How Do Vegetarians Increase Testosterone?

You can use a number of simple nutrition methods to boost testosterone levels, and you don't need meat to do so. Nutrition is not the only factor in increasing your testosterone levels, either -- lifestyle factors such as training with weights, getting enough sleep and sunshine and making sure you are at a healthy weight are all important as well.

A young man is doing a bench press. (Image: Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images)

Add Some Zinc

Zinc is a vital mineral for testosterone production. Adult men need around 11 milligrams of zinc per day, while women need about 8 milligrams. If you are a lacto-ovo vegetarian, you can get a good amount of zinc each day from raw milk and cheese and kefir. If you tend more toward veganism, you might prefer to stick to beans, such as Lima or pinto, or you can eat nuts and oatmeal. You might consider taking a zinc supplement as well.

Don't Be Scared of Fat

Research published in the June 2005 edition of the "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism" found that a low-fat diet was associated with decreased testosterone production. Including the recommended servings of polyunsaturated fats in your daily food intake will help your body preserve protein, in turn allowing for more stable hormone production. You can get healthy fats from nuts, particularly unsalted almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts and walnuts. Other sources of healthy fats are eggs, avocados and olive oil.

Snack on Seeds

Many seeds are high in polyunsaturated fats and essential vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds are all easy to find in health stores and can be added to other meals for a convenient boost. They have good amounts of protein and energy, which means they can also be useful if you don't have a large appetite: Long-term low-calorie diets -- in which you consume 80 percent or less than the amount required to maintain your current weight -- have been associated with low testosterone counts.

Seek Out Protein

Protein sustains muscle mass and allows your body to recover from strenuous activities like exercise. Eating sufficient protein is also important for maintaining healthy testosterone levels. While eating enough protein tends to be easy for meat-eaters, it can be trickier for vegetarians. Eggs and seeds have good amounts, as do tofu, pea protein powder and rice protein powder. Powders are not the ideal source of any nutrient, but they can be a very useful supplement if your low protein intake is affecting your testosterone production.

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