We may take our bodies for granted, however, science tells us that they are truly wonderful things. Here are a few facts you might not know about the body.
- Your brain is shrinking – Once we reach 35 years of age, we start to lose around 7,000 brain cells each day. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent this and these cells will never renew (so use them while you can!)
- But your ears and nose are growing – Unlike most other tissues in the body, cartilage keeps growing throughout your life. Your nose, for example, grows about 2.5cm from your 30s to your 70s.
- Your body is ginormous – Did you know that if you lined up the 300,000 blood vessels in your lungs, they would stretch from North to South America (a distance of around 2,400km)? Similarly, you might not realize it, but your skin is a huge organ – the biggest in your body, in fact. Every half centimeter of skin contains 5 meters of blood vessels, 1,300 nerve endings and 3 million cells. These cells are constantly renewing, meaning that over your lifetime, you’ll shed around 18kg of skin.
- Your eyes can see into the past – The human eye is a powerful and finely balanced machine, with the ability to spot a single light photon. On a clear day, your eyes can see all the way to Andromeda (the galaxy that neighbors earth). This seems remarkable enough, but even more astounding is the fact that those light rays started travelling to earth about 2.5million years ago. In effect, this means that when you gaze into the sky, you’re looking far back into the past.
- Your blood moves fast – A single drop of blood can circulate the entire body in around 30 seconds. You may also think that your blood is red due to its iron, but the color actually comes from a hemoglobin ring (the porphyrin), which changes to red when it binds with oxygen.
- You’re stronger than you think – The skeleton is extremely strong. If you made brick from one of your bones, it would be able to hold up to 9 tons of weight.
- Your body is built to last – Your body can go without key fuel for much longer than you think. For example, you can live for 40 days without food, 6 days with no water and 11 days without sleep. Your oxygen supply is slightly more critical however –just over 4 minutes without it your brain will start dying.
- Your humble big toe is one of your best assets – The big toe is critical to our balance and the structure of our bodies, enabling us to keep balance while standing.