Medium article. Latest posts by Ali Kuoppala (see all)