Introduction – Natural Testosterone Boosters
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone responsible for promoting masculine characteristics. Though testosterone declines naturally with age, some men seek ways to boost their testosterone levels. Several herbal foods may naturally support healthy testosterone production.
This comprehensive article will examine 15 of the top herbal foods believed to increase testosterone based on scientific research.
Ginger is a spice used for thousands of years in folk medicine traditions. The root contains active compounds like gingerols and shogaols that give ginger its pungent flavor. These compounds may also increase testosterone levels.
A 2018 study found that infertile men who supplemented with ginger saw a nearly 18% increase in testosterone levels. Ginger also improved luteinizing hormone and antioxidant status. The researchers concluded that ginger boosts testosterone by increasing cholesterol uptake and steroidogenesis in the testes. Adding fresh ginger to the diet may support testosterone production.
Tribulus Terrestris, also known as Devil’s Weed or Puncture Vine, is an herbal supplement used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The plant contains steroidal saponins like protodioscin that are thought to boost testosterone naturally.
Multiple research studies have found that tribulus terrestris increases testosterone levels in men by stimulating luteinizing hormone production.
One 90-day study reported an average 16% increase in testosterone in men who took 750-1500mg of tribulus extract daily. Tribulus terrestris supplements may boost testosterone levels and improve sexual function in middle-aged and elderly men.
Fenugreek is an herb with many culinary and medicinal uses. It contains compounds like galactomannan fibers and 4-hydroxyisoleucine that support hormone balance. Research shows fenugreek seeds can boost testosterone levels. A 12-week study found that 30g per day of fenugreek extract increased total testosterone levels in men by over 25%. Fenugreek also improved libido and sexual performance. Scientists believe fenugreek enhances testosterone partly by blocking enzymatic activity that converts testosterone to estrogen. Adding fenugreek seeds or supplements to your diet may support healthy testosterone.
There are several species of plants in the ginseng family that have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat sexual dysfunction and boost vitality in men. Compounds called ginsenosides are thought to be responsible for ginseng’s testosterone benefits. Research on Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) shows it can mildly increase testosterone levels. One study found a 15% increase in testosterone after 8 weeks of 3g per day ginseng extract. Similarly, a study on red ginseng (Panax ginseng) found it increased testosterone levels and improved erectile dysfunction in impotent men. Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) has also been found to benefit men’s health. Ginseng seems to modestly boost testosterone while improving sexual performance.
Pomegranate is rich in antioxidants that support several areas of health. Interestingly, pomegranate juice has also been found to increase testosterone levels in men. A 2-week study had men drink 330ml of pomegranate juice per day. At the end of the study, salivary testosterone levels were 24% higher on average. Another study found that 1g per kg of body weight of pomegranate extract increased testosterone levels in elderly men by 24%. The researchers noted benefits to mood and sexual function as well. The polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanins in pomegranate may stimulate testosterone production while decreasing oxidative stress. Drinking pomegranate juice is an easy way to get these benefits.
Oysters have a reputation as an aphrodisiac. This may be partly explained by their high zinc content. Zinc is an essential mineral involved in hundreds of chemical processes in the body. Research shows zinc is critically important for male sexual and reproductive health. Zinc deficiency is associated with low testosterone levels, poor sperm quality, and erectile dysfunction. Just 6 medium oysters provide over 500% of your RDI for zinc. Consuming oysters and other zinc-rich foods can effectively raise testosterone levels, particularly in men who have a deficiency. Oysters also contain amino acids like D-aspartic acid that may increase testosterone.
Garlic is a nutrient-dense herb in the Allium family. It provides manganese, B vitamins, selenium, and antioxidants. The main active component in garlic is allicin, which is thought to provide many health benefits. Research suggests that garlic can support testosterone production in multiple ways. A study found that garlic increased testosterone levels in rats by preventing declines caused by toxins. Additionally, a one-month human study reported increased testosterone levels in men who took garlic supplements. Garlic appears to support testosterone by lowering inflammation, improving metabolic health, and enhancing antioxidant status.
Fortified Plant Milk
Fortified plant milks like soy, almond, and hemp milk are often enriched with key nutrients like vitamin D, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. Deficiencies in these micronutrients are linked with low testosterone. Plant milks also provide plant-based proteins and healthy fats that can further support testosterone. Soy milk specifically contains isoflavones like genistein that may inhibit enzymes that convert testosterone to estrogen. One study on soy foods found increased testosterone levels and sperm concentration in men. Drinking fortified plant milks daily provides essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for optimal testosterone production.
Leafy greens like spinach are loaded with testosterone-friendly nutrients. Spinach provides vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, and iron. It’s also a source of lutein and beta-carotene antioxidants. Multiple deficiency studies show that low vitamin K status is associated with decreased testosterone production. Spinach and other leafy greens are among the best sources of vitamin K. The nutrients in spinach all support testosterone production directly or indirectly by reducing oxidative stress. Adding spinach to your diet through smoothies, salads, and side dishes can increase your intake of testosterone-boosting nutrients.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale have several health-promoting properties. These veggies contain indole-3-carbinol, a compound that may help balance testosterone levels. Research has found cruciferous vegetables protect testosterone from declining due to oxidative stress. Other studies show supplements containing indole-3-carbinol can reduce estrogen activity and increase the testosterone to estrogen ratio. The fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in cruciferous vegetables also support testosterone production. Eating cruciferous veggies daily promotes hormone balance in men.
Lean cuts of organic beef offer many nutritional benefits. Beef is an excellent source of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins – all nutrients that support healthy testosterone levels. Grass-fed beef also contains conjugated linoleic acid, a fat linked with increased testosterone. Organic and grass-fed beef has higher antioxidant content as well. Research shows that eating lean beef can increase testosterone levels. One study found men who ate lean beef daily for 30 days experienced a 6.6% increase in testosterone. Consuming organic beef in moderation may boost testosterone production while providing high quality protein.
Brazil nuts are perhaps the best dietary source of selenium – an essential mineral for reproductive health in men. Just one Brazil nut provides over 100% of your daily selenium needs. Selenium plays a critical role in testosterone production. Studies have found that selenium deficiency is associated with lower testosterone levels in men. Furthermore, research shows selenium supplementation can raise testosterone over long periods. Brazil nuts also provide magnesium, zinc, and antioxidant compounds that benefit testosterone. Adding a few Brazil nuts to your diet daily is one of the easiest ways to optimize selenium intake.
Beans including lentils, black beans, and chickpeas are very nutrient-dense. They provide protein, fiber, zinc, folate, and magnesium. Beans and legumes have numerous benefits for men’s health. Research suggests the antioxidants and minerals in beans may help elevate testosterone levels. One randomized controlled trial found that diabetic men who consumed bean soup daily for 8 weeks had increased testosterone. Beans have also been found to reduce inflammation and improve metabolic health, factors connected with better testosterone production. Incorporating beans into your diet a few times a week can provide valuable nutrition to support testosterone.
Varieties of shellfish including clams, mussels, and shrimp are packed with testosterone-boosting nutrients. Shellfish provide vitamin D, selenium, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B12. They are also among the best food sources of taurine, an amino acid important for male reproduction. Additionally, clams are rich in D-aspartic acid that may directly stimulate testosterone synthesis. In one study, men with erectile dysfunction saw a significant increase in testosterone after consuming clam meat. The minerals and amino acids in shellfish support testosterone production and reproductive health.
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are excellent sources of vitamin C. Research shows that vitamin C plays an important role in regulating testosterone levels. Vitamin C supplements have been found to increase testosterone concentrations in men with adequate dietary intake. This effect is likely because vitamin C reduces oxidative damage to cells and preserves testosterone molecules. Citrus fruits also support immunity, heart health, and collagen production – factors connected with healthy testosterone. Getting enough vitamin C from whole food citrus fruits optimizes testosterone function.
Many herbal foods may help support healthy testosterone levels when incorporated into a balanced diet. Foods like oysters, spinach, pomegranate, ginseng, beans, and Brazil nuts provide key vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and compounds that can stimulate testosterone production.
Eating a variety of unprocessed, nutritious foods ensures you obtain all the nutrients your body needs for optimal testosterone function. While more research is still required, a diet high in these testosterone-boosting herbal foods may help maintain levels as you age.