50 things you don’t know about your body

Facts compiled by Eahab Abu-Shtayyah and Deja Forsythe

The human body and its intricacies are absolutely mind-blowing. The facts presented here may be more shocking than you expect!

 

Picture courtesy of http://kenoneworks.blogspot.com/

  1. Scientists say the higher your I.Q. the more you dream. While this may be true, don’t take it as a sign you’re mentally lacking if you can’t recall your dreams. Most of us don’t remember many of our dreams and the average length of most dreams is only 2-3 seconds–barely long enough to register.
  2. Motion sickness is caused by your body confusing its senses. Sometimes when we read in a moving car, we tend to feel sick? Why? The reason is because our eyes see that we are stationary and our ears hear sounds that indicate we are moving. Thus, conflicting signals to the brain causes the body to feel sick.
  3. A human head remains conscious for about 15 to 20 seconds after it is been decapitated. While it might be gross to think about, the blood in the head may be enough to keep someone alive and conscious for a few seconds after the head has been separated from the body, though reports as to the accuracy of this are widely varying.
  4. Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people do. This doesn’t have a genetic basis, but is largely due to the fact that a majority of the machines and tools we use on a daily basis are designed for those who are right handed, making them somewhat dangerous for lefties to use and resulting in thousands of accidents and deaths each year.
  5. The left side of your body is controlled by the right side of your brain while the right side of your body is controlled by the left side of your brain.
  6. The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Or any other encyclopedia for that matter. Scientists have yet to settle on a definitive amount, but the storage capacity of the brain in electronic terms is thought to be between 3 or even 1,000 terabytes. The National Archives of Britain, containing over 900 years of history, only takes up 70 terabytes, making your brain’s memory power pretty darn impressive.
  7. Facial hair grows faster than any other hair on the body.  If the average man never shaved his beard it would grow to over 30 feet during his lifetime, longer than a killer whale.
  8. Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails. If you notice that you’re trimming your fingernails much more frequently than your toenails you’re not just imagining it. The nails that get the most exposure and are used most frequently grow the fastest. On average, nails on both the toes and fingers grow about one-tenth of an inch each month.
  9. Cure hiccups by holding your breath. Drinking water can also work.
  10. The human body is estimated to have 60,000 miles of blood vessels. To put that in perspective, the distance around the earth is about 25,000 miles, making the distance your blood vessels could travel if laid end to end more than two times around the earth.
  11. Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart. For most people, if they were asked to draw a picture of what the lungs look like they would draw both looking roughly the same size. While the lungs are fairly similar in size, the human heart, though located fairly centrally, is tilted slightly to the left making it take up more room on that side of the body and crowding out that poor left lung.
  12. Sneezes regularly exceed 100 mph. There’s a good reason why you can’t keep your eyes open when you sneeze–that sneeze is rocketing out of your body at close to 100 mph. This is, of course, a good reason to cover your mouth when you sneeze.
  13. During your lifetime, you will produce enough saliva to fill two swimming pools. Saliva plays an important part in beginning the digestive process and keeping the mouth lubricated, and your mouth produces quite a bit of it on a daily basis.
  14. Earwax production is necessary for good ear health. While many people find earwax to be disgusting, it’s actually a very important part of your ear’s defense system. It protects the delicate inner ear from bacteria, fungus, dirt and even insects. It also cleans and lubricates the ear canal.
  15. Babies are always born with blue eyes. The color of your eyes depends on the genes you get from your parents, but at birth most babies appear to have blue eyes. The reason behind this is the pigment melanin. The melanin in a newborn’s eyes often needs time after birth to be fully deposited or to be darkened by exposure to ultraviolet light, later revealing the baby’s true eye color.
  16. Babies are, pound for pound, stronger than an ox. While a baby certainly couldn’t pull a covered wagon at its present size, if the child were the size of an oxen it just might very well be able to. Babies have especially strong and powerful legs for such tiny creatures, so watch out for those kicks.
  17. One out of every 2,000 newborn infants has a tooth when they are born. Nursing mothers may cringe at this fact. Sometimes the tooth is a regular baby tooth that has already erupted and sometimes it is an extra tooth that will fall out before the other set of choppers comes in.
  18. Infants blink only once or twice a minute while adults average around 10.
  19. After eating too much, your hearing is less sharp. If you’re heading to a concert or a musical after a big meal you may be doing yourself a disservice. Try eating a smaller meal if you need to keep your hearing pitch perfect.
  20. It takes the body around 12 hours to completely digest eaten food.
  21. If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it. In order for foods, or anything else, to have a taste, chemicals from the substance must be dissolved by saliva. If you don’t believe it, try drying off your tongue before tasting something.
  22. Your nose can remember 50,000 different scents. While a bloodhound’s nose may be a million times more sensitive than a human’s, that doesn’t mean that the human sense of smell is useless. Humans can identify a wide variety of scents and many are strongly tied to memories.
  23. Women are born better smellers than men and remain better smellers throughout life. Studies have shown that women are more able to correctly pinpoint just what a smell is. Women were better able to identify citrus, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee smells. While women are overall better smellers, there is an unfortunate 2% of the population with no sense of smell at all.
  24. Even small noises cause the pupils of the eyes to dilate. It is believed that this is why surgeons, watchmakers and others who perform delicate manual operations are so bothered by uninvited noise. The sound causes their pupils to change focus and blur their vision, making it harder to do their job well.
  25. The eyes receive approximately 90% of all our information, making us basically visual creatures.
  26. Everyone has a unique smell, except for identical twins. Newborns are able to recognize the smell of their mothers and many of us can pinpoint the smell of our significant others and those we are close to. Part of that smell is determined by genetics, but it’s also largely due to environment, diet and personal hygiene products that create a unique chemistry for each person.
  27. By the age of 60, most people will have lost about half their taste buds. Perhaps you shouldn’t trust your grandma’s cooking as much as you do. Older individuals tend to lose their ability to taste, and many find that they need much more intense flavoring in order to be able to fully appreciate a dish.
  28. Your eyes are always the same size from birth but your nose and ears never stop growing. When babies look up at you with those big eyes, they’re the same size that they’ll be carrying around in their bodies for the rest of their lives. Their ears and nose, however, will grow throughout their lives and research has shown that growth peaks in seven year cycles.
  29. About 85% of People Only Breathe Out of One Nostril at a Time.
  30. Over 90% of diseases are caused or complicated by stress. That high stress job you have could be doing more than just wearing you down each day. It could also be increasing your chances of having a variety of serious medical conditions like depression, high blood pressure and heart disease.
  31. It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. Unless you’re trying to give your face a bit of a workout, smiling is a much easier option for most of us. Anyone who’s ever scowled, squinted or frowned for a long period of time knows how it tires out the face which doesn’t do a thing to improve your mood.
  32. We are taller in the morning than in the evening. The cartilage between our bones gets compressed by standing, sitting and other daily activities as the day goes on, making us just a little shorter at the end of the day than at the beginning.
  33. The strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue. While you may not be able to bench press much with your tongue, it is in fact the strongest muscle in your body in proportion to its size. If you think about it, every time you eat, swallow or talk you use your tongue, ensuring it gets quite a workout throughout the day.
  34. Every tongue print is unique. If you’re planning on committing a crime, don’t think you’ll get away with leaving a tongue print behind. Each tongue is different and yours could be unique enough to finger you as the culprit.
  35. Humans are the only animals to produce emotional tears. In the animal world, humans are the biggest crybabies, being the only animals who cry because they’ve had a bad day, lost a loved one, or just don’t feel good.
  36. Women burn fat more slowly than men, by a rate of about 50 calories a day. Most men have a much easier time burning fat than women. Women, because of their reproductive role, generally require a higher basic body fat proportion than men, and as a result their bodies don’t get rid of excess fat at the same rate as men.
  37. Eating fruits and vegetables may help the human body make its own aspirin. People who intake benzoic acid, a natural substance in fruits and vegetables, make their own salicylic acid, the key component that gives aspirin its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
  38. Weight really is genetic. But, a genetic predisposition isn’t necessarily a life sentence, experts say. Exercising regularly can offset the risk of obesity.
  39. Your mom’s pregnancy sealed your fate. Science says sugary and fatty foods, consumed even before you’re born, can wreak havoc on your future relationship with fat.
  40. Sleep more, lose more. University of Chicago researchers reported that sleep deprivation upsets our hormone balance, triggering both a decrease in leptin (which helps you feel full) and an increase of ghrelin (which triggers hunger).
  41. Super strength. Your fight-or-flight capacities point toward fighting, you can do the things you’ve heard of in the news, like lift cars off of your loved ones or push 600-pound boulders out of your way.
  42. Supersonic hearing. Echolocation–it’s the way people with visual impairment continue to do amazing things. A prime example of this hidden sensory super power is Daniel Kish, a mountain biker who has been completely blind his whole life. He bikes better and faster than most people with vision, all by using sound to mentally paint a picture of the world around him. He does it so fast he can avoid trees, boulders and bears while speeding down the side of a mountain.
  43. Super memory. Your brain technically has the ability to store every single thing you’ve ever seen or heard or experienced.
  44. Super pain threshold. In moments of shock and trauma, your brain flips off pain like a switch. Ask somebody like Amy Racina, who fell off a cliff, landing six stories below, shattering her knee and breaking her hip. Not feeling more than minor pain, even with broken bone jutting out from her skin, she dragged herself until she found help. It was only at the point when she was being loaded safely into a helicopter that the pain returned.
  45. Time manipulation. How fast time moves for you is literally all in your head. Experts say it’s because your brain has two modes of experiencing the world, rational and experiential. Read more about these modes and how they could save your life.
  46. Taking a nap at work is good for your boss. A 20-minute nap can improve your overall alertness, boost your mood, and increase productivity. William Anthony, co-author of The Art of Napping at Work (Larson Publications, 1999), says the post-nap boost can last for several hours. In addition, your heart may reap benefits from napping. In a six-year study of Greek adults, researchers found that that men who took naps at least three times a week had a 37% lower risk of heart-related death.
  47. The appendix isn’t as useless as you think. Your appendix helps with your digestive system function. Long denigrated as vestigial or useless, the appendix actually has a reason to be – as a “safe house” for the beneficial bacteria living in the human gut. The beneficial bacteria in the appendix that aid digestion can ride out a bout of diarrhea that completely evacuates the intestines and emerge afterwards to repopulate the gut.
  48. Body position affects your memory. Can’t remember your anniversary, hubby? Try getting down on one knee. Memories are highly embodied in our senses. A scent or sound may evoke a distant episode from one’s childhood. The connections can be obvious (a bicycle bell makes you remember your old paper route) or inscrutable. A recent study helps decipher some of this embodiment. An article in the January 2007 issue of Cognition reports that episodes from your past are remembered faster and better while in a body position similar to the pose struck during the event. (Link)
  49. There are more than 300,000,000 capillaries in your lungs and if they were stretched out tip to tip they would reach over 1,500 miles – long enough to start in Los Angeles and end up in Atlanta.
  50. We have more than 5 senses. This can be debatable, but some researchers think that there are at least nine senses while others think are more like 21 or so. Besides the five common senses (smell, touch, sight, sound, and taste), here are some of the senses that researchers have settled on: time, thirst, hunger, tension sensors (brain’s ability to monitor muscle tension), and proprioception (ability to tell where your body parts are, relative to other body parts).

 

Sources:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/176198.php

http://www.medicinenet.com/hiccups/article.htm

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http://icantseeyou.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/02/100-very-cool-f.html

http://www.oddee.com/item_96773.aspx

http://list25.com/25-crazy-facts-about-the-human-body/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/9896.php

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/07/humans-have-a-lot-more-than-five-senses/

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2010/03/about-85-of-people-only-breathe-out-of-one-nostril-at-a-time/

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