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Can Certain Foods Make Your Body Grow Faster?

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Can Certain Foods Make Your Body Grow Faster?
Milk is a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Photo Credit: Digital Vision/Photodisc/Getty Images

No one food or specific group of foods is going to help you grow faster. To grow at a healthy rate, you need a well-balanced diet that includes enough calories, carbs, protein and fat and include foods that provide all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs for normal growth. It's especially important to get enough protein, calcium and vitamins A and D. Consult a doctor if you're concerned about your growth rate.

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Calories, Carbs, Protein and Fat

Getting enough calories is essential for adequate growth. Young children need 1,000 calories to 2,000 calories a day, depending on gender and level of activity, while older children and teens need 1,400 calories to 3,200 calories a day.

Carbs and fat are an important source of energy as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Protein is needed for building muscle and body tissue.

Children and teens should get 45 percent to 65 percent of their calories from carbs. However, fat and protein needs vary. Young children should get 5 percent to 20 percent of their calories from protein and 30 percent to 40 percent of their calories from fat, while older children and teens should get 10 percent to 35 percent of their calories from protein and 20 percent to 35 percent of calories from fat.

Nutrient-Rich Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables provide fiber, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and folate. They're also an important source of vitamin A, which is essential for growth. Depending on calorie requirements, growing children and teens need 1 cup to 4 cups of vegetables and 1 cup to 2 1/2 cups of fruits a day. Choose whole fruit over juice most of the time for the maximum nutrition.

Whole Grains for Energy

Whole grains, such as whole-wheat bread and brown rice, are a naturally rich source of fiber, B vitamins and iron. At least half your grain choices should be whole grain, according to Needs for grains range from 3 ounces to 10 ounces a day, where 1 ounce is equal to 1 cup of unsweetened ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup of rice or pasta or one slice of bread.

Go Lean for Protein

You need an adequate amount of protein to grow to your full potential, according to a 2006 article published in Scientific American. That doesn't mean you need to eat steak every night, however. Eat a variety of different types of proteins to get the most nutritional benefits. Good protein options include lean beef and pork, poultry, seafood, beans, soy products, nuts and seeds. Needs for children and teens range from 2 ounces to 7 ounces a day.

Bone-Building Foods

To make sure your bones grow along with your body, eat enough calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods, which include milk, yogurt and cheese. If you can't tolerate dairy products, look for plant-milk alternatives, such as soy or almond milk, that are fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Aim for 2 cups to 3 servings of these foods a day.

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