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Facts

10 More Amazing Facts About Our Bodies

Melissa Wold . . . Comments

Our bodies are amazing things. Although this site has listed some fascinating facts about our bodies before, one list just doesn’t cover it all. I’m not sure a hundred lists would do it. So, here are another 10 interesting facts about your body. Enjoy!

10

Swallow and Breathe

Breathing-1

Fact: Humans are the only mammal that can’t swallow and breathe at the same time.

Every other mammal, and many other non-mammalian animals, can breathe while they eat. In fact, human infants are also able to do so, which lets them breathe while they nurse. We lose this ability around the age of 9 months, when our voice box drops as part of our development. As children and adults, the human voice box lays unusually low in the neck compared to other animals. This allows sound to resonate much more, which is why we are able to produce the wide range of sounds that makes up our speech.

9

Second Brain

Gut

Fact: You have a second brain in your gut.

Well, sort of. You have around 100 million neurons, more than are in your spinal cord, that line your gut from your esophagus to your anus. This is known to scientists as the enteric nervous system. This second brain is incapable of conscious thought and is largely responsible for digestion, but it does more than that. If you’ve ever felt “butterflies” in your stomach or felt as if you’ve been punched in the gut when receiving bad news, that was caused by your enteric nervous system. This also plays a roll in your overall mood, why certain foods can alter your mood and why bad situations or feelings often cause you to lose your appetite.


8

Loneliness

Loneliness-Ideami-2

Fact: Loneliness is physically painful.

Ok, you probably knew that. But do you know why? Researchers at the University of California asked volunteers to play a computer game that simulated a simple game of catch with two other players. What they didn’t know was that the other “players” were just the computer and it was designed to leave them out after a few minutes of play, resulting in feelings of loneliness and rejection. They found that the feeling of loneliness is actually processed in the same part of your brain as physical pain, called the anterior cingulate cortex. This explains the human desire to fit in, to seek out companionship and helps to understand the power of peer pressure. Scientists are also hoping to use this information to help explain and treat some forms of depression.

7

Saliva

Vomitting

Fact: You salivate more before you vomit.

This is an automatic bodily reflex designed to protect your throat, mouth and teeth. Stomach acid is, of course, highly acidic and if it weren’t for the lining in your stomach it would eat a hole right through it. Unfortunately, you don’t have that same lining in your throat or mouth. Salivating before vomiting helps to dilute and rinse away the acid so it won’t harm the rest of your body. Your saliva can also help to neutralize the acid somewhat. This is also why it’s a good idea to rinse out your mouth and brush your teeth after you vomit.

6

Bitter Sweet

Sugar 2Xmacro

Fact: Cut yourself? Put sugar on it!

Healers in Africa have been putting crushed sugar cane on wounds for generations. Moses Murandu is a nurse who grew up watching his father use the remedy in Africa and was surprised to find that doctors in England didn’t use it. He started a study to research the idea, testing it on patients with bed sores, leg ulcers and amputations before dressing the wounds. They found that the sugar can reduce pain and kill bacteria that slow healing. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it naturally absorbs water which the bacteria need to survive. Sugar is also much cheaper than more modern antibiotics. So the next time you cut yourself, give it a sprinkle of sugar before putting on a band-aid!

5

Forgetful

Doorway

Fact: Forget why you walked into a room? There is a reason.

Have you ever walked into a room and forgot why you were there? And after that, have you ever noticed that you can sometimes remember if you go back through the doorway? There is actually a reason for that. Researchers in Notre Dame conducted several experiments on rooms and their effect on memory. Subjects in the study were divided into two groups and given a simple task while traveling the same distance. The only difference is one group went through a doorway and the other didn’t. They found that people who traveled through the doorway were three times more likely to forget their task. Researchers concluded that our mind perceives doorways as “event boundaries” and that decisions you made in that room are “stored” there when you leave. That is also why you can remember if you go back into that room.


4

Color Vision

Color Vision2

Fact: Some woman actually see more colors.

Frustrated because you told your hubby to bring your peach shirt and he grabbed a pink one? It might not be his fault. A study from the University of California shows that up to 50% of women carry four types of color receptors, or iodopsins, rather than the usual three. Normal visioned people will look at a rainbow and see seven different colors, while one with four receptors will see around 10 colors. The reason this happens in woman is that the red and green receptors are located on the X chromosome, while the blue is on the Y. The red and green receptors can be slightly shifted allowing for a greater range of color vision. There are also a small number of women who will have both kinds of red and green, resulting in 5 color receptors. This is also why color blindness is much more common in men than women.

3

Boogers

Noah-Picking-Nose

Fact: Eating your boogers may been good for you!

Your nasal mucus (booger) is designed to filter out airborne contaminants and so eating it has long thought to be bad for you, but recent study shows that it may actually help to boast your immune system by introducing those contaminants in small amounts, training your body to recognize and fight against them. But don’t worry, you don’t have to start picking your nose. You have most likely already eaten your boogers, even if you are unaware of it. Mucus accumulated in your nasal passages is often directed backwards and down your throat by the motion of your cilia (hair like structures on your cells used to move things). Yum…


2

Redundant Nostril

Nostrils By David Shankbone

Fact: You probably only breath through one nostril at a time.

This happens in about 85% of people. The truly interesting thing about that is in those people the body with automatically switch between nostrils every four hours or so, although it can vary based on body position, illness or just from person to person. This is accomplished through erectile tissue in your nose similar to that in a penis or clitoris. The erectile tissue will slowly swell up in one nostril, eventually blocking most of it while the tissue in the other one will shrink, allowing for more air flow. It has been found that which side you are breathing from can have an effect on your body. If you are breathing from the right side, for example, your blood glucose levels will rise and you will use much more oxygen. Also, breathing through the right will cause higher activity in the left side of your brain and vise versa. This could be useful in stimulating your right (creative) side or your left (logical) side as needed.

1

Blood Vessels

Blood-Vessels

Fact: Every pound of fat gained causes your body to make 7 new miles of blood vessels.

Knowing this, it’s easy to see why obesity and heart disease often go together. Most of the new blood vessels are tiny capillaries, but also include small veins and arteries. This means if you are “only” 10 pounds overweight your heart has to pump blood through an extra 70 miles of blood vessels. The good news is that this also works in reverse. If you lose a pound of fat, your body will break down and reabsorb the no longer needed blood vessels. This is encouraging to dieters, as one pound does not seem like a lot to lose, but even that little bit of difference will result in a large benefit for your heart!



  • sri

    Good stuff

    • Missy

      The list or eat the boogers?

    • greensmurf

      agreed good stuff

  • mallucobra

    amazing…..

    • Neel

      No. 1 amazing fact about the human body is that it is the only thing that needs something “amazing” to satisfy its curiosity. Other animals just live in nature and are one with it.

      • Auro

        Amazing!

      • Song

        I see you’ve never seen a cat being amazed by their own tail then? :)

        • ParusMajor

          My ex-girlfriend’s dog was always surprised and amazed by his own fart… :D

  • ww

    I can’t argue about this, give me something controversial.

  • reita

    very nice

  • flgh

    #6 but won’t sugar entering your bloodstream increase chances of diabetes?

    • Vivar

      No.. Sugar does not enter directly.. The sugar in blood is glucose.. Not sucrose.. It’s broken down..

  • Arsnl

    Thank you. Now i know why i always breath through only one nostril. I always thought i had a problem or something.

    “Eating your boogers may been good for you!”
    I think that statement shows why it’s not good to eat boogers.

    Good list.

    • Maggot

      If it is always the same nostril, and 100% of the time, then you might still have a “problem”. Not exactly serious, but like a deviated septum or something. I am pretty sure that during our waking moments, both sides are usually open. At least it seems that way to me whenever consciously thinking about it. I am only aware of the natural closing of one side, as described in the list, after laying or sleeping on one side i.e. the “low” side gets blocked, which suggests it’s gravity inducing the blood to swell that side’s tissues. It’s an annoyance to me, but quickly equalized after flipping over, until the other side soon gets blocked.

      • moxie2012

        ..after flipping over…

        My ears were burning.. I thought I heard, nay felt, a summons. But it appears my radar is a bit outta tune and needs a little tweaking. :P

  • Josh

    Hmmmm… Alot of skepticism towards the “Loneliness is physically painful” post. Common mistake amongst the conclusions drawn from the finding of neuroscience, “activity was found in the same part of the brain as x, so x is the same as x”. I fail to understand how anyone, 99.9% of the population, who has every experienced physical pain can truthfully say it is in any way similar to the ‘pain’ experienced when feeling depressed, rejected, lonely etc. Without beginning to get philosophical about it.

    • Song

      I think the lists author meant that depression and loneliness could create actual physical pain, not just what you described as ‘pain’. Like for example headaches or that ‘unpleasant feeling’ in you guts (#9? :) ) could (and only could) be caused by such.
      Come to think of it. If after all, as far as I know anyway, pain is only caused in/by your nervous system, then whatever depression does in your brain might affect said system in some harmful way too. :x

  • Will Trame

    Another interesting fact is that one cannot sneeze and keep one’s eyes open at the same time. Eating boogers, huh? Well, that should make Keith Richards happy. According to Mick, Keef reputedly ate any green booger that came out of his nose.

    • Ni99a

      I suppose you read that sneezing fact from trivia books and hope to win a pub trivia contest?

      To dispute my statement, please elaborate on the sneezing fact so you don’t look like an idiot.

      • Will Trame

        Well…it looks like someone got up on the wrong side of the planet this morning. Try keeping your eyes open next time you sneeze. I believe you’ll see that I’m right.

        Oh, and BTW, I’ve won an amazing number of trivia contests during my tenure on this earth. Yeah, and I love books too. Try reading one sometime, friend, you might learn something.

        • Xyroze

          It is possible to keep your eyes open while you sneeze, look up videos of it on YouTube. Not entirely sure why one would want to do it though..

          • Will Trame

            Thanks for the information. I might just check those videos out, just for grins and giggles.

          • moxie2012

            I’ve tried it before.. and done it.

            But it’s kind of not like a proper sneeze.. hard to explaiin. The sneeze reflex (as in need to sneeze) and motion is the same.. but, I don’t know, the sneeze more comes from the throat.. and is rough.. and hurts the throat a bit.

    • ParusMajor

      Woodpeckers actually have a reflex that closes their eyelids each time they peck. This is because otherwise their eyeballs would fly right out of their sockets, the woodpecker pecks so fast and hard. Woodpeckers also have a very long tongue that goes inside their skull when it’s not in use catching worms and Maggots. Birds are truly fascinating. :)

      • Paradox

        That fact is indeed truly fascinating. :-)

  • Arkon

    Good info.

  • Gina

    Just a quick point to add to number 7 – you shouldn’t clean your teeth immediately after vomiting, you should just rinse as the acid can soften the enamel of the teeth, and so if you brush them you can actually cause some damage and corrosion. But other than that, interesting list!

    • Maggot

      That’s interesting. Common sense I suppose, but it didn’t cross my mind. As an aside, it sometimes can be an indicator that a person is bulimic, if their teeth are f.ucked up from all the exposure to stomach acid. I swear man, vomiting has got to be the most vile bodily function there is. More so than even “normal” waste elimination. I am almost phobic about it. A little TMI here, but I can’t remember the last time I puked. It’s been at least 20 years, probably more. Seriously. Lol, I think Jerry Seinfeld even did a bit along these lines once.

    • Will Trame

      I’ve been fortunate there too…I haven’t puked in over 17 years. the last thing that made me spew out like a rancid sewer-hole was over indulging in too much Jack Daniels. Since gout put me on the wagon, I don’t foresee any more vomiting in my immediate future.

      • not sure why, maybe I have a strong stomach or something, but in my 29 years outside of baby puke Ive never puked. Ive come close by gagging but Ive never gotten over the hump so to speak

  • Andyman

    Okay, here’s something I can’t wrap my head around…70 miles of new blood vessels? I can’t believe there is enough organic matter in the body to stretch 1 mile let alone 70. Unless we’re talking lining up atoms one by one?

    • Arsnl

      Well considering that capillaries are about 0.01 mm (so in a mm you could put about 100 capillaries) it’s not that hard to imagine. Plus the blood system forms a sort of a fractal structure so it’s not that hard to imagine you’d get 7 miles for a pound. By I really doubt it would be that difficult for the heart to pump blood through it.

      • Andyman

        Ah…in the title it says 7 miles and in the paragraph it says 70 miles. Big difference there.

        • Paradox

          1 pound of fat=7 miles.We’re talking 10 pounds.

          • Andyman

            Right, apparently I can’t read. Still 7 or 70 miles seems a bit extreme. Maybe I should give Myth Busters a call?

        • Paradox

          The average human body already contains over 60,000 miles of blood vessels.Does 70 seem like a stretch anymore?

  • PHL

    wohoo. interesting and informative. thumbs up!

  • Goingdownhill

    Good list! Could have used a little editing, but overall very good. Lists like this are why I keep coming back!

  • hillwilliam

    I was goinf to leave a comment but after walkin thru the door i forgot what it was….

    • Ni99a

      Not funny.

      • hhenry

        …cause we all know you’re the expert in “not funny”.

      • Will Trame

        I thought it was funny. Humor is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.

  • carimbo

    really nice list… the human body is just a great piece of machinery

  • OH WOW, he printed my list! I literally just submitted this one to get in on the contest and it was just under the wire too. I’m glad that people are enjoying it, I thought it was all pretty interesting stuff. Sorry, I know it could have been more well written, but I had a little time crunch and chose to put the time into the research. Oh, and a thank you for fixing a few of the grammatical mistakes I noticed after submitting.

    • moxie2012

      Oh, and a thank you for fixing a few of the grammatical mistakes I noticed after submitting.

      Lol they weren’t all fixed, Mizzie.. so, no need to humour Ed by thanking for that! :D

      Interesting list btw.

  • snowrail

    Re: #9, the spinal cord actually contains 1 billion neurons, so the enteric nervous system is actually about 10% the size, not larger. Also, it is not capable of “conscious thought”. Nonetheless, interesting — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enteric_nervous_syst

    • Xyroze

      I’m willing to bet they meant “100 million more neurons, beyond what is in your spinal cord” not 100 million plus the billion in the spinal cord. Which would be 10% the size. Also, incapable means not capable.

      Might want to take a closer look at what’s written before you correct it.

      • snowrail

        The “incapable” was corrected after I made my comment. Obviously I know the difference. I don’t know if it was my comment that caused the correction to be made or if the writer caught it on their own, but when I made my comment the article was different than it is now.

        I am however having some trouble parsing the first part of your snideness, but either way what they’ve written appears to say that this nervous system contains more nerves than the spine, which is incorrect. If I’m reading it wrong then I’m sure a lot of other people are as well, and hopefully they’ll correct that as well.

        • Xyroze

          Eh, I’m not buying it. Thanks for playing though.

    • skywatcher

      Snowrail, I also thought it said “Capable of” when I first rad it. But now it sys “incapable of…” I suspect some belated editing….

  • Vincent

    Boogers are good for you (to an extent). I’ll be sure not to show that to my kids; I don’t need them winning an argument over why they can’t eat out their noses in public. Bright side: at the rate they chow down, they’ll never get sick. Ever.

    • ni99a

      Good that you train your kids in censorship at such an early age.

  • mongZ

    was put off by some misused words but a good list. very informative. i still can’t get over #3. ugh

  • oouchan

    Nice topic…..but I’ll pass on the boogers, thanks! Just the “ick” factor alone is enough to turn my stomach.

    Cool list.

  • Maggot

    Nice list, good job Melissa. The #4 item about color vision was particularly fascinating, and ties in to the color item on the “Things we can’t comprehend” list of a couple days ago. I believe one of our regular posters here, segues, has the condition described, of having the extra color receptors. If she stops by today, maybe she will expound about it.

  • Dean, James

    Too American.

  • I cant breath out my right nostril at all and never have for as long as I can remember. Like Arsnl I thought I had some kind of problem but 30 years in I have yet to have any type of noticeable “problems” from it.

  • Barb

    Melissa is awesome! Good reading, interesting, educational!

  • Short, sweet a pleasure to read. Just needs a re-edit. Breath vs breathe, boast vs boost, roll vs role. Look forward to seeing more!

  • Jay

    Good list- interestIng!

  • elton

    Could someone explain how accupuncture and accupressure works

    • Paradox

      Acupuncture is sticking needles into your body.Acupressure is applying pressure to your aching bits, like a massage, though I think, harder.

      • Xyroze

        …Wow.. Such incredible insight on a topic you’ve obviously heard the names of before.. I’m pretty sure he already knew what the words meant.

        Seriously, your comment was literally just as useless as the one I’m making right now.

        • Paradox

          Then why write it?You needn’t tell me my comment was useless.IGNORE.

    • Kpstart

      We don’t know if they work at all, let alone how:

      http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2543/doe

  • rallierf1

    now this is an interesting list! especially the thing about sugar :)

  • Pippa

    Like it!
    BTW honey is used on wounds, too!

  • Pippa

    …and Maggots.

    • Slappy

      Honey on maggots? That’s disgusting!

    • Pippa

      Maggots:-) are used on infected wounds to eat away rotten flesh.
      Honey & Maggots on toast with sardines? Yum-yum!

      • ParusMajor

        Leeches (Hirudo medicinalis in Latin), actually, not Maggots. :)

        • Nope, its maggots. Leeches draw blood, they do not consume flesh.

          • Zombie

            So, I shouldn’t be worried about these maggots all over my wounds, because they’re like the friendly maggots, right? And they will help me get better, right???

  • bravo! nice job, very interesting.

  • Definitely one of the best lists in a while.

  • nephthysnight

    #4
    “Fact: Some woman actually see more colors.”

    should be women

  • shivani

    good to know about boogers

  • Bridget

    Cool list. Thank you.

  • broccoli

    Actually, you shouldn’t brush your teeth right after you vomit. It damages your teeth, it has something to do with the enamel I think

  • Freddie

    Red chili powder is also good for cuts and wounds and no, it does not sting at all.

    All this talk about boogers and puke is making me really sick!!

  • jasmine

    shouldn’t this list be “10 disadvantages of the human body” everything here is negative that we wish we wouldn’t have. just ridiculous

  • Joe

    Let me make it very clear, for creativity you need both hemispheres. For logic you need both Hemispheres.

    • Xyroze

      What about people with split hemispheres?

  • Humans can’t swallow and breathe at the same time: fascinating (as Mr. Spock would say).

  • timothy53

    Wow! Particularly number 1 and number 8. As one who has lost 90 pounds, I still go through the “comfort food” and other food trigger issues. The enteric nervous system could be partly why. And the blood vessels explains why by BP dropped so much after only 20 pound sof loss.

    • ParusMajor

      Do you know how you can lose 165 pounds immediately? Dump your lady. :)

  • Almost every single fact taught me something new that I did not know about. For starters, I am the oldest of 8 children and I have seen my mother nurse and I have bottle fed many babies. I always wondered how they could drink so fast and be able to breathe while nursing. That is a crazy thing to wonder while watching a baby nurse, but take the moment to observe a hungry baby being bottle fed or nursing with their mother and you will notice they breathe and drink at the same time. I did not realize humans possessed that ability as newborns and then lose it at around nine months. Great facts.

  • I am astonished at some of these facts. The first fact answered a question I had had growing up, how is it possible for a baby to nurse and breathe so fast? I am the oldest of 8 children so I have seen babies nurse literally all my life. I would sometimes wonder how babies can drink their bottle so fast when they are hungry and I would also think of how cute they are when they start to nurse and breathe heavily but I did not know it was because they can breathe and eat at the same time. Also, the fact about the second brain in your gut was awesome, I had no idea we had a nervous system like that. It is not fun having the just kicked in your gut feeling when receiving bad news but it is cool to know where it is coming from.

  • Geko

    Fact: if you take out all the veins in your body and line them up end to end, you will die.

    True story.

  • Bugface11

    Talk about ‘Gut instincts’ :D

  • bharat

    very nice

  • Harshith

    A worthy site

  • Karm

    If blue receptors are carried on the Y chromosome, then how can females see blue? (Given that females don’t have Y chromosomes)

  • pravallika

    thank you…………………………………………………..
    for…………. this……………. valuable………….
    information……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..!

  • Giselle

    To test number two just put one finger lightly on each nostril and breathe in through the nose and blow.. you’ll feel more air go out another.. cool huh?