Optimise Testosterone with DietPosted on : September 12, 2023
by Ashleigh Feltham Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
Optimise Testosterone with Diet
Testosterone is an important hormone for men’s health. It creates a healthy libido, promotes strong bones, supports muscle growth and erythropoiesis, or the production of red blood cells. There are many factors that affect your levels of testosterone, and one of these is diet.
There are a number of nutrients that play important roles in the production of optimal testosterone levels. These include:
Correct Calorie Count
Being either overweight or underweight is linked to reduced testosterone levels. A diet that provides the right number of calories to reach and maintain a healthy body weight is a key component to achieving optimal testosterone levels. Meeting the amount of serves in each food group recommended for good health promotes a well-functioning body. Whole foods not only provide calories, but a matrix of nutrients to support your health, including optimal levels of testosterone.
Enough Good Fats
Fats are needed to produce testosterone. This does not mean that excess fats are superior; a healthy balance of unsaturated fats is ideal. The sweet spot for testosterone levels seems to be around 30%. One systematic review and meta-analysis found that men who followed a low-fat diet of 20% had 10-15% lower testosterone levels than those men who followed a high-fat diet of 40%.
It is important to include the types of fats that support optimal testosterone levels. Monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats seem to have a positive effect on testosterone. Monounsaturated fats can be found in foods like avocado, extra virgin olive oil and nuts. Omega-3 fats can be found in good amounts in fatty fish, such as sardines and salmon. Omega-3 fats can also be found in plant foods like chia seeds, walnuts and hemp seeds.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a hormone in your body. It has been found that men with low levels of vitamin D have significantly lower levels of testosterone than men with optimal levels. Vitamin D is best sourced from the sun, but can also be found in foods such as seafood, dairy, egg yolks and fortified products.
Adequate amounts of zinc in your diet is important. Zinc is a mineral that has a direct link to testosterone levels. Foods rich in zinc include seafood, meat, poultry, nuts, seeds, legumes, and wholegrains.
Magnesium is a mineral that is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. Several studies report a link between adequate levels of magnesium and levels of testosterone. Good sources of magnesium include wholegrains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans.
Flavonoids are a phytonutrient found in plants. They have many health-promoting effects in your body, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant functions. They also have aromatase inhibitors, which prevent the conversion of testosterone to estradiol, the primary form of oestrogen in your body. Foods rich in flavonoids include fruits, vegetables, and tea.
Take home message
Having adequate levels of testosterone is important for good health and has a number of functions. Your diet can influence your levels of testosterone in many ways. If you feel like your levels of testosterone are suboptimal, make sure you are ticking all the boxes above in your diet to help promote optimal levels of testosterone.