Foods that make you taller
Having a good height is something that everyone aspires to have. Most of us reach our maximum height during our growing years. But is it possible to increase your height as an adult? Can nutrition affect whether you can grow?
What determines your height?
Height, like many other physical aspects, is greatly influenced by our genetic makeup (some sources state as much as 70%). This means that how tall we are is primarily determined by the height of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors.
The remaining 30% of our height can be influenced by diet and physical activity. Several studies have also shown that people inherit height from their father’s side.
We will not lie to ourselves, we see the greatest potential for growth in childhood and adolescence. A major growth spurt occurs during puberty, usually between the ages of 8 and 13 for girls and 10 to 15 for boys. (1)
What you eat during your developing and growing years and whether you get enough physical activity also help determine your final height.
Nutrition during pregnancy also affects the height of the child. Taking certain supplements (iron, iodine, folate, and calcium) can help improve a child’s adult height.(2)
So, yes, eating right and healthy helps. But before the age of 18. This does not mean that after 18, we should pack it in and stop eating healthy.
What to do and eat to support growth?
The greatest growth, this acceleration of growth, always follows certain periods of childhood, so for example, after the third year of life, then roughly around the tenth year of life, the ninth year of life, the big growth begins. In other words, during these periods, the growth can be significantly slowed down by diet.
A balanced diet rich in healthy nutrients is the basis. It will help in healthy growth, and thus, you will reach the maximum possible height.
1. Foods rich in protein
Protein is the building block for processes that help you grow tall and strong, strengthening your bones, muscles and cartilage. (3) So, if you want to maximize your height, you need to eat enough protein-rich foods. The recommended amount varies according to age, gender and training load (exercise).
- Girls between the ages of 9-18 should get about 140 grams of protein per day.
- Boys aged 9-13 should get 140 grams of protein per day.
- Boys aged 14-18 should get 180 grams of protein per day. (4)
Foods rich in protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
2. Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps bone growth and strength. It also promotes muscle growth in children. (5) With vitamin D deficiency, a recent study has shown slowed growth and even weight gain in adolescent girls.
Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, mushrooms and fortified cereals.
3. At least 2 times a week, eat fish (omega-3 rich)
- Omega-3 has an important role, especially for children.
4. Drink plenty of water – approx. 40ml/kg of body weight and avoid sugary drinks
5. Vegetables and fruit
- 3 pieces of vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit per day (cucumber, tomato, pepper, zucchini, apple, pear, banana, berries)
Although scientific research is still far from conclusive, there is some evidence that points to a possible link between zinc and stunted or insufficient growth.(6) This means that you either start replenishing the proper level of zinc in your body or run the risk of stunted growth.
Foods rich in zinc include seafood (especially shellfish), lamb meat, and spinach.
7. Consume primarily complex carbohydrates
- Rice, pasta, oatmeal, whole grain bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes
What, on the other hand, should be reduced or completely omitted from the children’s diet?
- Simple sugars (sweets, candies, low-quality chocolates, lollipops)
- Fast food (pizza, Mcdonald’s, KFC, etc.)
- Sugary drinks – coke, sprite, Pepsi
I would also like to mention that simply weighing a child or comparing him with other children, for example, on the playground, can be very misleading. Some children are born prematurely and their growth is still smaller because they are still catching up with the deficit caused by premature birth.
Other children are robust from birth and have the growth potential to reach two meters.
Another aspect that often endangers the growth of children is the various types of vegetarian or vegan and macrobiotic diets, which parents, for some of their own philosophical reasons, start to impose on the child, regardless of what the pediatrician thinks about it.
Body height changes throughout life, even throughout the day. Mostly, however, it is a downward change. The change in the height of a particular person depends on many factors.
The first of these is muscular causes.
With increasing age, muscles and ligaments weaken, and the spine can no longer be held upright, and this can even take a few centimeters of body height.
Another factor is the shrinking of the intervertebral discs. How tall the reels also fluctuate throughout the day. And that has a relatively large effect on a person’s height. It is even stated that it is a difference of one to two centimeters.
Another factor can be body posture, which can be fixed with shortened muscles to such an extent that it is permanent without long-term proper exercise or therapy.
It can be an increased curvature in the lumbar spine (hyperlordosis), a hunched back in the thoracic spine (hyperkyphosis), an excessively forward posture of the head, frequent deepening misalignments in the axis of the lower limbs, e.g., with the knees (legs in O or X), misalignment ankles or significant flattening of the arch of the foot (another factor is the involvement of the vertebrae, e.g., advanced degenerative changes or the consequences of compression fractures of the vertebrae), for example with severe osteoporosis.
From the point of view of the exercise, we are, therefore, clear. With proper exercise, we can “grow” a few centimeters. Today’s times force us to sit passively for most of the day, and this causes bad posture habits.
We should include compensatory exercises in our exercise program – lengthen shortened muscles and strengthen those that tend to weaken. In this case, we should turn to an expert to help us compile the program.