Science

Cool Things You Didn’t Know About Our Amazing Body

Our body is wonderful and it works just perfectly to keep us alive and functioning. We know how unique and individualistic the human body is. You’re probably very familiar about the strange things happening in your body, but you may not know the reason why these things happen. Not only does it breathe, digest food, pump blood and excrete waste without conscious effort on your part – it’s also a marvel of biology and mechanics in so many ways.

Here are some cool things you probably don’t know about your own body. 

1. The digestive system can give you super strength

Yes, you will be able to lift up a car if your loved one is trapped under it. When the brain is alerted to danger through the sympathetic nervous system, and it releases adrenaline and non-adrenaline which accelerates heart rate, increase perspiration, dilate the pupils and shuts down the digestive system temporarily to allow the muscles to contract with incredible force. All these changes prepare us to face danger head-on, and when combined, they make us more agile, allow us to take in more information and make us use more energy when needed. 

2. Aching joints can predict the weather

Maybe you heard your grandmother say she knows a storm is coming because her knees started to hurt. Stories of people having creaky joints before the rain aren’t plain old wives’ tales. A change in barometric pressure (or pressure of the air) may be part of the reason, so this way, it predicts the weather. When a storm front moves in, the atmospheric pressure drops. This drop happens right before the bad weather actually sets in, and this causes the sensory nerve endings of the joints to have a relative increase in joint fluid pressure – which results to swelling and knee pain. This effect is slightly felt, but for people who have arthritic or inflamed joints can detect the difference. 

3. Brain freeze is a rapid-onset headache

A woman drinking a watermelon milkshake

It was a hot, summer day and you craved for an ice cold milkshake. The thirst and the heat caused you to take a big sip of the shake, which causes your forehead to experience a sharp, stabbing pain. This feeling of brain freeze happens when something cold hits the roof of your mouth and the blood is directed to that area to warm it back up. This sudden rush of blood causes the blood vessels to expand, which triggers the pain receptors on the brain. This is why the head hurts after a big sip of something cold.

4. A blink is like a very quick nap

A closeup photo of an eye

Most of us know that humans involuntarily blinks to keep the eyes moist and keep dust away from it. And you know it hurts your eyes and it feels dry whenever you try not blinking. But of course, we actually blink way more than needed for those purposes, which is about 15 to 20 times per minute. According to a study from the Washington University, the brief closing of the eyes in a blink helps sharpen attention and serve as a miniature recharge. So in a way, blinks are our micronaps.

5. Humans does really glow

A young woman, smiling

We talk about people having a glow in them, but we just can’t figure out why. Oftentimes, the glow is literally true. Studies have found that the human body does emit visible light, but it’s around 1,000 times less intense than the levels our eyes are able to spot, so it’s not really visible in practice. A group of Japanese scientists dug deeper into this theory and found that the body glow rises and falls throughout the day. The participants of the study had the least glow in their body at 10 AM and the highest glow at 4 PM – perhaps that’s because they were about to wrap up work for the day.

6. You can’t tickle yourself

Have you ever tried tickling yourself? It doesn’t work, right? This is the reason why: Your cerebellum, the part of the brain that monitors movement, can predict the sensation you will feel when you try to tickle yourself, so this counters the response that the tickle would otherwise create. There are two brain regions are involved in processing the feeling of getting tickled, and these are the somatosensory cortex (processes touch) and the anterior cingulate cortex (processes pleasant information). Both these regions are less active when you tickle yourself compared to when you are being tickled by someone else.

7. Earwax is actually good for you

Cotton buds with different colored sticks

If you’re inserting cotton swabs into your ears to remove earwax every day, think again. It looks gross, but sometimes a little grossness is good for you. Earwax serves as a natural cleanser and a lubricant that protects your ears from infection. It’s made of 50 percent fat, and it coats the ears to catch dirt, dust and debris to keep the ears healthy. Tests have actually shown that it has antifungal and antibacterial properties. But of course, too much earwax can cause earaches, infections and other problems. You have to remove them from time to time, as dirt have already attached to them, but you don’t have to keep your ears earwax-free every day.

8. You have more than five senses

A silhouette of a woman leaping off a big rock

We all have learned in school that we have five senses – the sense of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch. But what we don’t talk about is that humans also have many different senses, like the sense of space and self-movement (proprioception), sense of pain (nociception), sense of temperature in and out of the body (thermoception), sense of balance (equilibrioception) and sense of time (temporal perception). Maybe we can add sense of humor to the mix.

9. Kids grow fastest during the summer and spring

Temperature and weather seems to have an effect on the growth of kids. Many people believe that growth happens in kids in a steady and gradual way (except in growth spurt years), pediatricians believe that growth can be seasonal. Children seem to grow faster during the summer and spring (fastest during the summer), and slowest in fall. There is no specific reason why, but we know that increased levels of sunlight has an effect on the synthesis of vitamin D, which may have an effect on the synthesis of calcium and vitamin D in the bones.

10. You are taller in the morning than at night

A woman stretching out in the bed in the morning

Speaking of growth, there seems to be differences in height even in adults – this time, during different times of the day. You are about 1 centimeter (or less) shorter when you go to bed at night than when you wake up the next morning. This is due to the pressure you put on your joints throughout the day. As you go about your activities, this causes compression in the spine and cartilage of just factions of an inch, but still enough to put your height down. As you relax during sleep, the pressure on the spinal disks are eased, so you can return to full height during the day. So if you need to reach for something, it’s best to do it before breakfast.

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