If you are trying to get Strong and Lean…you NEED to have a healthy to high level of Testosterone surging through your body at all times! The importance of this hormone can not be over stated. That means if you have low t-levels, you need to find a way to healthily increase testosterone naturally.
What Exactly is Testosterone?
Testosterone is a hormone that the male and female body both produce, although men produce considerably more testosterone than women. This hormone stimulates the development of male secondary sexual characteristics. These include…
- Growth of Body & Facial Hair
- Broadening of Shoulder Complex
- Increased Muscle Mass
- Increased Muscle Strength
- Lower Body Fat %
Testosterone is also a steroid that can be injected intramuscularly, in order to induce a more anabolic environment. This helps to speed up muscle repair and growth in the human body. This is likely what you’ve heard a lot of negative press about. And rightly so! Testosterone injections, patches, gels, and other prescription applications work very well at raising testosterone, but they have side effects, cost a ton, and aren’t a good option for many of us.
The Lameness of Low Test…
Testosterone (known often as test, t, and a couple other nicknames) is needed for the body to properly function. The human body will die much sooner then it should and would, if its Test levels are low for long periods of time. (source)
The amount of Test you have in your body is measured in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) of blood. This is called Total Testosterone, and these are the ranges of low to high levels… (source)
Men —> 280 to 1,100 ng/dL
Women —> 15 to 70 ng/dL
You can see the difference between men and women here. For men it is important to be closer to the 1,000 number…that is if you are interested in feeling and looking…both stronger and healthier.
There are a LOT of not so awesome things that happen when a male has low levels of Testosterone. See below for the list of not fun, and uncomfortable consequences of having low Test…
- Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence: inability to develop or maintain an erection)
- Fatigue (Lack of Energy)
- Loss of Muscle Mass
- Loss of Strength
- Increased Body Fat
- Mood Changes
- Low Sex Drive
- Loss of Hair
- Increased Estrogen Levels
- Higher Cortisol Levels
- Inflammation in Joints and Tissue(s)
Test Boosting Nutrients…
This is where it gets interesting. There are a LOT of misconceptions when it comes to exactly which foods will naturally increase your testosterone levels. For example, Protein is thought to have a substantial impact on your hormone levels. This is not true.
(Please note that I am not a dietician, and I am not implying that I am making a dietary prescription of any kind. This is merely the advice that I have received, that I have researched, and that I follow. Everyone’s body is different and if you have any questions you should consult a doctor or dietician)
Protein is undeniably instrumental in the repairing, and rebuilding of all muscle tissues throughout the human body. But the scientific fact is that, the amount of Protein you eat has very little effect on how high or low your Testosterone levels will be. (source)
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat Protein. In fact, I would still suggest 35%-40% of your diet contain lean Protein. This will allow you to cultivate and maintain a lean and strong body.
Fats are where it’s at! Saturated and monounsaturated fats are some of the most powerful nutrients you can consume in order to raise your natural Testosterone levels. (source)
Fruit is made up of fructose, which is a simple Sugar. All sugars are Carbohydrates (Carbs). If you are trying to decrease your body fat, you want to avoid consuming large amounts of sugars throughout the day. This is because a Carb will promptly turn into a stored fat inside of the body…if it is not quickly used as an energy source.
Now when it comes to raising your Test levels…you want to consume the “right kind of Sugar.” That would be a Fruit that contains a considerable amount of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that hinder the formation of free-radicals within the body.
Free-radicals are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron. They are responsible for destroying healthy cells…and have been linked to all sorts of horrible diseases like cancer, dementia, diabetes and others. (source)
What to Avoid…
Cortisol is another steroid found in the human body. Raised levels of cortisol lower the body’s natural Test levels, and wreck havoc on the repair and growth of muscles.
Cortisol is released in large quantities, specifically when the body experiences Psychological and Biological Stress. Cortisol levels are also elevated when there is a low concentration of blood-glucose in the bloodstream.
This is where the term “low-blood sugar” comes from.
The fastest way to lower your cortisol level, and avoid the creation of free-radicals is by consuming fruits that are packed with enough antioxidants to fight the good Testosterone fight. (source) This will ensure that your Test levels stay at a healthy, and high level.
High Cortisol levels can not coincide with naturally elevated Test levels. It is a Yin and Yang concept. Only one of these steroids can be elevated at one time. So you need to make sure you are consuming enough Antioxidant-rich fruits throughout the week.
Test Boosting Fruits…
In the Fats department, there are several tasty treats you can add to your daily diet, to bump up your Test levels. The trick is not to overindulge, and make any of these Fat-based foods…the primarily source of food for any of your meals.
(Again, a disclaimer that I am not nor am I attempting to take place of your doctor or dietician. Take these suggestions as informational only please)
As with any healthy diet, I suggest that you consume 25%-35% worth of fats in every meal.
The range is dependent on what kind(s) of fats you are ingesting.
Meaning that if you are only eating saturated fats like bacon or peanuts…then stick with the 25%. But if you are eating monounsaturated, or polyunsaturated fats like most fish or avocados…then go ahead and make fats 35% of your diet.
Test Boosting Fat (foods)…
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Egg (especially the Yolk)
- Raw Nuts (Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts and Macadamia Nuts)
- Grass Fed Beef (fatty cuts)
Test Boosting Vitamins & Minerals…
There are two substances that are crucial to helping you boost your natural Test level. They are Vitamin D and the Mineral Zinc. You can get both of these substances by consuming foods that are rich in either of these. I will be giving you a list of foods that are high in both soon.
Unfortunately it is difficult to ensure that you will maintain optimal levels of these substances, by eating alone. This is why I suggest you supplement your diet with both Vitamin D and Zinc. You can find a bottle of either one of these substances, in most grocery or supplement stores throughout the country.
Vitamin D helps you maintain your natural Test levels, as well as combat depression, mood swings and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It also fights off a host of deadly diseases.
Suggested Supplementation Levels for Vitamin D are between 1,000-4,000 IU’s a day.
You can go outside to get some extra Vitamin D too. Natural sunlight prompts the human body to create Vitamin D.
The only thing you need to be very aware of, is that too much sunlight can give you skin-cancer. So either limit your sun exposure, or use sunscreen when needed.
Dr. Stephen Honig suggests you aim for around 20 to 25 minutes a day of unblocked natural sunlight. This is a good…safe amount of daily exposure. (source) This will give you the Vitamin D boost you need, while keeping that evil cancer-beast at bay.
If you are wanting to up your Vitamin D through food consumption. Here is a list of foods that are quite high in Vitamin D.
Vitamin D Rich Foods…
- Fatty Fish (Tuna, Mackerel, Salmon, Herring)
- Egg Yolk
- Canned Sardines
- Beef Liver
- Beans (White & Black)
Healthy Zinc levels will keep your Test levels high too.
Zinc is a trace mineral that is not created inside the human body. The body also does not store zinc effectively…therefore you must always either eat foods that are rich in Zinc, or supplement your diet with this mineral.
The recommended Daily Dosage of Zinc Supplementation for adults is 8 mgs for Females and 11 mgs for Males. (source)
Consuming Zinc rich foods is fairly difficult. A few of the foods that have a significant amount of Zinc are common place…but most are not.
Zinc Rich Foods…
Beans (Kidney & Lima)
Test Boosting Herbs…
Herbs are another form of “food” you should include in your diet…if you want to boost your natural Test levels. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Herbs as a “a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities.” (source)
Take a look at our list of top 5 best testosterone boosters.
Best Herbs for Test boosting purposes….
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species of the onion genius Allium. It is grown and sold all over the world. I am sure you are familiar with its potent smell and taste.
This aroma heavy herb has been used as a food garnish for centuries. It has also been proven to raise test levels in rats who consumed garlic cloves. (source)
Garlic contains “allicin.” This is a bio-compound that lowers cortisol levels in humans.
As I discussed previously…high Cortisol and high Test levels can not coexist within the human body. So allicin will will lower your Cortisol level, which in turn will give your Testosterone the room it needs to level up.
Horney Goat Weed
Horney Goat Weed (Epimedium) is a flowering plant primarily found in Asia. The most relevant Test related ingredient in this Herb is “icariin.” It has been shown to “increase the level of circulating testosterone.” (source)
One of the most effective ways to get your daily 3-5 grams of Horny Goat Weed is by drinking tea that has this Test boosting flower in it. You can also supplement your diet with over the counter Horny Goat Weed pills.
Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum) is a leafy plant that is cultivated all over the world. The leaves of this planet are found in quiet a few Indian dishes, because of its agreeable flavor profile.
Fenugreek has been used as a Testosterone boosting supplement for years. Interestingly enough…this leafy plant has had a more profound effect in another related aren.
Fenugreek has been shown to substantially boost the male libido.
When this Herb is consumed…it has a “significant and positive effect on the physiological aspect of (a males) libido.” (source) This study also notes that Fenugreek “may assist to maintain normal and healthy testosterone levels.”
What about Tribulus?
Those of you well versed with the ingredients often found in natural testosterone boosters may have noticed that we’ve left off the fairly commonplace ingredient, Tribulus Terrestris. We recently came across a number of studies indicating that tribulus had little to no effect on strength/muscle gain. See here the research I’m talking about.
There you have it! There are many ways to make sure your Testosterone levels are raised naturally and that you are getting Strong & Lean as you train and eat!