Height is due in large part to genetics. Once a person reaches adulthood and stops growing, eating certain foods will not make them taller. However, during the growth and development years, good nutrition can help a person reach their maximum height and help their body grow and develop in a healthy way.
This article provides examples of certain foods that can help support growth and development, along with a menu plan for growth. It will also discuss some other factors that can play a role in healthy growth.
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Factors that affect height
When a person is growing, their bones continue to increase in size until the end of puberty. This occurs mainly because the bones have growth plates called epiphyses.
When a person ends the adolescent stage, these growth plates merge and the person stops growing. Once a person reaches adulthood, they will not grow any further.
Several elements of our body participate in this process, including hormones and nutrients. In fact, nutrients act both as structural components of bones and muscles as well as many are cofactors of biochemical reactions that give rise to the expression of genes related to growth.
Factors that influence a person’s height:
- Genetics: Genes largely determine a person’s height. According to some research, genetics contribute approximately 80% to a person’s height. (1)
- Hormones: The body produces hormones that can affect a person’s growth.
- Nutrition: The lack or abundance of nutrients is strongly related to the development of a person’s maximum height. (2)
- Rest: Getting enough hours of sleep is essential to give your body time to recover and grow. In childhood (6 to 12 years) it is recommended to sleep between 9 and 11 hours, in adolescence (13 to 18 years) 8 to 10 hours. (3)
- Exercise: Although the relationship between exercise and height is still not entirely clear to scientists, physical activity is important for achieving an upright posture and hormonal development.
RELATED: Workout Routine for Teens
How to eat to grow taller?
Good nutrition and general health during childhood and adolescent growth can influence a person’s height. So how do you eat?
While there is no official diet of how to eat to grow taller, it is known that following certain nutritional rules is essential to achieve growth in adolescence.
Your bones need calcium and vitamin D in good amounts every day to increase their thickness and length. Proteins are necessary to form strong connective tissue to attach bones to muscles and build strong muscles. Fats are necessary to produce healthy new cells and ensure hormonal balance.
Nutrition tips to grow taller:
- Eat balanced meals filled with whole foods
- Divide your plate into 3 and ensure a supply of both carbohydrate, protein and healthy fat sources.
- Eat snacks that include foods rich in calcium and vitamins. (Fruits, dairy and nuts cannot be absent)
- Avoid fad diets that eliminate a key food group that is needed for growth.
- Avoid ultra-processed foods with excess sugar, these can cause unwanted hormonal changes for growth.
Sample menu to grow more
Here’s a sample grow-out menu for kids ages 12-19. Note: the menu is a general example, the amounts of meals must be personally adapted for each child according to: sex, height, level of physical activity, among others.
|Breakfast||1 bowl of oatmeal with whole grains, 200 cc of milk and a banana
|Collation||200 mL of unsweetened multifruit yogurt
1 cup aerated pop corn
|Lunch||Sandwich with cheese, chicken, tomato and vegetables
1 glass of fruit salad
|Afternoon snack||Nuts bar, skimmed chocolate, cereal cookies.|
|price||1 serving of whole grains (rice, buckwheat, quinoa, etc.)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (olive, coconut, etc.)
1 serving of non-starchy vegetables (aubergine, spinach, etc.)
1 Portion of proteins: fish, chicken, cheeses, etc
|Before sleep||1 glass of milk|
More food examples to grow
Eating well for breakfast will not only help you grow taller but can also help with memory and concentration at school, as well as give your body more energy to study and play. Also, people who eat breakfast regularly tend to have a healthier weight than those who skip breakfast.
Look for breakfast cereals that are high in fiber and low in fat and don’t have too much added salt or sugar. Here are some healthy breakfast options to help you grow taller:
- multigrain toast with boiled or poached egg
- muesli with yogurt
- fresh fruit and yogurt
- high fiber cereals
- multigrain toast with boiled or poached egg
- baked bean tostadas
- raisin toast
- pita bread with olives and feta cheese
- melted cheese on toast or English muffin
- wholemeal pancakes with jam
- banana or other fruit smoothie
Some suggestions for dinner or lunch:
- Pita bread or chicken wrap, grated carrot, cucumber and cream cheese
- Turkey, cheese and salad on multigrain bread with cranberry sauce
- Smoked salmon bagel, salad and cream cheese
- Durum wheat caprese pasta
- Quiche and salad
- Cheese sandwich and salad
- Boiled egg and on multigrain bread with vegetables
- Ham, cheese and spinach wrap
- Cold cheese, salad and lean quesadillas
- Baked chicken with sweet potatoes
- Beef, tomato and lettuce sandwich with tomato chutney or sauce
Genetics play an important role in a person’s height. Once a person reaches adulthood and stops growing, they will not get taller, regardless of the foods they eat.
However, for children and adolescents, nutrition plays an important role in ensuring that they experience healthy growth and development. Getting enough sleep and exercising are also important factors. As an adult, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help maintain good bone health.