How to boost testosterone
Find out how to boost testosterone, the hormone that helps to build muscle, burn fat, improve endurance and increase sex drive
Testosterone is the hormone every man wants, so it's no surprise that we get a lot of questions from readers asking how to boost testosterone levels. It’s vital for building muscle, healthy levels help you burn off body fat and a timely surge of ‘T’ can spike your libido for increased sexual satisfaction. But levels tend to decline after you’re 30, with symptoms ranging from fatigue and depression to loss of sex drive and erectile dysfunction. Nothing good, basically.
You don’t need to turn to the black market for vials of man-mojo, though – instead, you can start by taking a good look at your diet. ‘Food plays a big part in hormonal dysfunction,’ says rehabilitation therapist Claud Serjeant (movethreesixty.com). ‘Eating the wrong things can increase oestrogen and decrease testosterone.’
So what should you be eating and drinking? ‘Full-fat milk is a good one,’ Serjeant says. ‘The nutrients in milk help raise testosterone and many of them are fat-soluble, so full-fat is much better than skimmed. And it’s far preferable to soya milk, which has been shown to raise oestrogen. Other foods to eat include wild-caught salmon, which is particularly rich in T-boosting omega 3, and leafy vegetables high in zinc, such as chard and spinach. Avoid processed meats and fizzy drinks, which contain ingredients that cause testosterone to fall.
Here are 10 more ways that you can boost testosterone levels.
1 Lift weights
Testosterone levels are at their highest 48 hours after lifting weights, according to a study at Baylor University in the US. And the harder you train, the more you increase your natural levels of testosterone, so base your training around compound exercises such as squats, bench presses and seated rows using heavy weights.
2 Watch football
Men who watch their favourite sports team compete experience a similar testosterone surge to the players, say researchers at the University of Utah. They found that a fan’s testosterone levels increased by 20 per cent when his team won but fell 20 per cent when they lost. So avoid watching England games and you should be all right.
3 Eat good fats
By ‘good’ fats we mean the monounsaturated and omega 3 type – found in avocados, peanuts and oily fish – that help your body preserve protein. A study in the Journal Of Applied Physiology found that men who ate recommended amounts of these foods had the highest testosterone levels.
4 Gobble some eggs
Eggs improve levels of healthy HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol, an important building block needed for your body to manufacture testosterone. They are also loaded with protein and have plenty of testosterone-boosting zinc. Plus Paul Newman looked pretty manly when he ate 50 of ’em in Cool Hand Luke.
5 Don’t overtrain
Excessive exercising increases cortisol, a stress hormone that competes with testosterone and breaks down muscle. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found that overtraining can lower your testosterone levels by as much as 40 per cent. Resting isn’t slacking off – make sure you take time out.
6 Get enough sleep
Poor sleep quality and having less than seven hours a night can slash your testosterone levels by more than 30 per cent and dampen growth hormones, restricting your muscle-building potential.
7 Scoff cabbage
Cabbage is rammed with indole-3-carbinol (IC3), a phytochemical that increases your testosterone according to a study at the Rockefeller University Hospital in New York. The study also found that when men were given IC3, their levels of the female hormone oestrogen reduced by 50 per cent – reversing the effect caused by watching the Sex And The City movie.
8 Don’t booze
Happy hour can wreak havoc on your manly hormones. Numerous studies have found that alcohol consumption reduces testosterone levels for up to 24 hours. It also increases cortisol and lowers growth hormone levels.
9 Eat more seeds
You may feel like you’re munching bird food, but seeds are full of vitamin E and zinc, which send your testosterone levels soaring. They’re also bursting with protein and monounsaturated fat.
10 Get some sun
Exposing the skin to sunlight for just 15-20 minutes can raise your testosterone levels by 120 per cent, says a report from Boston State Hospital in the US. The research also found that the hormone increased by a whopping 200 per cent when genital skin was exposed to the sun. Stick to the privacy of your own garden though – we don’t want any arrests.