In life, there are many advantages to being tall. Tall people are more likely to be smart, confident, happy, productive, at less risk for heart diseases and of course, able to reach the tall shelves. Research also shows that tall individuals have better social skills in adolescence and are more likely to participate in sports activities. Genetics indeed play a role in one being tall but proper nutrition and lifestyle also contribute to achieving and maintaining a good height.
In developing countries, protein deficiency is a malady that affects infant and children. The term ‘protein deficiency’ represents a state of a relative or absolute deficiency of body proteins or one or more of the essential amino acids.
It leads to several diseases, including stunting (when a child has a low height for their age), wasting (severe weight loss) and underweight (having a bodyweight that is too low to be healthy). Together, diseases caused by protein deficiency threaten the overall health of children and limit their productivity in the future.
Protein is a key macronutrient that helps with repair and maintenance of tissues and ensures the growth of all organs, including muscles and bones. Protein consumption is essential for all age groups, particularly children of growing age. Parents and guardians, therefore, would do well to always include protein-rich foods in their children’s diet during this growth phase.
There are certain foods that parents need to incorporate into their children’s diet to make them grow tall naturally, fight protein deficiency and achieve all-round development. Below are some of these food items:
Soybeans or soyabeans are very rich in protein and support muscle growth in children. The benefits of soybeans are such that every parent must take note of and include them in their child’s diet. Soybeans can be used to create tasty meals that a child will love thereby increasing his/her chances of growing tall. Also, soy products like soy milk are rich in protein, calcium and vitamin D, all of which help achieve the right height for your child.
Egg is one of the most nutritious food sources on earth. Eggs are rich in protein and contain the right mix of nutrients needed by a child for proper growth. Furthermore, eggs can help reduce the risk of stunted growth in children. A study has shown that children who regularly eat eggs experienced monthly height gains.
Milk is another protein-rich food that can help increase growth in children. Milk contains calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which aid muscle building and bone strength. Children should drink at least a glass or two of milk daily to increase their chances of growing tall.
Fruits and vegetables
Fruits are rich in various micronutrients some of which include vitamin C (which helps to boost a child’s immune system and fight infections). Children should consume fruits every day to meet up with their daily nutritional requirements. To make fruit serving fun and ensure that children are served different fruits every day, parents can colour code these fruits. For example, green (such as banana, apples, grapes, kiwi fruit) orange (such as oranges, mango, peaches) and purple (blueberries, blackberries, eggplants and grapes).
Also, leafy greens (such as spinach, cabbage, broccoli, celery and pumpkin leaves) should be added to a child’s diet to help support muscle growth.
Whole grains are rich in magnesium, vitamin B, iron, selenium, zinc, and a small amount of calcium. Examples of whole grains include corn, brown rice, millet, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread and pasta. These minerals are important for the growth of bones and parents should ensure that whole grain foods are a part of their child’s diet.
Other foods such as yoghurt, chicken, beans and protein-rich nuts are foods that can help a child’s growth and development. It is important to note that a child will not grow tall overnight but a balanced, healthy, protein-rich diet can go a long way to make your child grow tall naturally and escape the clutches of protein deficiency.
Eneh Veronica Ejembi is a digital content professional and public relations executive.