Testosterone has long been demonized by society as the rage-inducing hormone that makes guys massive, covered with zits, and filled with aggression. Testosterone is associated with cheating, largely thanks to guys like Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire.
The truth, however, is very different from the perception that surrounds this hormone that literally makes men, men.
Not only does testosterone not correlate to higher levels of aggression and rage in men, as shown by a study of men with testosterone deficiency by Christina Wang, M.D., of the University of California at Los Angeles. Where, after two months of testosterone replacement treatment to bring T to normal levels, the subjects anger and agitation decreased and their sense of optimism and friendliness heightened.
The myth surrounding testosterone is abundant. Yes, high natural levels of testosterone will help you build more muscle (which is a great thing), but it will also help you reduce body fat, and your risk of cancer, disease, and depression.
Testosterone is at the core of what makes men, men. And with each generation, and with each decade, men are producing lower and lower levels of this powerful hormone. The causes aren’t singular, but with a reduction of fat consummation (which we’ll talk about later), an environment not conducive to high testosterone levels, and an increasingly inactive population, it makes sense that men would produce lower levels of testosterone.
I’ll show you how you can raise your natural levels of testosterone through simple and healthy lifestyle and diet changes. By raising your natural levels of testosterone, you’ll not only increase your body’s ability to gain lean, athletic muscle, but also your ability to live a healthier, more energetic life – both physically and mentally.
How to Naturally Enhance Testosterone Levels in Men
1. Consume More Fat
Fats have been vilified by nutritionists, doctors, and the health and fitness industry as the cause for obesity in America. This is not true. Saturated, monounsaturated, and polysaturated fats won’t make you fat. Sugars and carbohydrates – and trans fats (man-made fats) – contribute more to your waistline, and heart disease, than natural, healthy fats.
Fats also naturally raise testosterone levels in men. Testosterone is produced in the testes by converting cholesterol in to testosterone. We get cholesterol from the fats previously mentioned.
What to do: eat more eggs, red meats, fish, fruits (avocado), and nuts. Eat more fat sources that are natural, that you can either kill, pick, or harvest.
What not to do: don’t consume carbs with your fats. Carbs have their place in your diet, but not when paired with fat. When you consume high-glycemic carbohydrates with fat, the spike in insulin makes you store more fat as body fat, and carbs as body fat as well. Also, stay as far away from trans fats (man made), found in packaged and fried foods, as possible.
2. Get more sleep, and have less stress in your life
Cortisol is a hormone that opposes testosterone. One of the ways we can measure testosterone levels is in relation to cortisol levels. A lack of sleep can result in higher cortisol levels, and lower testosterone levels. Aim to get 6 or more hours of sleep a night, as your bare minimum; 8 hours is more ideal.
Cortisol is a stress hormone involved in our fight or flight response mechanism. The more stress we have in our lives, the higher our cortisol levels we’ll be. What’s more is that the less sleep we get, the more we stress, which again, raises our cortisol levels.
Find ways to de-stress. Take mini vacations, read, start your day off in reflection, with exercise, and in silence. Bring perspective in to your life that will help you lower your stress levels by journalling, exercising, and spending time with family (unless they compound your stress).
3. Avoid plastics
Our environment can be very destructive to our testosterone levels. The chemicals you find in most plastics (namely BPA), are filled with chemical estrogen So all those bottles of water you have been buying, unless it states (BPA FREE) is cull of chemical estrogen A quick way to solve this problem is to stop drinking water from plastic bottles, and never heat your food in plastic containers.
Make it simple; avoid plastics and allow your body to naturally produce testosterone at healthy levels.
4. Lift weights
Exercise, like training with weights, will increase your muscle mass and lower your body fat levels.
Lower body fat correlates to higher testosterone levels, just like inactivity has been shown to lower your testosterone levels. Stand more. Walk more. Run more. And get in the gym and start a weight training program.
You Need Higher Levels of Testosterone
This isn’t about aesthetics (at least not completely); weight training, eating more fat, less sugars, and surrounding yourself in a healthy environment is about being at your best. It’s about being optimal. Make the changes I’ve mentioned in this article to not only feel better about how you look, but be a better, more successful guy.
Supplement with Vitamin D3 and Zinc
D3 unbinds hormone from the protein it’s attached to. This “free” form of testosterone is believed to be the only form of the hormone that matters with relation to repairing tissue (like muscle). Take a minimum of 3,000 IU daily.
Zinc blocks the hormone aromatase from producing estrogen. In other words, zinc lowers your estrogen levels, which in turn maximize your testosterone output too what it should be
Feature Image by: Patrik Giardino/Courtesy Men’s Health