Maybe you feel like your friends have suddenly hit a growth spurt and you’re lagging seriously behind. Maybe the rest of your family is really tall and you’re wondering if you can do anything to catch up. The truth is that a person’s height is mostly determined by things out of their control, such as genes. There are many factors that affect height during your teen years that can be controlled, such as diet and activity levels.
Eat plenty of lean protein. Lean protein, such as white poultry meat, fish, soy, and dairy, helps promote muscle growth and healthy bones. Simple carbohydrates such as pizza, cakes, sweets, and soda, are the stuff to stay away from.
Eat plenty of calcium. Calcium, found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and kale, and in dairy (yogurt and milk), helps promote healthy bones.
Get enough zinc. Studies, although they have been inconclusive so far, point to a possible link between zinc deficiencies and stunted growth in boys. Good sources of zinc include oysters, wheat germ, pumpkin and squash seeds, lamb, peanuts, and crab.
Get enough vitamin D. Vitamin D promotes bone and muscle growth in children, and a deficiency has been shown to stunt growth and cause weight gain in teenage girls. Vitamin D can be found in fish, alfalfa, or mushrooms commonly.
Exercise throughout the teen years and in puberty. Getting regular exercise may help you to grow taller during your teen years. Get out and about and work your muscles for at least 30 minutes each day.
Join a gym. Joining a gym will help give you access to a lot of great exercising and muscle-building machines. It will also keep you motivated to work out (you’ll feel silly if you’re in the gym but not exercising).
Join a sports team. People who join sports teams can use their natural competitiveness to burn extra calories and hopefully get their bodies taller. The great thing about team sports is that half the time, you don’t even realize that you’re exercising.
If nothing else, walk around. If you can’t find the time to do anything else, get up and walk around. Walk to the grocery store. Walk to the library. Walk to school.
Get adequate sleep each night. Sleeping is the time when your body grows, so having plenty of sleep is equivalent to giving your body more time for growth. Get between 9 and 11 hours of sleep per night if you’re a preteen or still younger than 20.
The human growth hormone (HGH) is produced naturally in our bodies, especially during deep or slow wave sleep. Getting good, sound sleep will encourage the production of HGH, which is created in the pituitary gland.
Understand that a majority of your height will be predetermined by genetics. Scientists reckon that 60% to 80% of your height is determined by genes. Unfortunately, either you have the tall gene or you don’t. That’s not to say that you can’t grow tall if you have parents who are on the shorter side; it just means that having shorter parents means you’re more likely to be on the short side.
Try not to stunt your growth. There might not be a lot you can do to increase your height, but you can take several steps to make sure your natural height isn’t shortened by environmental influences. Drugs and alcohol are both thought to contribute to stunted growth if they’re ingested while you’re young, and malnutrition can keep you from reaching your full height, as well.
Does caffeine really stunt your growth? Scientific study shows that, no, caffeine does not stunt growth. Caffeine does, however, have a higher chance of keeping you from sleeping soundly and regularly. Kids and adolescents needs about 9-10 hours of sleep, and caffeine may hurt your ability to get that much sleep.
Does smoking really stunt your growth? The effects of smoking and second-hand smoke on body mass index (BMI) are inconclusive. According to Columbia University’s Internet Health Resource, “Although the studies that have been done are largely inconclusive, the available research suggests that children who smoke or who are exposed to second-hand smoke are shorter than those who do not smoke or are children of non-smokers.”
Do steroids really stunt your growth? Absolutely. Anabolic steroids inhibit bone growth in young children and teens, along with lowering sperm count, decreasing breast size, elevating blood pressure and putting you at higher risk of heart attack. Children and teens who suffer from asthma and use inhalers that dispense small doses of the steroid budesonide are, on average, half an inch shorter than those not treated with steroids.
Expect to be in your twenties when you stop growing. A lot of young kids look at themselves and ask, “Have I finished growing yet?” If you’re under 18, the answer is probably “No!” If you haven’t stopped puberty yet, then you haven’t stopped growing. Try to be thankful that you have a little time to grow taller instead of worrying about how tall you will be.
Exaggerating Your Height
Have a good posture. Always stand straight instead of hunching your back. Spread out your shoulders slightly towards the back. Having a good posture will make you look much taller!
Wear tighter clothes. Tighter clothes accentuate the lines of your body. If you wear baggy clothes, those lines disappear, making you look smaller. Wear slim-fitting clothes that make you feel good about yourself, however, not ones you’re nervous about wearing or uncomfortable in.
Enhance your height. You can always wear high-heels. Avoid wearing flats or flip-flops. Instead, wear shoes with heels.
Show the best features of your body. If you have long legs, wear shorts or mini-skirts to highlight your legs. Try to avoid wearing leg warmers or leggings which will visually shorten your legs and make you look shorter.
Wear dark colored clothes. Sometimes, looking taller is all about looking slimmer. If you’re able to look slimmer, there’s a good chance you’ll also look taller. Colors like black, dark blue, and forest green can all contribute to looking both slimmer and taller, especially if you go dark on both the top and the bottom.
Wear clothing with vertical stripes. Wearing clothes with vertical stripes can make you look taller than you are. Horizontal stripes do the opposite, so avoid wearing horizontal stripes.