Testosterone is the key ingredient to building muscle, as far as hormones are concerned. Most of us who take our training seriously are always looking for ways to enhance muscle growth naturally. As you may have read in my Ketogenic articles, a high fat diet will raise your levels of testosterone. So problem solved, just eat lots of fat. There’s more to it than that of course, nothing is ever that simple. You have to eat the right kind of fat, but what kind of fat do we need a lot of?
Monounsaturated one of the fats you want to get a lot of in your diet in order to increase your levels of testosterone. Monounsaturated fat is an unsaturated fatty acid that contains only one double or triple bond in the carbon chain. It is also thought to be a dietary fat that helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels in the blood. That’s two good things that consuming lots of monounsaturated fat can do for you.
Good sources of monounsaturated fats are almonds, peanut oil, olive oil, canola, and avocados. All of these foods have relatively high amounts of monounsaturated fat, but they also contain polyunsaturated fat. This is the fat that we want to avoid when it comes to trying to increase our testosterone levels. Well, maybe not avoid, but I’ll get into that in a minute.
Saturated fat is the other kind of fat that you want in your diet in order to increase your testosterone levels. Saturated fat is a fat that contains only saturated fatty acids, and is solid at room temperature. Saturated fat tends to raise the level of cholesterol in the blood.
Saturated fats come chiefly from animal food products. Some examples of saturated fat are butter, lard, meat fat, solid shortening, palm oil, and coconut oil. So these are the deliciously tempting fats, but there is the issue of cholesterol. Cholesterol is bad, right?
Dangerously high levels of cholesterol are definitely bad, but cholesterol on its own isn’t bad necessarily. Cholesterol is actually a very necessary ingredient in the production of testosterone. If you lower your consumption of cholesterol, you will lower your testosterone levels as well. So some cholesterol is actually a good thing, especially in the case of raising our level of testosterone.
Polyunsaturated fats are a type of fat that contain more than one double or triple bond in the carbon chain. It also is believed to be an essential dietary fat because it too helps control cholesterol levels in the blood.Controlling cholesterol is always a good thing, so we’ve been told.
Sources of polyunsaturated fats include the essential fatty acids, omega fatty acids, and linoleic acids. They are found chiefly in fish, seeds, bananas, nuts, and vegetable oils. On the surface this type of fat sounds like the good kind, right? I did say earlier that this is actually the type of fat we don’t want to consume.
Wait a minute, so to boost testosterone I have to avoid basically all of the essential fatty acids? Not exactly. Monounsaturated and saturated fats enhance the synthesis of testosterone, and polyunsaturated fats block this process. Not all polyunsaturated fats however, follow this rule. Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to positively impact on the synthesis of testosterone. These compounds form the richest portion of fatty acids stored in testicular cells, and the testicles are the testosterone-producing glands in men.
It is only the polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids that we should avoid, or more correctly, we should moderate their consumption, as small amounts of omega-6 are essential. Many cooking oils such as safflower oil and vegetable oil are very high in polyunsaturated omega-6. Mayonnaise and margarine are other ‘foods’ that are very high in omega-6, and should be avoided.
So an ideal testosterone boosting mix of fats will be high in monounsaturated fats, and contain some saturated fats as well, but not too much so that we aren’t raising our cholesterol through the roof. We will also need include some omega-3 polyunsaturated fats as well, most likely in the form of fish oil – unless you eat a lot of cold water fish, and of course we need a little of the omega-6 as well. What does all this mean?
It means that we need to get a pretty good amount of monounsaturated fats. Ideally, if our goal is to boost testosterone we need to make this the largest source of our fat intake. Second to that should be saturated fats. Lastly, taking up the remaining much smaller portion will be the essential fatty acids from the 0mega-3 and omega-6 group.
That is the recipe to increasing your testosterone through the means of diet. There are of course other factors to consider. I have already discussed the importance of sleep in relation to testosterone, so next time I’ll introduce another variable into this conversation. Until then, get eating the right fats from the right sources, but don’t get fat – as this is the very issue that needs to be discussed when we next meet.