Almost everyone would like to be taller. However, many young men and women of below-average height think their shorter stature is inherited and is thus entirely out of their control. This, in fact, is not true. According to Scientific American, only 60 to 80 percent of a person's final height is due to genetics; the other 20 to 40 percent is due to environmental factors and lifestyle choices. In other words, making good decisions while you're young really can help you grow taller.
Furthermore, it may not be too late for you. For most people, the growth plates that control height close in their early- to mid-teens. But in some cases, these plates remain open into their late teens and even early 20s. (One of the most famous examples of this is NBA Hall-of-Famer David Robinson, who was 6' 7" when he enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy and 7' 1" when he graduated four years later.) We've looked at some of the healthy ways to add height for pre-teens, teens and young adults who want to be taller.
Do you think you know the correct regular diet that you need to follow every day in order to grow taller? Okay, ask yourself a simple question now: what is my favorite food and drink? If your answer includes anything like the following: sandwiches, hamburgers, fries, pizza, pasta, bread, cereal, rice, cookies, cake, candy, ice cream, chicken, pork, beef, Coke, Pepsi, beer or coffee...then forget about growing taller and think about growing heavier instead. You are eating and drinking the completely wrong kinds of food and beverage that can only help you gain more weight instead of height!
The correct diet you need to grow taller is a proper combination of proteins, vitamins and minerals. So your regular diet should be rich in these three types of nutrients. A common regular diet that will stunt height growth is one that includes too many carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are usually rich in foods like rice, bread, potatoes, corn and other cereal grains. You should avoid eating too many carbohydrates since they contain lots of energy (calories) but few vital nutrients that can help your body grow. This is actually why Asian people are shorter on average than European and American people. Asian diets mainly consist of carbohydrate heavy foods like rice or corn while European and American people consume much more protein-rich foods. So do not make rice, bread, potatoes or cereal grains your main foods if you want to grow taller!
Another common diet that will stunt height and growth is one that includes too many lipids (fats). There are two main types of fats: saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are mostly bad since they have high levels of cholesterol; this can cause heart disease because arteries could be clogged with fatty material. These fats also contain a large number of calories that can easily increase your weight. Extra weight is the enemy of height, since the more you weight, the shorter you appear. So avoid eating excessive saturated fats. Animal meats such as chicken, pork and beef are rich in saturated fats, so you should avoid eating them too often.
Unsaturated fats are much better for your body since they contain much lower cholesterol and calorie amounts. Since you do need some fats to insulate your body and regulate your metabolism, you're better off ingesting more unsaturated fats to satisfy your body's needs. Vegetable oils contain large amounts of unsaturated fats. Commonly used unsaturated vegetable oils are corn, soy, cottonseed and safflower oils. Note that raw milk and butter contains lots of saturated fats; therefore, you should drink skim milk and cook with vegetable oils instead of butter. Sweet foods like cookies, cake and ice cream also have very high saturated fat and calorie contents; therefore, you should restrict yourself from eating them too much.
In order to grow taller, your body needs proteins, vitamins and minerals more readily than carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are composed of one or more chains of amino acids. They are fundamental components of all living cells and include many substances such as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies that are necessary for the proper functioning of an organism. They are essential in animal and mammal diets for the growth and repair of tissue. Thus, you should ingest a large amount of protein if you want to grow taller. The best foods for complete proteins (those that contain the most appropriate distribution of amino acids for growth) are fish, eggs, milk and legumes. These foods contain most of the 20 amino acids that are part of the genetic code, including the nine essential amino acids that are not synthesized by your body. Therefore, replace rice, bread and hamburger with fish, eggs and skim milk!
It is during deep sleep that growth hormone does its job of thickening and lengthening your bones. (This hormone has gotten a bad rap as a synthetic performance-enhancing drug, but the version that your body naturally produces is vital for overall health and recovery.) So appropriate sleeping time (not the longer, the better) and correct sleeping posture are very important for your body to grow.
Sleep is defined as a natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body. During this period, the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost so there is a decrease in bodily movement and responsiveness to external stimuli. During deep sleep, growth hormone produced by your pituitary gland is released into your bloodstream and travels through your body, causing the thickening and lengthening of your bones. Therefore, you should achieve "deep level" sleep on a daily basis in order to coordinate your exercise and proper diet. The following are some helpful tips on how to easily achieve deep level sleep:
- Sleep in a room that is dark, quiet and fresh-smelling. Do not expose yourself to bright light while you are sleeping. Light will make your brain stay awake.
- It is important to sleep in a well-ventilated room. Don't be afraid to open a window, even in winter. It is better to put on an extra wool blanket than to breathe in stale air. The amount of clean oxygen-rich air that you breathe has an effect on your growth. Poor air can cause breathing problems and prevents you from growing during sleep.
- Sleep in clean, soft and comfortable clothes. Rough clothing can block blood circulation and make you shift and turn many times during the night, thus preventing deep sleep. Remember, growth hormone can only work well when you fall into deep sleep.
- Keep your hands and feet warm. Scientific studies have shown that warm hands and feet will help induce REM (rapid eye movement) deep sleep. Cold hands and feet will keep you from experiencing deep sleep.
- Drink a big glass of water before going to bed and when you wake up; this will help clean out your system. Milk can also help you sleep. It contains an amino acid called tryptophan which produces an effect similar to a sedative. Do not consume any food or drink that contains caffeine, nicotine or alcohol for at least 4 to 5 hours before going to bed. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that will keep you from sleeping while alcohol can disrupt your body's natural rhythms. Also, refrain from eating a large meal less than three hours before bedtime.
- Doing exercises during the day can help you sleep better at night. This will increase your blood circulation and quicken your metabolism for a whole day, which will help ensure a good night's sleep.
- Taking a hot bath before going to bed helps induce deep sleep because it cleans your body and relaxes tense muscles.
- Practice total relaxation and deep breathing for a few minutes before you go to bed. Relax from head to toe. Close your eyes and relax every part of your body. Do complete breathing exercises by following the three phases:
- Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose for 3 to 5 seconds, making sure that your stomach expands as well as your chest.
- Hold your breath for another 3 to 5 seconds. Tighten your stomach muscles lightly.
- Exhale slowly and fully through the mouth and nose. This breathing exercise will help smooth your blood circulation and get your body ready to rest.
- Maintain a habit of sleeping at the same time every day, including weekends. This will help you develop a regular rhythm for sleep. Your brain will send you "sleep signal" at about the same time every day, which can help you fall into deep sleep easier and faster.
Each person has his or her own specific daily sleep requirement. It is not true that the more you sleep, the better it is for your growth. Too much sleep will cause your body to develop laziness and slow down your metabolism, thus increasing the danger of weight gain. On average, a young adult who is growing needs at least eight hours of sleep every day. Teens need nine hours or more. However, this is just an average and may not apply to you precisely.
The best way to figure out the exact amount of sleeping time you need is not to calculate it at all. Just go to sleep early every night, do not use an alarm clock and let yourself wake up naturally. Your body has its own biological clock which can determine the exact amount of sleep it needs. As long as you have good sleeping habits and do not break them (by forcing yourself to stay up too late or get up too early), your body will take good care of itself. Also, it is easy for you to detect if you get enough sleep each day. If you are energetic and do not feel sleepy or very tired for the whole day, then you got the right amount of sleep last night. Otherwise, you need to readjust your schedule.
Appropriate sleep posture is also very important for growth. Sleeping with correct posture can help lengthen your spine and increase your height; sleeping with incorrect posture can put strains on your neck, shoulders and back, which stunts growth. The following are some helpful tips on how to sleep with appropriate posture.
- Sleep on a comfortable and firm mattress. If it is not firm enough, place a sheet of plywood underneath the mattress. Sleeping on a hard surface will align your spine in the natural position. This will lengthen your spine and also allow growth hormone to easily travel across the body.
- Sleep on your back with a flat pillow under your knees. This will align your spine properly and prevent any backaches caused by sleeping in a bent position. Raising your knees and feet slightly will help your brain get more oxygen-rich blood. The more oxygen your brain receives, the more energy you will have to help yourself grow during sleep.
- Sleep on your side with your knees bent. This will effectively flatten the back. A flat pillow may be used to support the neck, especially if your shoulders are broad.
- Do not use a high pillow. While lying on your back with your head resting on a high pillow, your neck is bent forward and your back is arched in a very unnatural position. This strain your neck, shoulders and back, and also stunts growth since your spinal column is arched for most of the night.
- Do not sleep face-down. This will exaggerate swayback and strain the neck and shoulders.
Beating the Disadvantages
Statistics show that a shorter person will encounter most of his or her disadvantages during a job interview or on a date. Taller men/women have a better chance of getting high-paying jobs and it is easier for them to find good dates/mates. It's just not fair! Fortunately for you, even if you are not as tall as you wish, there are some secret and effective techniques which you can use to beat all of those disadvantages and win your dream job or mate!
- Have a hairstyle that makes you appear taller. In order to appear taller, a hairstyle should be thin at the sides and higher up top, which can make you appear as much as an inch taller. Do not have any wide hairstyle. Also, a bald head can make a person appear shorter.
- Wear certain clothes that will make you appear taller and avoid those that make you look shorter. A few examples are:
- Avoid clothes with horizontal lines. Belts are horizontal, so make sure you conceal them in your clothes. Avoid clothes with a tartan or checked pattern. Avoid cuffs, as they make your legs appear shorter.
- Avoid wearing sharply contrasting shirts and pants together. These will easily expose the real length of your legs and make you look shorter.
- Wear clothes with vertical lines or striping. Vertical lines or stripping make a person appear thinner, and thinness, in turn, gives the impression of more height.
- Wear clothes with shoulder pads. Shoulder pads make your shoulders appear broader and make your whole body look slender.
- You can also wear clothes with diagonal stripes. Clothes such as these will hide body irregularities.
The Importance of Effective Breathing for Growth
Effective breathing is essential for growing taller. Effective breathing draws sufficient oxygen into your body to facilitate biochemical reactions and stimulate growth. Only deep breathing is effective breathing; shallow breathing is ineffective and actually stunts growth. Interestingly, anger leads to shallow breathing and therefore stunts growth. So make sure you keep yourself happy as much as possible!
Deep Breathing Exercise
You should perform the following deep breathing exercise every day as well as before and after you sleep. The more often you do this deep breathing exercise, the better results you will get.
- Inhale through your nose slowly and controllably for 3 to 5 seconds and make sure your stomach expands as well as your chest.
- Hold your breath for another 3 to 5 seconds. Before you exhale, for the final 2 to 3 seconds, tighten your stomach muscles lightly. Your goal is to slowly improve the blood circulation in your head.
- Exhale slowly (without loosening your stomach muscles) and in control through your mouth and nose.
What Can Help You Grow Taller
These 10 regular activities can help you grow taller:
- Vertical Jumping
And these 10 things will stunt your growth:
- Being passive
- Being conservative
- Consuming too many candies or carbohydrates.
- Consuming too many fats.
- Not getting enough sleep or sleeping irregularly.
- Not having correct posture.
- Not doing any physical exercises.
- Quitting any growing taller efforts too soon.
Elements to Achieve the Best Results:
- Reduce carbohydrate and fat intake such as rice, sodas, candies, bread, flour-based products and junk foods in general.
- Increase protein intake. For good protein-rich foods, you can do a search in Yahoo or Google and type "protein-related foods".
- Based on your time schedule, do stretching exercises at least three times a week or more.
- If you play sports, practicing them more often can benefit you greatly.
- Try getting good sleep for the next 3 to 6 months of at least 7 to 8 hours per night.
- Measure your height every three weeks, not every day nor every week. Measuring yourself too often can lead to discouragement about the perceived lack of results. It is much better for you to do it every three weeks since the program should be followed for at least 3 to 6 months.
Boost Your Growth Hormones
Size may matter, but in some cases, the smallest thing can have the biggest impact. In this case, it's that grape-sized organ called the anterior pituitary gland nestled within your brain. Despite its small dimensions, it is the source of powerful juice when it comes to building height. You see, the anterior pituitary gland is responsible for secreting a substance called somatotropin hormone, more commonly known as "growth hormone", into your bloodstream.
Without that tiny gland, it wouldn't matter how well you eat or how much exercise you do; building your physique would become an exercise in futility. Why? "It's somatotropin hormone that dictates how your body will adapt itself from all your height-increasing efforts," says Ed Burke, Ph.D., director of the Exercise Science Program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
Acting as your body's foreman, growth hormone instructs your skeletal bone to grow larger and stronger while it speeds the conversion of excess fats into energy. In other words, get enough growth hormone floating around in your system and your body has no choice but to construct itself into something bigger and better. Cheat yourself from acquiring your fair share and your body can only do so much, no matter how much you do.
Although the amount of growth hormone your body regularly produces is entirely up to your brain, there are a few things you can do to trick that thrifty gland into being a bit more generous. Pay attention to these six proven ways to make your body work for you:
- Get Your Shut-Eye
It's simple math. Add eight hours to the time you went to bed, then look at your alarm clock before peeling yourself from the sheets. "Not getting enough sleep regularly can lower the amount of growth hormone your body produces daily," says Walter Thompson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Sports Medicine, Science and Technology at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
Even though excess sleep won't necessarily increase the amount of growth hormone your body secretes, constantly burning your midnight oil could be suppressing how efficiently your body distributes growth hormone during the course of the day. Keeping normal sleeping habits may let you tap into a certain percentage of growth hormone that your bones never get a chance to utilize when sleep-deprived.
- Eat Smarter
Focus on eating six or seven smaller meals during your day instead of three or four larger ones. Consuming large meals with a high glycemic index forces the body to release a high amount of insulin into the system to aid with digestion. This reaction not only forces your body to store fat, it may also inhibit the flow of the growth hormone being released throughout your bloodstream. Instead, make a point of consuming other low-sugar foods that will prevent the release of insulin.
The crossover between what you need to stay healthy and what you need to release more growth hormone doesn't stop with eating smaller meals and getting enough shut-eye. All of the same factors that need to be in place for a healthy lifestyle still hold true. Training right, eating right, sleeping right and keeping your stress to a minimum will not only keep you healthier, they will also foster the type of environment that encourages the anterior pituitary gland to do its job. Deficits in any of these areas will slow down how well your body functions as a whole, which in turn reduces the amount of growth hormone that is being continually pumped into your system.
- Pre-Workout Nosh
Toss back a small sandwich a couple of hours before you exercise. Food researchers have discovered that consuming a protein- and carbohydrate-rich meal two hours prior to working out and another meal immediately afterward elicited a significant increase in both growth hormone and testosterone within the bloodstream.
Even if you're not hungry at the moment, you may want to consider having a snack to prevent being hungry within the two-hour window before you work out. Researchers at UCLA found that subjects who exercised with partially digested food in their stomachs experienced up to a 54 percent decrease in growth hormone production. Subjects who were fed strictly carbohydrates prior to a workout still experienced lower production of growth hormone by up to 24 percent.
- Get the Most from Your Training
What you put your body through during your stretching and exercise routine has a direct effect on what your pituitary gland puts out to build height. A recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that the frequency and amount of growth hormone the body secretes is relative to the intensity of your workout. Subjects who exercised at a higher intensity experienced greater and more frequent releases of growth hormone after their workouts.
To get the most from your training efforts, you need to be sure that the duration and intensity of your regimen are high enough to elicit a response. Keeping your workouts focused on short-burst, high intensity anaerobic stretching exercises and maintaining a pace that lasts at least 20-30 minutes is a fair standard to follow.
There are certain stretching exercises that may help squeeze out a little extra growth hormone. By utilizing stretches that include several muscle groups which work collectively, the intensity of the workout subsequently increases as well, forcing the anterior pituitary gland to issue more growth hormone to compensate for the extra effort.
Oddly enough, participating in intense aerobic exercise can also cause an increase in growth hormone release. However, what keeps marathoners from looking like basketball athletes is that their bodies react differently to the substance because of the activity they participate in.
It is like having someone who never lifts weights using a muscle-building supplement. They have the building blocks within their system, but unless the endurance athlete is performing a significant amount of resistance-stretching exercises, the body never recognizes a demand to use these tools effectively to help restructure.
- Supplement Strategically
Taking the amino acid glycine immediately before you work out can mildly stimulate the release of growth hormone, but only when taken as a supplement. Trying to achieve the same effect by consuming glycine-rich foods such as milk right before exercise inhibits growth hormone by causing you to exercise on a full stomach. Also, the glycine doesn't get absorbed in the same way. Being introduced into the body in the presence of additional amino acids forces the glycine to compete for transport across the blood-brain barrier, diminishing its effect on the growth hormone levels. The only way glycine can cause a reaction is when taken in isolated supplement form, preferably on an empty stomach to speed up absorption and prevent outside interference from other amino acids.
- Don't Pig Out Before Bed
Never eat a large meal within three hours of going to sleep. The reasoning ties into avoiding the same insulin surge you're trying to prevent during the day, but this abstention is especially important before bedtime. The body releases the greatest amount of growth hormone during the first two hours of sleep. Having excess insulin within the system after a large meal suppresses this higher output of growth hormone, preventing your body from taking advantage of it as you rest.
Nighttime also seems to be the best time to take additional supplements to increase the flow of growth hormone. UCLA researchers have found that taking the amino acid arginine and orthinine together on an empty stomach right before bedtime can boost growth hormone levels significantly. However, the amounts required to see a difference were between 40 and 60 grams, dosages too large to take in any version besides injectable form. There are safer, more accessible supplements you can try, such as 5-hydroxy tryptophan, a safer derivative of tryptophan. This sleep aid used to encourage drowsiness also helps the brain release growth hormone.
Success begins with a strong and positive mind filled with motivation and determination. However, in reality, most people around you have weak and negative minds. When facing difficulties or adversities, their favorite words are "impossible" and "give up". If you do not acquire mental toughness, you will easily become their victims and end up quitting your own dreams.
Visualization is the best thing you can do as part of any program. See yourself where you want to be! Visualize yourself one foot taller. Make a detailed image of it - what will you look like, how will you feel and what the other people's reactions are. You are 6' 5"! Notice the people around you as they admire your stature! Can you see them drooling while they imagine being you? Do you notice how some of them lift up their eye brows as they greet you? Do you feel the respect and submissiveness that they must give to you? Doing this visualization can help you achieve any goal, and being taller is one of them.