This question I wanted to answer is really more for the pre-epiphyseal plate closure crowd than the ones who are looking for extra height in their adult years. If you are a parent, you might be concerned and wonder whether your child will be getting the right nutrition so that they can reach their full growth and height potential. This can be a particularly worrying subject if you are of short stature yourself and so is your spouse.
We all know that on average, taller people in life are treated better, are liked more, have more romantic partners, and get more career advancement and financial rewards than their shorter counterparts. A teenager who is shorter than his/her peers and classmates may be particularly worried about this situation. If one is too short (or even too tall) they might be the victim of ridicule by others. So how does one make sure in terms of diet that they are getting everything they can to push their growth and height to the maximum?
First, we have to understand that diet makes up only a small part of the equation. What is even more important than diet is sleep and genetics. I showed in a previous post entitled”How much of human height is genetic and how much is due to nutrition?” that our genetics make up 60%-80% of what will become of our height so it is a very big factor. After that comes sleep, which is when most of our longitudinal lengthening of the long bones happen.
There is a post I had originally written entitled “The Effect On Height And Growth Being A Vegetarian“. I particularly focused on the need to get protein because the meat that vegetarians purposely choose not to eat is often the main source of protein in one’s diet. Protein is critical and essential for the human to live.
So the first thing we need to do to make sure the factor of diet is not inhibiting our growth and height is to get proteins, and as much good proteins as possible.
There is sort of a concern going around the US that most of the meat we eat came from cows, pigs, and chicken which had been fed growth hormones so that they can grow fatter faster. The fatter the animals are, the more meat there is. We american love to eat and we do had an obesity problem so it is possible that the meat we buy from the supermarket is filled with growth hormones. From a previous post I did looking at the effects of growth hormones on height, the general conclusion is that one consumes too much GH, it can theoretically speed up the growing process so that the growth plates will actually fuse earlier than they are supposed to so you end up shorter than if you had not taken the GH.
So the 2nd thing is that we need to make sure is that we are not eating meat from animals that is not been injected with GH. That is hard to do because we don’t know what type of treatment the beef we are eat is from a cow that was treated well or not. The suggestion is then to go to a place like “Whole Foods” and buy the beef that is is “grass fed”.
As for Carbohydrates, a lot of the flour made from wheat, rye, and corn these days have been processed with many forms of preservatives. Those flour are then used to make our bread, donuts, cake ,etc. In terms of how processes food will affect our overall height, I am guessing that the processed food like the flour we use to make our breads and cakes have certain compounds that are not eh healthiest in the world. The does take away from the food from having real vitamins and minerals.
However, one thing that I would say is a casual observation is that families who eat more natural food like from “Whole Foods” seem to be more on the short side. Now, I might be burned for that last comment by people who want to rebuff that with their own anecdotes and heights of people they might know and who is also big. But I am just stating an observation. We all know that foods that have not been genetically altered are usually smaller in quantity. If you have ever seen a carrot or watermelon that is grown in the wild, they look nothing like what we find in our supermarket. The fruits we see in nature are often much smaller and even a different color.
Since the cost of the stuff we buy in say “Whole Foods” can be 30-50% more expensive than the processed, genetically engineered food. I would make sense that people who are militant on only eating the most natural organic food are eating less than the people who don’t. If we wanted to correlate weight to the type of food eaten, it is obvious that people who DON’T eat organic natural food is bigger, but can we say the same about height as well. Do people who eat non-organic processed food become slightly taller than the people who don’t. That is a very hard question to answer, but I would guess it is true. So the big take away is that going in the natural organic direction may be healthier but it might be the option that leads to the greater height.
As for fiber, there is not a lot of scientific research or data that correlates to the amount of fiber we take and the height we reach. What is known is that from taking sufficient fiber, one is less likely to get slow stool or get constipation. There does seem to be some relationship with having a high fiber diet at old age with a lower mortality risk. That means that eating more vegetables has a correlation with overall health and longevity. So if you get enough fiber, your digestive system overall will be cleaner.
However, from what I have seen over my lifetime, from evolutionary theory, there seems to be an inverse correlation between longevity and height. Often it is the shorter people who outlive their taller counterparts. Taller people are more likely to develop cancer, since they have more mass in their body. The Japanese who are among the shortest group of people in the Developed world also have some of the shortest average heights of its people. In contrast, the people of the dynamic alps like Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia who have experienced so much ethnic conflict in the last century are among the tallest in the world. They have lower lifespan than the Japanese from so much conflict but they are bigger. Of course if you even thought over my last argument, you realize that my argument is not completely logical.
In terms of fat, the human body needs fat (the good kind) to survive. Fat is made of lipids and in the human body, it is the adipose tissue. I am too lazy to do the research right now and pull out a scientific article on some study, but if I was to guess, I would say that not getting enough of the right type of fat in one’s diet will lead to a decrease in height.
Conclusion: So after going on for so long, what is the conclusion on the best type of diet needed to lead to the most growth and height? The best type of diet will involve at least 5 main parts
1. Getting all the neseccary types of vitamins and minerals, especially the type that involve in bone creation and growth and cartilage creation.
2. Getting enough of the right proteins, so eat a lot of meat like grilled chicken, fish ,grass fed cows, and eggs
3. Getting as much water as possible.
4. Eat enough fiber to have a rather clean gut to be healthier but don’t eat too much fiber.
5. Eat a lot of the good fat.
6. Try to find meat that was not injected with growth hormones
7. Eating some processed food is okay