13 Best Foods That Increase Testosterone (Benefits Revealed)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: July 18, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. Learn more.

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone, and having low levels affects men quite negatively.

As a fitness trainer for over a decade, I’ve seen many people reach for unsafe and illegal means, like steroids, to deal with this issue.

However, certain foods can be one of the healthiest ways to combat low testosterone levels effectively.

Over the years, I’ve spent hundreds of hours examining various foods, their nutritional profiles, and their potential to increase testosterone levels.

And recently, I’ve refreshed my knowledge with an endocrinologist specializing in nutrition.

Quick Summary

  • To naturally boost testosterone levels, include foods like fatty fish, ginger, eggs, and avocados in your diet, each offering unique nutrients that support hormonal health.
  • Avoiding foods and habits that can lower testosterone, such as excessive alcohol, trans fats, and certain dairy products, is essential for maintaining hormonal balance.
  • A study from the Endocrine Abstracts website found that pomegranate juice increased salivary testosterone levels by 24%, demonstrating the impact of diet on hormone levels.
  • In my opinion, consistently incorporating these testosterone-boosting foods into a balanced diet can significantly improve overall health and well-being.
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13 Best Testosterone-Boosting Foods

Top view of seafoods with testosterone boost

1. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are excellent for boosting T-levels.

Additionally, they’re also a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (which help keep your heart healthy) [1].

If you don’t like the taste of fish, you can also take omega-3 or fish oil supplements to boost testosterone, as one recent study found that the intake of fish oil supplements was associated with better testicular functioning, which is essential for producing testosterone [2].

Even animal studies from the National Center for Biotechnology Information website replicated these results, indicating fish oil supplementation improves semen quality and serum testosterone levels [3].

If you’re overweight or suffer from obesity — something that can cause your testosterone levels to drop significantly — dietary supplementation of fish oil may help you raise your levels, according to another study from the PubMed website [4].

Examples of oily fish include the following:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Sprats
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Pilchards
  • Herring

2. Ginger

Close up image of ginger

I've personally found ginger to be a powerhouse for boosting testosterone. Adding it to my daily diet, both in meals and as a supplement, has significantly helped in improving my fertility and overall energy levels.

Modern research shows that daily ginger supplementation may increase your testosterone levels, especially in infertile men [5].

It does this by supporting the production of:

  • Follicle-stimulating hormone - which helps control sperm production
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) - which signals the testicles to produce testosterone

Additionally, other research shows that dietary ginger might enhance testosterone production by encouraging various testosterone-boosting mechanisms [6].

That’s why we advise all new clients, especially those who are overweight and obese, to add ginger to their diet.

Daily supplementation of 4 grams is usually more than enough to make a difference [7].

3. Oysters and Shellfish

Oysters and shellfish are treasure troves of zinc, as they contain more zinc than any other food [8].

And zinc is an essential element for reproductive function and sperm health [9].

Research shows that men with zinc deficiency may develop impotence and hypogonadism (a condition in which their bodies don't produce enough testosterone) [10].

In younger males, it can even lead to delayed sexual maturation [11].

All of these are symptoms of low testosterone.

However, oyster meat is quite expensive in most places (especially in the US), so it’s still beneficial even if you have it once in a while (as long as you’re eating other foods to boost your testosterone levels).

4. Eggs

Eggs inside a tray

In my experience, eggs have been a staple for boosting testosterone. Their affordability and high protein content have made them a go-to choice in my bodybuilding regimen, contributing significantly to my muscle growth and energy.

Eggs are rich in vitamin D, which makes them potentially very beneficial for men suffering from low testosterone levels. Some studies show that men with low vitamin D supplementation tend to have lower testosterone than men with higher vitamin D levels [12].

Additionally, vitamin D is also essential for maintaining strong bones and enhancing your immune system, all of which add to improving your T-levels [13].

“Eggs are another food that can help maintain testosterone levels as a result of their rich nutrient profile. The key nutrients in this case are the healthy fats, which offer a similar benefit to fish, and selenium.”

- Dr. Kristin Gillespie, Certified Nutrition Support Clinician

5. Fortified Plant Milk

A study from Hormone and Metabolic Research found that vitamin D is an essential nutrient that can have a positive effect on men’s testosterone levels [14].

Plant milks such as soy, hemp, almond, and flax are usually enriched with a good deal of vitamin D per serving.

However, it's best to check the label before making a purchase.

6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil inside a bottle

As a staple of the Mediterranean diet, olive oil has many health benefits, including lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer [15] [16].

A small study found that olive oil may boost serum testosterone levels in men because it seemed to improve male reproductive health [17].

Participants of this study also experienced an increase in LH, which is responsible for stimulating cells in the testes to produce testosterone.

7. Pomegranate

Results from a 2012 study found that pomegranate juice may boost testosterone levels in both men and women [18].

The study’s results found that drinking pure pomegranate juice increased salivary testosterone levels by 24%.

Pomegranates can also act against mechanisms that negatively affect testosterone levels.

For example, pomegranates can protect against obesity-induced inflammation [19].

8. Bananas

Banana slices inside a bowl

Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and bromelain [20]. The enzyme bromelain has been associated with testosterone [21].

And from what I’ve observed, bananas can also indirectly affect your T-levels by serving as an excellent pre-workout meal.

And consistent good workouts on their own can result in natural testosterone increase [22].

9. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chard are excellent testosterone boosters for vegans and vegetarians.

The key testosterone-boosting component in these foods is magnesium [23].

There are some other excellent sources of magnesium [24] such as: 

  • Whole wheat
  • Quinoa
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tofu
  • Edamame
  • Black beans
  • Peanuts

10. Avocados

Avocado slices on a plate

Another popular testosterone-boosting food that's highly popular in the US is avocado.

A half-cup serving of avocado contains 1.07 mg of boron, which exceeds your minimum daily requirement [25].

Scientific evidence shows that boron may benefit testosterone levels; however, more research is needed to understand how it does so [26].

Avocados are also rich in magnesium, which we’ve seen above, is linked to healthy T-levels.

11. Onions

Onions are an excellent food that increases the production of LH, which, as we've seen before, is responsible for producing testosterone in males [27].

However, most studies on the testosterone-boosting effects of onion were done on animals.

More research needs to be done with human trials. Nevertheless, onions have several other health benefits that could indirectly boost your testosterone levels.

12. Cocoa Products

Top view of cocoa powder

Cocoa products, like cacao nibs and cocoa powder, are high in flavonoid antioxidants and magnesium, both of which may help increase testosterone levels.

The flavonoids in cocoa — quercetin and apigenin — may stimulate the Leydig cells of your testicles to increase your testosterone levels [28].

In addition to being an excellent testosterone booster, cocoa is also very palatable, so it’s easy to incorporate into the diet for most people.

Related Article: Does Dark Chocolate Boost Testosterone

13. Honey

Honey is rich in the mineral boron, which is associated with increased testosterone levels, building strong bones, enhancing muscle growth, and improving cognitive abilities [29].

A spoonful of honey can be too much of a flavor burst for a more sensitive palate.

So, we recommend eating honey with other foods (preferably testosterone-boosting foods) to make it more palatable.

Foods and Habits To Avoid

Alcohol and soy drink

There are certain foods you should avoid because they may lower your testosterone [30].

Here’s the list: 

  • Soy products
  • Dairy products
  • Mint
  • Alcohol
  • Trans fats
  • Licorice root
  • Pastries and desserts

There are some other habits to avoid for maintaining healthy testosterone levels [31].

The most impactful ones are the following: 

  • Avoid consuming tobacco products and alcohol binging
  • Manage your stress levels
  • Avoid pain medication and opioids
  • Avoid excessive weight gain or obesity (preferentially through exercise)

Why Are Healthy Testosterone Levels So Important For Men?

A healthy body of a male individual

Healthy testosterone levels are important for men because they help regulate sexual function, promote bone health, control fat distribution, and increase muscle mass, strength, sperm count, and red blood cell production, among many other health benefits [32].

Because it’s the primary male sex hormone, low testosterone levels in men can lead to a host of health problems [33].

Here are some of the most common symptoms of low testosterone:

  • Decreased muscle mass and strength
  • Increased body fat
  • Deteriorated bone health
  • Enlarged breast tissue (gynecomastia)
  • Depressive mood swings
  • Infertility
  • Shrinking testicles
  • Reduced sex drive and male reproductive health

What Are Some Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally?

Some ways to naturally increase testosterone levels are getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, and taking natural testosterone booster supplements.

Here’s how they help:

  • Get plenty of sleep: Getting quality sleep at night is one of the best ways to raise testosterone levels. This is because most of your testosterone production occurs when you’re asleep [34].
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise is known to increase your levels of free testosterone over time [35].
  • Natural testosterone boosting supplements: Natural testosterone boosters are a safe and effective way to boost your T-levels. Unlike steroids, natural testosterone boosters supplements work by enhancing your body’s natural ability to increase testosterone.

FAQs

How Fast Will Testosterone-Boosting Foods Increase My T-Levels?

Testosterone-boosting foods will increase your T-levels in a matter of weeks. Additionally, this will depend on various factors such as how low your T-levels currently are, how much you work out, your lifestyle, etc.

Can Eating Testosterone-Boosting Foods Increase Your T-Levels Like Steroids?

No, eating testosterone-boosting foods won’t increase your T-levels like steroids because they both work differently. T-boosting foods increase your body’s natural testosterone levels.

Steroids work as an external source of testosterone.

What Are Optimal Testosterone Levels For Men?

Optimal testosterone levels for men will primarily depend upon your age. Most doctors agree that a normal reading falls between 300 to 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) [36].

What Should I Do If Testosterone-Boosting Foods Don’t Work For Me?

If testosterone-boosting foods don’t work for you, you should visit a doctor and figure out if you need testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). This is usually administered in the form of gels, patches, pellets, or injections. It can improve signs and symptoms of low T-levels in men [37].

Does Coconut Oil Increase Testosterone?

Yes, coconut oil increases testosterone levels, primarily because some evidence is emerging that saturated fatty acids, particularly the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut butter, promote testosterone production.

How Does Gut Health Influence Testosterone Levels?

Gut health plays a crucial role in hormone regulation, including testosterone levels. A balanced gut microbiome aids in the proper absorption of nutrients essential for hormone production and balance.

Can You Provide Some Testosterone-Boosting Recipes?

Testosterone-boosting recipes often include ingredients like fatty fish, leafy greens, and nuts. Simple recipes like grilled salmon with spinach or a nut-rich trail mix can be both delicious and beneficial for increasing testosterone.

What Are the Best Cooking Methods to Preserve Testosterone-Boosting Properties of Foods?

Cooking methods like steaming or grilling can help preserve the nutrients in testosterone-boosting foods. Avoid overcooking, especially with vegetables, to maintain their vitamin and mineral content.

Which Herbal Supplements Are Known to Enhance Testosterone Levels?

Herbal supplements like ashwagandha, fenugreek, and ginger are believed to have a positive impact on testosterone levels. These herbs work by various mechanisms, such as reducing stress or improving metabolic functions, to support hormonal balance.


References:

  1. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-types/fish-and-shellfish-nutrition/
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2758861
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4948075/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33221700/
  5. https://www.iasj.net/iasj?func=fulltext&aId=71548
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6316093/
  7. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265990
  8. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6010824/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8875519/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29870301/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33076711/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21154195/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29141571/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8751986/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23472458
  18. https://www.endocrine-abstracts.org/ea/0028/ea0028p313
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7912458/
  20. https://www.medindia.net/health/diet-and-nutrition/health-benefits-of-bananas.htm
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25604346/
  22. https://www.webmd.com/men/features/exercise-and-testosterone
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20352370/
  24. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318595
  25. https://www.webmd.com/diet/foods-high-in-boron#2
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712861/
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6406961/
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7139932/
  29. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-894/boron
  30. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325186#boost-testosterone-naturally
  31. https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/tools/improving-low-testosterone-naturally.asp
  32. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/understanding-how-testosterone-affects-men
  33. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15603-low-testosterone-male-hypogonadism
  34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/
  35. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7739287/
  36. https://www.webmd.com/men/features/keep-testosterone-in-balance/
  37. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/testosterone-therapy/art-20045728
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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