Testosterone levels are important for both men and women to consider, not just to buff up and stay strong, but also to support our body’s natural growth hormone, a key hormone to keep our bodies youthful and energized. Testosterone also supports our libidos, our mood, and our levels of motivation and drive. Though women don’t want too much testosterone, a little is actually important to ward off excess estrogen that can lead to depression, weight gain, hormonal changes, or just an overall imbalance of sex hormones in the body. And men, of course, are always looking to improve their testosterone levels to help build muscle, stay strong, and support their male livelihood that the big T word is often associated with.
Nutrients That Boost Testosterone Levels
Key nutrients needed to boost testosterone in the body are: amino acids (protein), zinc, B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and an overall anti-inflammatory diet. These nutrients are found in both plant-based and animal-based foods, but there’s no reason to think that one needs to eat steak, eggs, chicken, fish, or drink milk to boost testosterone. In fact, many animal-based foods can actually increase estrogen in the body, which lowers testosterone and can lead to some negative side effects due the estrogen coming from animals that have hormones our bodies weren’t meant to consume.
Regardless that animal-based foods and dairy-based protein powders or supplements are promoted to boost testosterone levels, in some studies vegans have actually been found to have higher levels of testosterone than meat-eaters or even vegetarians. The best part is, they also had less cancer risks due to the removal of animal proteins in their diets.
To boost your testosterone without the risks of eating animal-based foods, here are some of the best plant-based options that you’ll want to add to your daily menu if you can. These are delicious proof that you can boost testosterone in the body without having to eat animals to get your fill!
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc, a crucial mineral needed for optimal testosterone levels. Zinc keeps the sex organs healthy and promotes a healthy metabolism that assists with the conversion of certain hormones. They’re also great sources of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps the body produce more serotonin, which helps balance your hormones even further. These alkaline green seeds are also one of the most overlooked sources of plant-based protein, iron, and are great sources of healthy omega-3 fats.
Coconut’s a great food to boost your muscle-growth, promote lean body mass, and balance your body’s hormones including testosterone. How so? It’s a great source of healthy saturated fats, which most people think they need to avoid, but when eaten from plant-based sources, is actually helpful in moderate amounts. How so? Saturated fats are necessary for testosterone production and they support the body’s ability to make cholesterol without having to consume added dietary cholesterol from animal-based foods. A few tablespoons of raw coconut butter, shreds, coconut milk, or fresh coconut meat are all you need to support your body with this healthy source of fat. It’s still a good idea to limit all sources of saturated fats to 10 percent of your daily diet and not rely on them alone.
Maca is a fabulous food for boosting and normalizing or improving your hormones. It can boost the libido and improve mood in both men and women, and is fantastic for reducing stress levels that can interfere with healthy testosterone levels. Maca is also great for boosting your energy to help you exercise, which boosts testosterone in return. When you workout, especially when you lift weights, you naturally boost your testosterone levels, which makes maca a great superfood to use on all counts. Working out and maca also both support your body’s production of growth hormones that supports your metabolism and keeps the body youthful.
Also a libido-boosting food, this fruit’s healthy fats and high levels of vitamin B6 both reduce cortisol and improve testosterone production. They also support the metabolism and overall mood function. Avocados’ fats also reduce high levels of unhealthy cholesterol levels (LDL) that interferes with the production of testosterone. Animal-based fats raise high levels of LDL while plant-based fats lower LDL and improve levels of good cholesterol (HDL). See more plant-based foods with good levels of cholesterol that can also support your hormones here.
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds directly boost testosterone levels in the body due to their amazing essential fatty acid (EFA) profile. They’re a great source of omega-3 fats, along with other anti-inflammatory fats. Chia seeds are also a great source of potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium that support your metabolism, blood pressure, blood sugar, and mood. These nutrients are also necessary for optimal energy and hormone production in the body. Hemp seeds are also amazing for your hormone levels and they contain more protein, iron, and magnesium than chia seeds do.
Other great foods to support your body’s hormones that contain omega-3 fatty acids, natural protein, and vitamins and minerals are: almonds, walnuts, cashews, flax seeds and olives. You can also add more vegan libido-boosting foods to your diet to improve your hormones even further. As you can see, there’s no whey or steak needed here. Add a few servings of these five foods to your day and you’ll be well on your way to healthier T levels in no time!
Lead Image Source: Ultimate Raw Vegan Pizza