Testosterone is one of the most important hormones in the male body. It, or sometimes the lack of it, can impact everything from your athletic prowess to your sexual health to your mental well-being.
Unfortunately, most men will eventually start to struggle with low testosterone levels. Starting around the age of 30, men’s testosterone levels will start to decline at a rate of about 1% per year.
For the health-conscious man, this natural progression can motivate them to start searching for an organic testosterone booster. And they’d be in luck. As it happens, there are plenty of things that you can start doing right now to help boost your testosterone naturally.
Most of these fall under the category of lifestyle changes, and some will be easier to put into practice than others. Ways that you can start boosting your testosterone right now include:
Getting More Deep, Restful Sleep
There’s still a lot that we don’t know about sleep. Researchers have come up with some sound theories, but a lot of the particulars about sleep and why we need it remain a mystery.
One thing that’s not a mystery, though, is that not catching enough z’s can wreak havoc on the body and mind. Mental fogginess, fatigue, and loss of appetite are just a few of the effects that even mild sleep deprivation can cause.
And your hormone levels are no exception.
One study produced by the University of Chicago demonstrated that a lack of sleep can cause men’s testosterone levels to plummet.
The study followed 10 healthy, 24-year-old men. For the first week, they were allowed to sleep 8 hours per night at home. After that first week, they would spend the next 11 nights under observation in the lab.
For three nights the were allowed to sleep for 10 hours. For the following eight nights, their sleep was restricted to only five hours per night. For comparison, doctors would check their blood every 15 to 20 minutes during the last 10-hour night, and did the same during their sleep-restricted schedule.
After just one week of sleeping only five hours, the subjects demonstrated s decrease in testosterone levels of almost 15%. If you recall, that’s the equivalent of about 15 years of aging.
From this study, it’s clear that a good seven or eight hours of sleep each night is essential to maintaining healthy testosterone levels.
Zinc Might Be the Best Organic Testosterone Booster There Is
Just as we all need to sleep, we all need to eat as well. But your choices can make a world of difference.
For one thing, it’s important to watch what you eat because individual foods can have a positive effect on your testosterone levels.
In particular, there are specific vitamins and minerals that your body needs to produce hormones like testosterone. If you’re not eating enough foods containing these nutrients, then you can watch your testosterone levels drop.
One of the most important minerals for testosterone production is zinc. It’s unclear exactly how zinc factors into the production of testosterone, but the leading hypothesis is that that it is needed to maintain healthy cells in the testes capable of making the hormone in quantity.
Whatever the case, we can easily observe the tendency fo zinc-deficient individuals have lower t-levels.
To counteract this, try to eat an abundance of zinc-rich foods like oysters and other shellfish, lean grass-fed beef, pomegranates, and beans.
In addition to being loaded with zinc, many of these foods are also good sources of lean protein, which is the macronutrient most needed in the production of testosterone. So it’s a nutritious double-whammy.
Soak Up As Much Vitamin D as You Can
As we alluded, zinc isn’t the only nutrient that can help you pump up those t-levels. Good old Vitamin D is also thought to play a significant role in producing a healthy amount of testosterone.
Vitamin D deficiencies are extremely common in the United States, and it could well be that it’s a contributing factor to the mass decline of testosterone levels. One study showed that subject given Vitamin D supplements produced up to 25% more testosterone. That’s equal to shaving more than a few years off of your age.
Of course, you don’t need to resort to expensive supplements to get your daily recommended dose of Vitamin D. Just taking in a little extra sun is all most people need to meet their needs.
But if you’re not a beach person there are dietary options for you, too.
Tuna fish is a potent and cost-effective source of Vitamin D. Eggs, and specifically, egg yolks, are also cheap sources of it. And low-fat milk with Vitamin D exists just to help people meet their daily quota.
Now that’s a slate heavy in animal products, but vegans and vegetarians need no let their hearts be troubled. There’s a whole spread of plant-based foods that can help boost your testosterone just as well.
Cut Out the Sweets
Boosting your t-levels up to optimal levels isn’t just a matter of getting enough vitamins, minerals, and protein. Knowing which foods to specifically avoid makes just as much of a difference.
And at the top of the list is sugar. Now sugar has been linked to a ton of health risks, which by themselves, should give you enough reason to steer clear. But it’s its impact on testosterone that we’re interested in here.
Sugar consumption causes an excess of insulin to be released into the blood. And insulin doesn’t play nice with testosterone, to put it simply.
Of course it’s not possible to completely avoid sugar. Even foods that don’t contain it are often metabolized into it. But what you want to avoid are refined sugars, which are absorbed quickly and cause your blood sugar to spike, which in turn prompts the release of insulin.
And sorry to keep picking on the sweet tooths, but you’re also going to want to cut out the chocolate while you’re at it. Partly this is because most chocolate contains that refined sugar that we mentioned. But even dark chocolate has a detrimental effect.
Avoid Other Foods that Inhibit Healthy Testosterone Production
Sugar is just one of the foods that can curb your testosterone production. There’s a whole buffet of choices that you should avoid if you want to keep those levels high.
You probably know that estrogen is the natural enemy of testosterone, but what you might not realize is just how many popular foods can boost estrogen levels at the expense of your testosterone.
Soy products are the big ones. Which is a problem, since soy makes its way into a huge portion of the foods on the market.
Tofu, edamame, and soy sauce are all right out. But because it’s often used as a filler in cheap processed foods, you’re probably going to want to steer clear of those as well.
And even if you can be certain that they’re soy-free, processed foods should also be on your no-fly list anyway. Many of them are packed with trans fats, which curb testosterone production in addition to just generally being a hazard to your health. And others, like microwave popcorn, contain artificial chemicals that will shrink your t-levels as well.
And if you’re a meat-eater, it pays dividends to be a discerning customer. Low-quality meat is often packed with artificial hormones, preservatives, and other nasty additives that can have a similarly deleterious impact on your t-levels.
This is why we stress eating a well-rounded diet with a balance of lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
Shed Some Excess Weight
Research shows a strong correlation between carrying excess body fat and lower testosterone levels, with obese men having up to 50% less testosterone than their slimmer peers.
There are several reasons this might be the case. One is that obese men are less likely to eat a well-rounded diet as we discussed earlier. A lack of consistent physical activity is another major risk factor.
Alternatively, some men just have a genetic tendency to carry extra fat on the persons. Whatever the case, you want to make a concerted effort to drop pounds where you can.
You see, while carrying extra weight causes less testosterone to be produced, low-t levels themselves are noted to cause weight gain. So it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle that can be a real challenge to break out of.
But you want to go about losing weight the right way.
Some obese men may try too hard to lose weight and see their efforts backfire. You may have heard of something called the “yo-yo effect” in relation to dieting. It’s the tendency of people to start a restrictive diet, only to their prior habits after seeing results.
The yo-yo effect is bad news for your health for a lot of reasons, and lowered testosterone is just one of them. Research shows that this dietary inconsistency can cause chaos for your hormone levels.
Consistency is the key. That’s why to achieve long-lasting success, you need to focus on building life-long habits instead of chasing short-term goals.
Get Your Workouts In
As we alluded to when talking about losing weight, routine exercise is a big part of the solution. Not just because slimming down can help keep your t-levels high, but because the act of working out itself can boost your testosterone.
We have plenty of evidence showing that the more active an individual is, the higher you can expect their testosterone levels to be. But is there a particular routine that can maximize results?
As it turns out there is. Gains in testosterone are the highest in men who do regular weight training. Specifically, you want to be doing sets of only a few reps with the maximum weight that you can safely handle. By really pushing the limits of your strength, you are signaling to your body that you need to get stronger, and it will respond by releasing the hormones that it needs to make that happen.
As far as how to lift, you’ll want to focus on compound exercises like barbell squats, deadlifts, rows, shoulder presses, and bench presses. These are called compound exercises because, in contrast to moves like the bicep curl, they engage multiple major muscle groups in one motion. This makes them more efficient not only at building strength but triggering the endocrine response that you want.
While your workouts are important, it’s equally important to remember moderation. It’s possible to overtrain, which can cause drops in testosterone instead of the boost that you want.
De-Stress Whenever Possible
Finally, to keep your testosterone levels at their peak, it’s important to remember to relax now and then.
You might have heard that stress is the number one killer of men. That might be an oversimplification, but it’s definitely a big-time killer of testosterone.
This is because long-term, chronic stress causes a build-up of the hormone cortisol in the body. And like insulin and estrogen, cortisol does not play well with testosterone.
Cortisol is called the stress hormone because the body produces it in abundance in times of duress. Normally, cortisol is produced during stressful situations and then works its way out of the body with time.
But with the high-intensity lifestyles, many of us are accustomed to leading, we don’t always take the time we need to destress. That’s why exploring techniques to reduce stress can improve t-levels and overall health.
Boosting Your Testosterone for a Healthier Life
If you want to stay at your peak for longer, then there’s really no way around it: you’re going to need to keep your testosterone levels at the optimal level for as long as you can.
But as you can see, it’s not a matter of finding a single organic testosterone booster that will suddenly solve all of your problems. More it’s a matter of building a lifestyle that will help to maintain your hormone health for years to come.
And we have only scratched the surface here. For more ideas on how you can boost your testosterone levels, check out this rundown on some more of the most potent ways to jumpstart your testosterone production.