Can Leafy Greens Make You Taller?

The concept of leafy greens might be unheard of to many people; indeed, they are simply a type of vegetable characterized by their common leafy and green appearance. The term “leafy” refers to a diverse range of vegetables with leaves being the main edible part of the plant. They are familiar vegetables that you always encounter on the shelf when you wander around the market for consumable purposes. Varieties are composed of spinach, kale, cabbage, collard greens, and so on.

The Nutritional Components Found in Leafy Greens

Let’s take a glance at the nutritional profiles of each type mentioned above:

Spinach

In short, spinach is a widely consumed leafy green that can be incorporated into a diversity of dishes, such as soups, sauces, superfood smoothie bowls, or salads. Besides, spinach is relatively easy to cook and prepare because you can implement any cooking method ranging from sauteed, steamed, boiled or just simply enjoying raw portions. As a result, you can indulge in a tremendous amount of essence contained in spinach not only with ease but also with flavorful delight.

According to the US Department of Agriculture [1], a cup of 30-gram raw spinach contains:

  • Vitamin K: Approximately 121% of the Daily Recommended Daily Value for vitamin K which is essential for bone health and blood clotting.
  • Vitamin A: 16% of the Daily Recommended Value benefiting visionary health, immune system, vitality of hair, skin, nails, and bones [2].
  • Manganese: 12% of the Daily Recommended Value, a trace mineral involved in metabolism, bone formation, and defense against antioxidants.
Spinach is very rich in vitamin K.

Spinach is very rich in vitamin K.

Kale

Kale is a nutrient-dense vegetable originating from the Brassica family, which also comprises cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Kale is packed with a lot of vitamins, minerals, and even antioxidants. Just like spinach, kale can become preferred by many people thanks to its versatility, especially those who are always occupied with their busy schedules. Yet, even though kale can be cooked in various methods, the best ways to preserve most of its nutrition are steaming, raw eating, or light cooking.

Every cup of 21-gram raw kale [3] is found to contain:

  • Vitamin K: an exceptionally high level accounting for 68% of the Daily Value, particularly vitamin K1 or phylloquinone that contributes greatly to bone metabolism, cardiovascular health, and blood coagulation functions.
  • Vitamin C: takes up 22% of Daily Value. Kale can be seen as a good source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports your immune system and consolidates resistance to pathogenic agents causing inflammation and illness. What is more, vitamin C is another factor affecting the production of collagen as well as skin barriers.
  • Vitamin A: occupies 6% of the Daily Value. Adequate intake of vitamin A nurtures skin by facilitating the repair and growth of cells. Besides, vitamin A is an effective antioxidant property that neutralizes the detrimental effects of free radicals in the body. In detail, free radicals themselves can cause damage to cells and expose the body to chronic diseases such as cancer or heart disease.

Remarkably, kale is a prime supplier of dietary fiber, which is normally neglected by individuals in their diet on a daily basis. It is supposed that fiber-rich foods are not as appealing to people as refined and processed meals because they cannot sacrifice the nutritional quality of convenience and personal tastes. However, including fibrous kale is associated closely with numerous benefits, such as improved digestive health, controlled blood sugar levels, lower risks of disease, increased satiety, and better weight management.

Collard Greens

Collard Greens are next on the list, they are loose and leafy greens whose name comes from the term “colewort.” Collard Greens themselves belong to the Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, and kale. Along with kale, collard greens are among the top-tier plant-based sources of minerals and vitamins necessary for the overall development and bone growth of the body.

Their big leaves have a slightly bitter taste; however, this Mediterranean plant has been cultivated for centuries and is widely consumed in many places across the world.

Collard Greens are rich in vitamin C, Calcium, a great deal of vitamin K (type of vitamin K1 or the so-called phylloquinone), vitamin A (primarily in the form of beta carotene), and folate (vitamin B9).

Leafy greens are very beneficial for young children.

Leafy greens are very beneficial for young children.

Unlocking The Potential: Can Leafy Greens Make You Taller?

After skimming through the seemingly three most common leafy greens and their nutritional profiles, you may recognize the repetitive appearance of some specific minerals on the list. Here is more detailed information about which key nutrients have positive impacts on height growth.

  • Vitamin K: There is limited well-documented evidence about the direct relationship between vitamin K with bone development, unlike other height determinants, such as genetics, nutrition, and hormones. However, vitamin K does contribute to skeletal longitudinal growth. Particularly, vitamin K is involved in osteocalcin synthesis, a protein important for bone mineralization and the formation of new bone tissue in the growth plates. Therefore, ensuring an adequate level of vitamin K during adolescence could indirectly accelerate the desirable height potential.
  • Calcium: Calcium has long been known as the exclusive nutrient indispensable for building and maintaining bone and teeth quality. In fact, besides being the primary element of bone tissue, Calcium is in charge of supporting the structural and functional framework for skeletal systems. If your goal is to build and maintain strong bones and reduce risks of osteoporosis, fractures, and other bone-related disorders, Calcium is for you.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C was once demonstrated to engage in the synthesis of proteoglycans, known as a part of cartilage tissue in growth plates. Vitamin C helps support the formation and maintenance of healthy cartilage; as a result, facilitating proper bone growth to the best possible during the crucial developmental phase.
  • Folate: Vitamin B9 or the so-called folate is a type of vitamin not directly linked to the vitality of bone growth; however, a balanced nutritious diet should account for the presence of folate in combination with other vitamins for optimal health outcomes. It is because folate plays an imperative role in cell division, DNA synthesis, and red blood cell formation. Folate deficiency, for example, might lead to anemia or deficiency of red blood cells in blood that results in compromised cognitive functions, impaired immune system, and fatigue.

Read more: Does Almond Make You Grow Taller?

Conclusion

While it is important to remember that the main determinant of height is genetics, other factors, such as hormonal balance or nutrition, also play a significant role in the individual’s ultimate height outcome. Therefore, whether consuming leafy greens for the overall improved immune system or a specific height target, the eventual outcomes would be inevitably beneficial for your skeletal system.

Research Articles

[1] U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Spinach, Raw.  FoodData Central. Retrieve from  https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168462/nutrients

[2] Harvard Health. (2014, March 9). Vitamin A and your bones. Retrieve from  https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/vitamin-a-and-your-bones

[3] U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Kale, Raw. FoodData Central. Retrieve from  https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168421/nutrients

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