Your endocrine system produces testosterone, but you must obtain zinc through your diet. Low levels of zinc can contribute to lower testosterone levels, making this mineral important on many levels. While no foods contain testosterone, foods that provide essential sterols and fatty acids allow your body to produce optimal levels of testosterone. If you suspect you have low testosterone levels, consult your physician.
Woman produce testosterone in the ovaries and adrenal glands, while men produce it in the testes. Despite producing only 10 percent of the testosterone of the average male, this hormone is just as important for women. Testosterone contributes to the health of your immune system, your ability to maintain strength and lean muscle mass and proper sexual function. Low levels of testosterone can lead to depression, weakness and illness.
While no food directly boosts testosterone, your ability to synthesize testosterone is limited by your diet. A diet extremely low in fat limits your ability to produce testosterone, according to a 1983 study in the "Journal of Steroid Biochemistry." You must consume at least 20 percent of your daily calories from fat for optimal hormone levels, including testosterone. Fat provides cholesterol, which is broken down into sterols that are then converted to steroidal hormones, such as testosterone. If possible, get most of your fats from healthy sources, such as salmon and cold-water fish, olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Zinc is an essential mineral that you must obtain from your diet. Zinc stimulates your immune system; promotes healthy hair, skin and nails; and contributes to testosterone production. Zinc's role in testosterone production causes it to be a factor in fertility and sexual health. A 1996 study published in "Nutrition" showed that in men with low zinc levels, testosterone levels improved following six months of zinc supplementation.
Zinc is found in red meat, which is also a good source of cholesterol. This does not mean you should eat excess red meat. Lean cuts of red meat provide essential sterols, protein, zinc and conjugated linoleic acid, an essential fat that assists with hormone production and regulation. Zinc remains present in poultry, fish and seafood. Whole grains and cereals are also sources of zinc, but while vegetables contain zinc, the quantity of fiber present can limit zinc absorption.
- "Textbook of Biochemistry with Clinical Correlations"; Thomas M. Devlin; 2010
- "Journal of Steroid Biochemistry"; Decrease of Serum Total and Free Testosterone During a Low-Fat High-Fibre Diet; E.K Hamalainen, et al.; March 1983
- "Nutrition"; Zinc Status and Serum Testosterone Levels of Healthy Adults; A.S. Prasad, et al.; May 1996
- "Nutrition in Clinical Practice: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Manual for the Practitioner -- (Second Edition)"; David L. Katz MD; 2008
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.