Extra-virgin olive oil
Testosterone levels gradually decrease as men age and according to the NHS, decline steadily by an average of 2% a year from around the age of 35.
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Whether men experience a menopause or 'andropause' is open to debate – the NHS describes the term as “misleading”– but the British Society for Sexual Medicine states that low testosterone aka hypogonadism can cause symptoms ranging from hot flushes, weight gain and depression, to erectile dysfunction and decreased libido.
If you suspect you may have low testosterone levels, make an appointment to see your GP.
Hormone replacement therapy is the most effective treatment for low testosterone and maintaining a healthy weight is key – being overweight is likely to result in higher oestrogen levels and lower levels of testosterone.
What you eat can make a difference too, and some foods help boost testosterone in the body. Here are 10 of the most effective.
Testosterone – a guide to the male hormone
There are two good reasons the oyster is thought of as one of the most potent aphrodisiacs ever: zinc and vitamin D.
Oysters are the best dietary source of zinc, which has been shown to increase levels of testosterone in the body, especially in men who are deficient in the hormone.
Oysters are also an excellent source of testosterone-promoting omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin D, which several peer-reviewed studies indicate boosts available testosterone in the body.
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These tasty nuts are jam-packed with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which help promote testosterone production in the body, and low in polyunsaturates, which may actually reduce testosterone levels.
Macadamia nuts are fairly unique in this respect, containing fewer testosterone-lowering polyunsaturated fats than other nuts. Try them sprinkled over a salad or whizzed up in a smoothie.
10 healthy reasons to eat more nuts
Research from Argentina has concluded that extra-virgin olive oil is the most effective dietary fat when it comes to increasing testosterone levels in the body.
Extra-virgin olive oil is an outstanding source of healthy monounsaturated fats, which up the levels of the essential male hormone and unlike dense saturated fats, has fewer negative impacts on general health and wellbeing, not to mention the waistline.
The health benefits of different edible oils
While official NHS advice stresses the importance of minimising meat in the diet, especially fatty, red meats, studies show that meat-eaters tend to have higher testosterone levels than vegetarians and vegans, as well as higher sperm counts.
If you want to limit the general health risks while upping your testosterone levels, choose lean white meats such as turkey and chicken breast over fattier meats like pork or lamb.
Is it time to ditch processed meats?
A diet boasting plenty of omega-3 foods can increase testosterone levels.
A number of studies suggest that a diet boasting plenty of omega-3 foods can increase testosterone levels in the body.
Mackerel is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, along with other oily fish such as salmon, sardines and anchovies. A small portion of mackerel provides almost 100% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of testosterone-enhancing vitamin D and is a good source of zinc, too.
10 healthy reasons to eat more fish
A nutritional powerhouse for men's health, the almond is loaded with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals that help support testosterone production in the body and maintain healthy levels of the male hormone.
Almonds also contain an amino acid called arginine, which increases nitrates in the blood and may help reverse erectile dysfunction. A small handful several times of week should do the trick.
Men, ageing and sex: how it changes
Research suggests that a compound called indole-3-carbinol, which is found in cruciferous veggies may reduce levels of 'bad' oestrogen in men and promote healthier levels of testosterone in the body.
Broccoli, as well as cabbage, kale and other brassicas like bok choy and cauliflower are the best dietary sources of indole-3-carbinol – upping your intake of these veggies should up your testosterone levels as well.
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Honey is a source of the mineral boron and contains chrysin, a flavonoid that blocks the conversion of male hormones into oestrogens. Both substances increase the quantity of available testosterone in the body. And like almonds, honey may help alleviate erectile dysfunction.
The sweet treat is rich in nitrates, which help increase blood flow to the penis, and make for stronger, more long-lasting erections.
The health benefits of honey
Foods to help prevent erectile dysfunction
Eggs are brimming with a whole host of nutrients that help increase testosterone levels. They provide a generous amount of high-quality protein – key for maintaining adequate levels of the male hormone – and other testosterone-promoting nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium.
Eggs are also rich in HDL (good) cholesterol – dietary cholesterol is essential for optimum testosterone production.
10 healthy reasons to eat more eggs
Studies have shown that the phytochemicals in button mushrooms can block an enzyme called aromatase from producing oestrogen.
A regular intake of mushrooms has been linked with healthier testosterone levels in men. Although button mushrooms have been studied the most, other mushroom varieties such as shitake, chanterelle and portabello are thought to be as effective.
Mushrooms – the new superfood?
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