This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
Testosterone is a naturally-produced hormone and is important for a number of bodily functions. Unfortunately, levels of testosterone peak during adolescence and young adulthood, and gradually reduce as we age, so it’s important to take some extra measures to boost low levels to maintain good health.
Among its many purposes, testosterone is critical in the production and maintenance of muscle mass and strong bones. Proper levels of testosterone also help to keep the heart healthy and promote good blood flow, feeding muscles and organs in the process. There is also growing evidence that testosterone helps to control weight and fat while increasing energy. Aside from physical benefits, testosterone promotes a better mood, and yes, increases the libido. While both men and women produce and benefit from testosterone, it is far more prevalent in men.
In light of all these benefits, here are some helpful tips to help boost and maintain healthy levels of testosterone. Best of all, these tips are all interrelated, so the more you are able to achieve, the greater benefit you can expect to see.
Maintain a Lean Body
Higher levels of body fat have been shown to disrupt the body’s natural hormones. More specific to testosterone, many studies have demonstrated that the more body fat a person has, the lower their testosterone levels tend to be. Obviously, sporting a lean body offers a plethora of other physical and psychological advantages too, so consider this yet another reason to stay lean. Even better, the first and second tips on this list go hand in hand, giving you the opportunity to amplify your progress even more.
Regulate Your Diet
There are a number of foods and drinks which can help boost or suppress the body’s testosterone levels. Healthy fats, such as those found in lean animal meats, fish, nuts and avocado, to name a few sources, all promote testosterone production and function. Vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, help to remove excess estrogen and indirectly boost testosterone levels by limiting inflammation and contributing to a lean body.
Starting the day with a high protein, low carbohydrate meal, such as eggs and steak with some green vegetables is productive too. On the other hand, be sure to limit your carbohydrate intake and alcohol consumption — especially beer — as these foods are likely to reduce your levels of testosterone.
Lastly, it’s important not to restrict your caloric intake too much. It is perfectly healthy to reduce your calorie consumption as you improve your diet (and become more lean), but stay within 20 percent of your base needs or you may actually lower your testosterone levels.
Get Enough Sleep
Finding a way to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every single night, and maybe even a nap during the day if possible, has been shown to promote optimal levels of testosterone.
Adjust Your Workout
Higher intensity workouts are ideal for generating testosterone. Intense interval training is ideal to achieve this benefit, and as such, it is wise to limit your workout session to about 45 minutes. Weight training, especially compound lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses and chin ups, are all perfect for maximizing testosterone, and you can accomplish a lot — not to mention tire yourself out — within 45 minutes.
Keep Your Stress in Check
High levels of stress cause the body to increase production of unwanted cortisol, which corresponds to lower levels of testosterone. Fortunately, adequate sleep and a good workout regimen can help the body to naturally alleviate stress, on top of promoting testosterone production.
Have More Sex
To put it simply, more sex leads to more testosterone. Not only will more sex directly improve your testosterone levels, but it is likely to help alleviate stress and promote better sleep, so it can compound the value of some of the other tips mentioned in this article.
For some people, dietary supplements are the best way to boost testosterone levels. Everyone responds to therapies differently, so the above methods may not be right or sufficient for all people. Among the most studied and effective ingredients for naturally improving men’s testosterone levels are fenugreek seed extract, nettle root extract and epimedium (horny goat weed).
Some Things to Consider
Maintaining healthy levels of testosterone is an important component in overall health, but it is possible to raise your levels too high. The physiological side effects of excess testosterone include acne, increased urination, fluid retention and sometimes even breast enlargement and decreased testicular size.
Furthermore, men with prostate or breast cancer should be particularly careful of exceeding healthy levels, and older people with sleep apnea should do so as well. Nevertheless, these conditions aside, there is a lot to be gained from boosting your testosterone to healthy levels.
If you have any uncertainty, talk to your physician about the ideal level of testosterone for your body and how to boost low levels naturally.