Scientists estimate that about 80% of an individual’s height is determined by genetics. But also environmental factors such as nutrition are essential to increase your height naturally.
Especially children and teenagers should eat nutritious food during their growing years and growth spurt to prevent stunted growth. You can’t grow taller once you reached your maximum height. However, certain foods can help adults to maintain their height by strengthening their bones and joints.
To promote your height growth you need to include plenty of both macronutrients and micronutrients to your diet. Macronutrients are fats, carbs, and proteins that provide energy for your body. Micronutrients are important vitamins and minerals that you require in smaller doses.
Here are 6 foods that are essential for your height, bone density, and overall bone health:
1. Milk and dairy products (cheese, yogurt)
Milk contains almost every single nutrient that your body needs. Cow milk is a rich source of protein – providing about 7.7 grams per each cup (240 ml).
Proteins are our body's building blocks. Greek yogurt contains 12-18 grams per 5 oz portion and ½ cup of cottage cheese contains 14 grams protein.
Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium and the functioning of calcium in the body. Insufficient calcium intake through childhood or adolescence can lead to growth retardation and suboptimal peak bone mass.
Find here a list of foods that are especially rich in calcium:
|Food Source||Serving Size||Calcium (mg)|
|Whole milk||1 cup||290|
|White cheese||Slice (30 g)||205|
|Yellow cheese||Slice (20 g)||120|
|Natural yogurt||Pot (200 g)||228|
|Sardines in oil||1 can (60 g)||240|
|Boiled soybeans||1 cup||175|
|Boiled broccoli||100 g||113|
|Boiled collard greens||1 cup||148|
|Chopped cabbage||1 cup||94|
|Baked potato||1 medium-sized potato||115|
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested, that “in pubertal children, cow milk may also be an important nutrient for growth and for achieving optimal bone mass to prevent osteoporosis in later life. Finally, height gain in children may depend not only on the calcium in cow milk but also on some of its bio-active components.”
However, milk should be avoided if you have an allergy or intolerance.
Eggs are a good source of nutrients for growth and child development. They contain a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamins, phosphorus, and protein. An average-sized egg contains 6-7 grams of protein.
According to a 6-month study in Ecuador, an egg a day helps children grow taller when introduced early into a child’s diet.
Eggs have gotten a bad reputation because the egg yolks are high in cholesterol. But studies have shown that egg consumption has no or little effect on total or “bad” LDL-cholesterol levels. Eating up to 3 whole eggs is regarded as safe for healthy people.
3. Whole grains
Zinc and iron are fundamental for our body t ,form the optimal bone matrix or structure for bone strength. Studies suggest that Magnesium may improve bone density, and not getting enough may interfere with your ability to process calcium.
Beans and other legumes are low in fat and rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, and fiber. Most beans contain at least 20 grams of protein per 100 grams. Beans are also full of antioxidants, which are fighting the effects of cell-damaging free radicals.
Foods that are high in protein:
|Food Source||Serving Size||Protein (g)|
|Chicken breast||100 g||31.2|
|Canned tuna, drained||50 g||13.2|
|Kidney beans||1 cup||14.0|
|Cheddar cheese||2 slices (40 g)||12.0|
|Whole milk||250 ml||8.5|
|Soy milk||250 ml||6.7|
|Egg||1 medium-sized egg||7.0|
Beans contain phytates that interfere with your body’s ability to absorb the calcium that is contained in beans. However, the phytate level can be reduced by soaking beans in water for several hours before cooking them.
Fish is especially valuable for a beneficial height development because it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. 100 grams of salmon contains 2.3 grams of omega-3, as well as iron, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, and important vitamins.
According to a study from 2017, omega-3 fatty acids “play a key role in children’s growth and development, with special implications in:
- the central nervous system, showing improvements in different parameters of cognitive function;
- visual development, resulting in a better visual acuity;
- cardiovascular health, improving blood pressure; and
- the immune system, protecting the child against allergies in early childhood."
Also, sardines, tuna, or carp are favorable for a healthy height development. 100 grams of sardines contain 382 mg of calcium, 17.9 grams protein, and 272 IU of vitamin D. The minerals contained in tuna or carp can increase the absorption of calcium.
The following table shows a list of foods that are high in vitamin D.
|Food Source||Serving Size||µg|
|Canned tuna, light, in oil||100 g||6.7|
|Raw sardines||100 g||5.2|
|Tinned sardines||100 g||17.0|
|Fish oil||1 tablespoon||40.3|
|Butter||1 heaped tablespoon||0.5|
|Cow's liver||100 g||1.1|
|Chicken liver||100 g||1.3|
|Whole milk||1 glass (240 ml)||0.2|
Fruits are loaded with a range of powerful vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important for healthy growth development.
Dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, figs, and dried apricots are a good source of calcium, especially for vegans. Oranges, lemons, pineapples, papayas, or grapefruits are rich in vitamin C.
According to AmericanBoneHealth.org, vitamin C is essential to the formation of collagen, the foundation that bone mineralization is built on. Studies have associated increased vitamin C levels with greater bone density.
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are relevant to prevent the occurrence of osteopenia due to their content in phytochemicals and vitamins. Those micronutrients are responsible for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions.
Although the height as an adult depends largely on genetics, nutrition plays an essential role in height growth and development.
Following a balanced diet with an adequate intake of macro- and micronutrients can help you grow taller and maintain your height. It also benefits your overall health.
Therefore, including a wide range of nutrient-rich foods can help to give your body all the nutrients it needs for a healthy bone and height development.
However, even if you try your best to eat a balanced diet, there might be some vitamins and minerals that are slipping through the cracks. Fortunately, we make it really easy for you to get those nutrients in the perfect amounts with our doctor-formulated supplements.
Do you find it difficult to meet the recommended daily intake level of important nutrients? Let us know in the comment section below.
Davicco MJ, Wittrant Y, Coxam V (2016, November). Berries, their micronutrients and bone health. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27583710/
González, Francisca E., Báez, Rodrigo V. (2017, Jan-Mar). In Time: Importance of omega 3 in children’s nutrition. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5417803/
Gunnars, Kris (2018, August 23). Eggs and Cholesterol — How Many Eggs Can You Safely Eat? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat
Iannotti, Lora L. et al. (2017, July). Eggs in Early Complementary Feeding and Child Growth: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pediatrics. Retrieved from: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/140/1/e20163459/tab-article-info
Kerstetter, Jane E., Kenny, Anne M., Isogna, Karl L. (2011, February). Dietary Protein and Skeletal Health: A Review of Recent Human Research. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21102327/
Office of the Surgeon General (US). (2004) Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville (MD). Table 7-5, Other Nutrients and Bone Health at a Glance. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK45523/table/ch7.t5/
Tomoo Okada (2004, October). Effect of cow milk consumption on longitudinal height gain in children. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 80, Issue 4. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/80.4.1088a