10 surprising things you probably don’t know about your body

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 23 May, 2024 06:01 | 3 mins read
Photo of woman studying anatomy. PHOTO/Pexels

While you may have a bunch of cool tricks up your sleeve—whether you can flip your eyelids inside out or have mastered the art of the tongue roll—there are tonnes more weird facts about the human body sure to amaze you.

Your gut has a ‘second brain’

We’ve all felt that “butterflies in the stomach” sensation (say, before a first date or major presentation). There’s good reason for this: There’s a network of neurons that lines the gut, which some scientists have taken to referring to as our “second brain.” The gut doesn’t just handle digestion, but comes with its own reflexes and senses, and is intricately and inextricably interwoven with your nervous system. So, yeah, trust your gut.

Your feet can grow as you age

After years of wear and tear, tendons and ligaments in your feet may weaken. This can cause arches to flatten, which means feet get wider and longer. It won’t happen to everyone, though-people who are overweight, who get swollen feet or ankles, or who have certain medical conditions, like diabetes, are more prone. If it does happen, the average gain is about one shoe size by age 70 or 80.

You’ll have a brand-new skeleton in 10 years

Did you know that you are constantly developing new bones and after about every 10 years get an entirely new skeleton? This process of formation and remodelling is essential for maintaining the strength and structure of our bones. Remodelling targets the old and damaged bone and plays a key role in maintaining mechanical strength of bone. Bones are, essentially, living and growing tissue mostly made up of two materials — collagen, a protein that provides soft framework, and calcium minerals that add strength and harden the framework. This combination makes the bone strong and flexible enough so it can hold up under stress.

You’re taller in the morning than you are at night

It might seem like a tall tale, but when you wake up in the morning, you’re actually a tiny bit taller than you were when you went to bed. This is due to the pressure put on joints throughout the day. As you go about your activities, this pressure causes the cartilage in your spine to compress—just fractions of an inch, but enough to push everything down. As you relax in your sleep, it eases the pressure on your spinal disks, thus allowing you to return to your full height.

Your stomach growls because it’s full of hot air

Ever wondered why you experience those grumbly, growly sounds when hungry? It all circles back to the digestive system. More specifically, the intestines. They go through a series of contractions to help move food and liquid along when eating. But even after all the food is digested, the intestines continue to move air through the digestive tract. That’s what causes “borborygmus,” the scientific name assigned to those funny little rumbles.

Motion sickness is caused by your insides shifting

You know that sinking feeling you get when in an escalator? Turns out, it might be a little something more than the adrenalin. According to experts, these rides can achieve speeds fast enough to actually toss your internal organs around. We’re talking brain, heart, eyes, blood vessels, and more. Don’t worry, the acceleration isn’t enough to do any harm (unless you have a pre-existing condition). It’s just enough to leave you feeling a little queasy. You’re not damaging your innards by riding even the craziest of roller coasters (everything returns to its proper place), but your nerves detect the movement, which registers as though your stomach has jumped into your throat.

 Fingerprints don’t actually improve your grip

Many experts think we have fingerprints to improve grip, but a British study from a few years back suggests otherwise. Researchers found that a fingerprint’s ridges actually made it harder to hold flat, smooth surfaces, like plexiglas, because they reduced the skin’s contact area. Instead, they think our prints might help wick water off our fingertips or allow our skin to stretch more easily, which can protect it from damage and help prevent blisters. Other scientists have suggested fingerprints could improve our sense of touch.

Achy joints may be used to forecast weather

A change in barometric readings may be part of the reason: Atmospheric pressure often drops right before bad weather sets in; this shift could cause body tissue to expand, which can lead to swelling and pain. The effect is slight, but people who have arthritic or inflamed joints may detect the difference. Temperature may have an impact too: In 2007, researchers at Tufts University, USA, found that every 10-degree drop in temperature corresponded with a small increase in osteoarthritic knee pain.

 Your teeth shift with age

Every smile is different, but a lot of this has to do with loss of the bone behind the gums that occurs with aging. If you lose enough bone-which can be exacerbated by such factors as smoking or gum disease -your teeth can shift even if you had braces as a teen.

 Your diaphragm causes side stitches when you run

Your diaphragm gets stretched, pulled, and pounded during a run, which can cause that sharp, stabbing pain at the lower edge of your rib cage, usually on the right side of your body. To help the pain pass, slow down and take more controlled, easy breaths.

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