It’s easy to forget how much we can take our bodies for granted until something goes wrong with them. For instance, I never realized how many muscles have to be working properly for us to walk, get up and especially bend over until I sprained my knee last year.
As it healed, I felt like I had to unlock normal bodily functions all over again and I definitely felt a new appreciation for the work my body does every day.
But fortunately, we don’t have to go through painful experiences with slow recovery processes to get a sense of all the sophisticated ways our body works. We just have to learn a little more about how they operate.
1. We fart at least 14 times a day.
Reddit | TheGelato1251
According to Harvard Health, this is true of “every human being” and the reason why we don’t notice ourselves doing it so much is that we tend to fart about as much in our sleep as in waking life.
Besides, it’s not as if we tally our farts every day, right?
2. We have about as much bacteria in our bodies as we do human cells.
Reddit | glasseskouhai
As Nature reported, Canadian and Israeli researchers found that the old assumption that we have 10 times as much bacteria in our bodies as we do human cells is a myth.
Nonetheless, the average adult between 20 and 30 years old at a height of five foot six and 154 pounds will have about 30 trillion human cells and 39 trillion bacteria.
Not only can that number vary from person to person but the researchers found that even a bowel movement can bring this bacteria count down.
3. The anus is the first part of us to develop in the womb.
Reddit | Aeon1508
Norwegian researchers from the University of Bergen outlined that this begins with the first opening that forms in an embryo called the blastopore.
Although some creatures like worms and jellyfish will eventually develop this opening into a mouth, others like sea urchins and sea stars will use the blastophore as the foundation for an anus.
As confirmed by Nature, humans have more in common with sea urchins than jellyfish in this respect and our butts develop first.
4. Our stomach lining turns as red as our cheeks when we blush.
Reddit | RuMoirin
As the CBC reported, tiny blood vessels called capillaries widen and increase blood flow all over our bodies when we feel anxious or embarrassed.
This effect is just the most noticeable in our cheeks and stomach lining because the vessels in those areas are closer to the surface than usual.
5. There’s a very good chance you have tiny mites in your eyebrows.
Reddit | lupusmortuus
According to the Indian Journal of Dermatology, there are two species of demodex mites that are found in between 23% and 100% of healthy adults.
We tend not to notice or worry about these mites because they usually don’t leave any noticeable effects. However, they can be a causal factor in some skin conditions like rosacea for some individuals.
6. The average eye can distinguish about a million different colors.
Reddit | GymLeaderMisty
As the BBC reported, this can vary from person to person and depends a lot on how many different cone cell types we have in our eyes.
Most people have three variants but those who are color-blind have two, which brings the range of colors they can see down to about 10,000. However, rare individuals with a mutation that gives them a fourth cone cell type can see up to 100 million different colors.
7. Our brains can whip messages around at speeds reaching 268 miles per hour.
Reddit | [deleted], Fox Broadcasting Company
According to the University of California in Santa Barbara, this translates to about 115,197 feet per second but it can also vary between different people and animals.
Furthermore, nerve damage can slow down how quickly the body reacts to a brain impulse regardless of how quickly that impulse occurs.
8. Stress can turn our earwax into more of a nuisance than usual.
Reddit | ana_belle_
While Nigerian researchers identified a variety of causes for conditions where earwax builds up enough to hurt our ears and affect our hearing, they also confirmed that stress, anxiety, and fear can cause excessive earwax production.
You wouldn’t think stress would have anything to do with earwax but here we are.
9. A single hair can support a surprising amount of weight.
Reddit | crazymamachicken
As Scientific American explained, a strand of hair is only about a tenth of a millimetre thick yet can carry up to 100 grams in weight.
This is partially due to the strength of the keratin fibers that make up the hair’s central layer but it also helps that two other layers are supporting this one.
10. When we ride a rollercoaster, even our organs are reacting to the speed.
Reddit | GoatAndYourMum
As Dr. Michael Longley of Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel told WLRN, the G Forces of a roller coaster can shift our brains, hearts, eyes and blood vessels as much as the rest of our bodies. This apparently only becomes dangerous at around nine G’s and most roller coasters average at four.
Still, if you’ve ever noticed that you really have to go to the bathroom after riding a roller coaster, it’s not just your nerves. Your stomach and intestines are experiencing all that motion, too.
11. We use enough saliva in our lifetime to fill a swimming pool.
Reddit | wez360
As Luis Villazon stated in the BBC’s Science Focus magazine, it’s hard to get a sense of how much saliva we actually produce since most of it is recycled after we swallow it again.
But the amount that we use averages out to about 30 millilitres per hour with more used when we’re eating and less when we’re sleeping. This means we end up with a full wine bottle of spit every day and about 20,000 litres of it in our lifetimes, which can fill a small swimming pool.
12. Showering every day can actually have adverse effects on the skin.
Reddit | drunkonlacroix
As Microbiologist Jason Tetro told Global News, daily showering can damage your body’s ecosystem and reduce the number of microbes that can strengthen your immune system, particularly when it comes to skin issues like dermatitis and impetigo.
At the same time, not washing enough can lead to a buildup of unwanted bacteria that can affect respiratory and gut health.
For this reason, he recommends showering every two to three days while cleaning the groin, butt, and armpits every day.