A great height is a pre-requisite for a great personality. A tall and lean figure easily bags higher marks no matter where you are. Some individuals are naturally blessed with this trait and easily attain appreciable height without breaking a sweat. However, there are many who desperately wish and pray to get taller. You might be worried for yourself or for your child who refuses to get any taller. You might have done endless things – taking medicines that claim to stretch your bones, wearing unusually high heels, following random advices, consulting specialists so on and so forth. However, before you go on a clueless spree to hold your head a few inches taller, you need to understand basics of human height.
Factors affecting human height
Human height is a widely studied topic and the science is called Auxology. It has been repeatedly proved that your height is a combined output of your genetics and environment. Researchers have shown that about 60 to 80 percent of your height is determined by your genetics. This means that if your parents are tall, you are most likely to inherit that and be tall and vice versa. The remaining 20 to 40 percent is influenced by your environment and habits. This means that if you are in an environment where you get proper nutrition and care then you are most likely to grow more. These factors will influence your height until you have attained puberty.
Process of height growthHumans can grow vertically only up to a certain limit i.e. till attainment of Puberty. Once a child hits puberty, his vertical growth starts slowing down and ultimately stops. Your height is largely determined by the long bones in your legs. The longer these bones, the taller you are. The end (epiphysis) of these long bones are cartilaginous (soft bone) which gradually harden to become the actual tough bone. Until puberty, these ends continuously grow adding more cartilages to the bone. After puberty, the multiplication ceases and the epiphyses harden permanently. Once this has happened, your height will not grow.
For women, the height grows for around 2 to 3 years after the onset of menstruation. Thus, in girls the height grows until the age of 14 to 16 years or max by 18 years. In men, the height grows until 18 to 20 years easily. In some cases, the height might continue to grow till 22 years. If you are past this age, then trust us, it is not possible to increase your height naturally. There are surgical means that can help you however, that is an expensive and a painful ordeal.
However, if you or your child is still a teenager who has just stepped on the gateway of adolescence, then there is a lot that you can do to help him or her grow taller. While we cannot change the genetic factor we can definitely modify the environmental factors and make them work in our favor. We are sharing with you the best foods and exercises to increase height naturally.
Diet for good height
Height and health are very closely related. A body that is healthy, enjoys optimum levels of hormones, and has efficient body systems, is much likely to grow better and faster. Hence, having a balanced diet is of outmost importance if you are on a quest to get taller. Hence, before you do anything else, make sure that you start giving your body its daily dose of nutrition. Once the body is overall healthy, it will definitely show a better growth. If height is your goal then you need to focus on three main constituents in your food – Protein, Vitamin and Minerals.
Proteins: Height is determined by various hormones in your body which are nothing but protein compounds. Hence, having a good amount of protein in your diet is of immense importance. Moreover, proteins are the building blocks of the body, i.e. they are responsible for tissue growth, repair and regeneration. Since enzymes are also proteins, this component also takes care your of digestive, respiratory and excretory systems. Not having enough protein could lead to low mass, inadequate immune system and weak body. Replace your carbs with protein rich sources like milk, fish, egg whites legumes etc.
Vitamins: You might know this already that Vitamin D is of immense importance for the strength and development of bones. Bones need calcium for its structure and strength. However, body cannot absorb and utilize calcium in the absence of Vitamin D. Hence, incorporate Vitamin D in your diet. In addition, several other vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin C and the B-Complex group is also of immense importance. Exposing your body to the early morning sun is a nice way to have Vitamin D. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins.
Minerals: Human body overall is made up of 13 minerals of which prominent ones are Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Manganese, Iodine etc. and each mineral has its own unique function. For example, Iodine is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland that plays a vital role in managing your height and metabolism. You thus, need to consume enough minerals to support your bodily functions.
Keeping this mind, here are the best 5 food that can help you to increase height naturally:
Milk is by far the best dairy product that can help you to get taller. Milk is a rich source of calcium and vitamin D, both of which are essential for healthy bones. In addition, it also has several vitamins and minerals. Having 2 to 3 glasses of milk a day will give your body enough nutrients to row. Apart from milk, other dairy products like cheese, paneer and especially yoghurt are crucial for height.
As we said, protein is of immense importance for a person who wishes to get taller. Egg white is one of the richest sources of protein. In addition, they also have a good amount of Vitamin D, and Calcium as well. All these together, make eggs a crucial food for increasing height. Have at least 2 to 4 eggs a day. To avoid weight gain, have only egg white and discard the yolk.
Banana is widely known for its high mineral content. It is a rich source of potassium – a mineral that is crucial for maintaining bone and teeth health. It does so, may be, by helping the bones to retain their calcium. In addition, banana also supplies the body with calcium and manganese that again lead to stronger bones. Thus, having bananas protects the bones from thinning. Have 3 to 4 ripe bananas in the day for proper bone health.
As we all know fishes are rich in protein, which is needed by the bones for growth and development. In addition, some fishes like salmon, tuna etc. provide a good amount of Vitamin D as well. Both these constituents make fishes a good food for increasing height. In addition, fishes also have omega-3 fatty acid which is said to protect the heart. Researchers have shown that height is closely associated with good cardiovascular health. So include a good amount of fish in your diet. Have it at least twice to thrice a week. Try to have smoked fish instead of fry so that its nutritive value is not lost during the process of cooking.
- Soya beans:
Soya bean has been a popular replacement for meat among the vegetarians. Surprisingly, soya bean can also replace the meat when it comes to nutrition. Soya bean is a very rich vegetarian source of proteins that is essential to have a good body mass and function. Soya bean is easy to cook and tasty to have. It is therefore a food of choice for people who are seeking protein. If you want to gain height then have at least 50 to 100 grams of soya bean in a day.
Apart from these 5 distinct sources, you need to ensure that you have lots of fruits, vegetables and water as well throughout the day. All the fruits and vegetables are loaded with various vitamins, minerals, fiber and water, which are essential for a good metabolism. Have carrots, papaya, mango, musk melon pumpkin, broccoli etc. for gaining vitamin A. Likewise, have tomatoes, oranges and other citrus fruits, berries etc. for Vitamin C. Have lots of leafy vegetables like Spinach, Cabbages to get fiber and other minerals.
You can choose what you want to eat as long you are sure that it will fulfill your body’s nutritive needs. You do not need to go for medicines if you learn how to extract your needs from the natural world. Starting a healthy diet at an early age will ensure that your body is at its functional best.
Exercises to make you tallerHaving a great diet is important undoubtedly however, to give your body the right stimulus for growth, it is necessary that you exercise sufficiently. It is good to get into the practice of working out right from the teenage years. This ensures that you will have a super strong and healthy youth. While we turn to exercises for things like losing weight and gaining muscles only, exercises sure can help in getting taller too. Here are the 5 best exercises to help you get taller:
Hanging exercises are the best when your agenda is to get taller. The main principle involved here is subjecting your body to the gravitational pull. To a large extent, your vertical growth is opposed by the downward gravitational pull. When you do hanging exercises, your body, in that free suspended state, uses gravity in its favor. The downward gravitational pull and the weight of the body, work on the spine allowing the joints to open up. It has been observed that hanging exercises can give you an increase of 1 to 2 inches in height. However, this would be a very slow process. You need to be vigilant and regular in your efforts.
Monkey Bar Hanging: You need to have a strong hanging bar that can support your body’s weight on a regular basis. Place this bar at a height such that you can hang from it freely i.e. when you hang from it, your feet should be significantly above the ground.
Method: Hold the bar such that your palms are facing outwards. Now, let yourself hang freely from this bar in a relaxed position. Being relaxed is important as a stressed body will oppose the gravity. If you have a space issue and you are not able to have enough room to hang, then try bending your knees a little so that your feet is not touching the ground. Keep your hands, legs, pelvic muscles relaxed and hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Do this 10 times. To get even more vigorous, you can add some weight to your ankles so that the gravity acting on you is even more intense. For optimum results, ensure that you hang for at least 30 to 40 minutes in a week.
It will definitely take some time for you to get used to this routine as your hand should support your entire weight. However, eventually your arms and shoulders would grow strong. Once that happens, you can try hanging from the bar and take your legs forward such that they are at 90 degree to your upper torso (forming an L). In the start you may simply hang.
Stretching seems like the most logical solution when we want increase the dimension of something. However, your body is different from a rubber band. It won’t just stretch instantly. Stretching exercises subject your body to different postures that allow it to move beyond its current limits, in this case – make it taller. This is a very gradual change and it will take time to see a visible increase in height. Here are a few stretching exercises that you can try:
- Standing toe touch: This exercise focuses on your spine and the long muscles of the leg. The exercise stretches the spine, the back and the pelvic muscles completely. It helps in straightening of the spine and thus, might help you in opening up the joints allowing them to grow more. This forward bend also works on your abdomen and thus, this will also help you to get a lean waist and stomach.
Method: Stand with your legs slightly apart such that they are in width with your hips. Now bend over and try to touch your toes or the floor with your palm or fingers. Make sure that when you do that, you knees are not bent. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Now stand straight up. Repeat this for 10 to 15 times. Initially try to touch the toes with your fingers. When you get used to this, try to touch the floor with your complete palm.
- Seated toe touch: This exercise follows the same principle as the one above. It allows your spine and the legs muscles to stretch. Likewise, it also helps to tone your abdomen and thighs.
Method: Sit with your back straight and legs spread forward with your toes facing ahead. Make sure that your legs and knees are touching the ground. Now try to touch the toes with your fingers. Make sure you do not bend your back and do not bend or knees. Do not lift your legs from the ground. Go as far as you can without bending. Hold this position for 5 to 10 seconds. Now sit back straight and repeat for 10 to 15 times. It is okay if you are not able to touch the toes initially. Gradually you will.
- Cobra stretch: This is a very popular yoga stretch that works on the spine, and the abdomen. The cobra stretch is very ideal for allowing your spine to get more flexible and thus, it helps it to grow. This pose also helps in improving digestion and thus, lets you gain better nutrition from the food that you have. Hence, it overall does a great job in helping you increase your height.
Method: Lie down straight on a floor mat or yoga mat with your face facing the floor. Make sure that your legs are joined and the toes are facing the floor. Keep your hands on the side. Now bring your hands in line with your shoulders. Exhale as much as you can. Then, start raising your upper body from the floor as much as you can with the help of your shoulders. Do not let your legs leave the ground. Keep your knees in touch with the ground and stretch your upper body as much as you can. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Now start lowering your body slowly bringing it back the resting position. Repeat it 5 times in the start then slowly increase the repetitions.
- Cat and Crow stretch: This is yet another exercise that allows your spine to reach its maximum stretching capacity. This particular stretching exercise subjects your spine to both inward and outward pull that increase its flexibility and growth.
Method: Get on the ground such that only your knees and your palms are on the floor just like how babies crawl. Now breathe in and pull your spine inwards as much as you can. While doing so, lift your head as well as your pelvis outwards. This will make your spine arch. Now breathe out and do the opposite of what you just did. Push your spine outwards and bring your head and pelvis inwards. This will cause your body to arch again but in the opposite direction. Repeat this for around 5 to 10 times.
- Pelvic Shift: This exercise works on the lower body muscles and bones allowing complete stretching of the pelvic and the spine. This is effective and easy to follow.
Method: Lie down on the floor with your legs folded and face the ceiling. Place your hands straight on the floor. Make sure that your feet are pointing ahead. Now putting pressure on your feet, lift your lower body off the ground such that your entire back and hips are raised above the ground. The entire weight would be supported by your feet. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then slowly take your body back to its original position. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
- Triangle Pose: This is yet another Yoga pose that does wonders when it comes to increasing height. This single pose acts on the muscles in the calves, hips, and spine. It not only helps to stretch the spine and aid in increasing height, it also helps to improve metabolism, back pain and even stress.
Method: Stand with your back straight. Keep your feet wide as you can. Now move your right leg straight out i.e. at 90 degrees. Move the left leg slightly out but towards the side i.e. at 15 degrees. Now breathe out and completely bend your body on the right, down from your hips. Touch your ankle with your right hand and raise your left hand straight upward. Do not bend your knees in doing so. Keep your muscles stretched. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Come back to the original position and repeal the same by bending on the left side. Repeat the complete set 5 times.
- Mountain Pose: This is also a yoga pose and it too focuses on the well being of your back muscles and spine. It helps in stretching the spine thus, increasing its length. It also works on the muscles of the arms, legs, shoulders, abdomen increasing your body’s efficiency and strength.
Method: Sit on the ground on your palms and knees. Now, lift your body up such that only your palms and feet are on the ground. The entire body is raised up forming an inverted V like arch. Make sure your legs and palms are apart. The entire pressure should be on your shoulders and feet. Hold this arches position for 30 seconds. Now come back to the original position. Repeat this 10 to 15 times.
Apart from these exercises, subject your body to different physical activities. Outdoor activities like cycling, swimming, running etc. help you in a lot of healthy ways. Skipping or any kind of jumping activity is very useful for increasing height.
We hope that with a combination of a good diet and good exercise you will be able to get the desired results. Let us be very frank in telling you that trying to increase your height with exercise and food is a slow process. It will take a good amount of time but if you do it with dedication, then you will definitely see results. With this, we wish you all the best and hope that you walk taller soon!