Testosterone is a hormone, a chemical messenger, that is essential for life. Aside from the fact that it makes men, well, men, it is also responsible for red blood cell production, maintenance of muscle mass, fat distribution and sex drive in men.

Testosterone naturally begins to decline around age 30 and while it's near impossible to prevent it, there are several things you can do to help slow the process.

Here are 7 ways to naturally boost testosterone:

  1. Reduce stress. When you spend each day rushing to work, leading important meetings and taking care of your family, your body is put under a lot of stress, causing high levels of cortisol to be released. While moderate levels of cortisol are good for you, too much cortisol actually blocks the effects of testosterone. Reduce your stress load by exercising, getting enough rest, and supplementing with the relaxing mineral, magnesium.
  2. Eliminate sugar. After you eat sugar, your testosterone levels naturally decrease. Additionally, sugar leads to increased body fat, which can also reduce the amount of testosterone your body is able to produce. Stick to a diet that's rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and low in simple carbohydrates and sugar to keep body fat down.
  3. Add zinc. The mineral zinc has been shown to cause a marked improvement in men with low testosterone levels. In fact, it has been said to be the top mineral for raising testosterone levels. Here's why: a diet lacking the proper amount of zinc stops the pituitary gland from being able to release the hormones that stimulate testosterone production. So, more zinc equals more testosterone.
  4. Eat healthy fats. Unsaturated fats, such as those found in avocados and nuts, contain cholesterol, which your body uses to convert to hormones, including testosterone. This does not mean you have to consume a diet loaded with fats, but rather a diet that's well-balanced and contains enough fats to maintain hormone production.
  5. Up your D. Similar to zinc, vitamin D can also help regulate testosterone levels naturally. While summertime makes it a little easier to absorb natural vitamin D from the sun, it is still critical that you supplement with a high-quality vitamin D-3 supplement on a daily basis.
  6. Take up strength training. Lifting weights is known to help boost testosterone levels as it keeps your body fat down and your lean muscle mass up. The more body fat you have, the lower your testosterone levels so don't be afraid to pump a little iron.
  7. Lose the extra pounds. According to the Endocrine Society, shedding the excess pounds may help increase testosterone levels in men. The truth is: the heavier you are, the lower your testosterone. By decreasing unnecessary body fat, you're able to increase testosterone.