We all know what it is. And chances are, if you’ve been working out at all for any length of time, you probably want more of it.
This is understandable. As the primary male hormone, higher rates of testosterone have been linked to not only more muscle growth and better athletic performance, but an increase in sex drive.
Unfortunately, while the topic of raising your testosterone is indeed popular, it’s not very well understood, and there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there regarding how to go about getting more of this powerful hormone.
So today, we’re going to be talking all about how exactly you can not only raise your testosterone levels, but how to do it naturally.
What Is Testosterone (And Why It’s Important For Men)
Testosterone is what’s referred to as an “androgen steroid hormone.” The key word in there is “androgen,” which refers to a compound that helps shape male sex characteristics in humans.
Testosterone itself is made from cholesterol, and in men is synthesized in the testicles, where it is distributed throughout the body.
Now, the exact process of how this goes down is FAR more complicated than that. But for the purpose of this article, that’s basically what you need to know. The more important question you probably have is what effects testosterone has in the body once it’s distributed.
The following is a quick list of what testosterone does:
- Dictates sex drive
- Increases bone density
- Assists red blood cell production
- Helps with prostate growth
- Has been linked with mental stamina
Why Do Testosterone Levels Decrease In Men?
Generally speaking, testosterone levels in men tend to rise during adolescence and stay high throughout most of our 20’s and early 30’s. Once guys hit their mid 30’s, these levels start to gradually decrease.
The key word here is gradual. You’re not going to wake up on your 35th birthday with the sex drive and muscle mass of a eunuch. But you are going to notice a gradual tapering off as you get older, and you should expect it.
How To Naturally Increase Testosterone
Alright, so now that we understand what testosterone does, I’m sure that we don’t need to tell you that having more of it (within the normal range) is probably a good thing.
So whether you’re a guy who’s getting older, or just a young guy looking for a little boost, the following is a list of easy things you can do for yourself to help get your testosterone levels up naturally.
Eat More Meat: Good news for you meat lovers out there. Eating more meat has been shown to increase both testosterone rates as well as muscle mass.
The reason for this has to do with the increase in protein. Increasing your consumption of beef, fish, chicken, and eggs will not only help keep you more satiated on your diet, but help with your testosterone as well.
Eat More Fat: Given that testosterone is made up of cholesterol, it stands to reason that consuming more fat will, therefore, help you increase your levels.
And it’s true, consuming enough fat in your diet will help with testosterone production – but only up to a certain point. While fat (even saturated fat) isn’t the dietary devil everyone used to think it was, going overboard and eating too much fat comes with a host of problems.
While the exact amount you should eat will vary from person to person, generally speaking as long as you’re getting 20-30% of your dietary intake from fat, you should be fine.
Sleep And Chill More: Stress is an absolute killer. It’s been linked to a whole host of health problems, and low testosterone in men is certainly on that list.
The reason stress is so nasty has to do with the hormone cortisol, which in addition to reeking havoc on your immune system, also interferes with testosterone production. This problem is compounds when lack of sleep enters the picture.
And, as you most likely know, stress and insomnia go hand in hand.
Remember, staying fit and healthy isn’t just about pushing yourself in the gym. It’s also about making sure you recover properly, both from your workouts as well as your life in general. Be sure you leave yourself time to unwind, and start making quality sleep a priority.
Lose Weight: Carrying around a lot of extra fat is not only aesthetically unsightly, but it also has a direct effect on your testosterone levels. You see, one of the unfortunate side effects of being overweight is all the extra fatty tissue that comes with it, in which testosterone converts into estrogen.
This correlation also has played out in observational studies as well. Botton line – if you want to give your testosterone a boost, lean up.
The role of testosterone and the effect its on the body is extremely complicated and complex. Increasing the amount your body makes, however, is not. By tweaking your lifestyle and adopting certain habits, you can go a long way to making sure your body is making the testosterone it needs.