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The 15 Best Things You Can Do For Your Body

Your lifespan largely relies on the way you take care of your body. Do you consider yourself to be healthy? For those who say yes, it’s important to understand a healthy lifestyle consists of much more than just regular exercise and a good diet.

As Healthy Eating explains, “a nutritious, well-balanced diet – along with physical activity and refraining from smoking – is the foundation of good health.” However, there are always things you can do and changes you can make to ensure your body is healthy.

You don’t have to spend an absurd amount of money on a personal trainer or rack up a huge grocery store bill on organic foods. There are cheaper things you can do, like simply going outside and getting a good night’s sleep.

Here are some of the best things you can do for your body. If you notice something on the list you’re not currently doing, try adding it to your daily routine. Watch over time and see how much your body improves.

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20 Tricks And Weird Things You Didn’t Know Your Body Could Do

Although every one of us is different, we all have body’s that can do tricks and weird things we have never even heard of before. You actually never know what your body can do these days. Thanks to technology and research, now we can learn new tricks our body can do from relieving aches and pains without medication to telling the future. Here are 20 tricks and weird things you didn’t know your body could do.

Do We Have Super Hearing?

Say, you are at a noisy concert but you are trying to hear what your friend is saying. If you turn to listen to them with your right ear when they are talking, you will hear them better because the right ear is better at tracking active talking. However, if you are trying to figure out what song is playing, turn to the radio with your left ear toward it to be able to determine the song. This works this way because the different hemispheres of the brain work better for different things.

Scratch Your Ear To Ease Your Tickling Throat

When your throat starts tickling, you tend to try to clear it to get rid of the tickle. This doesn’t work very well, however. All you really need to do is scratch your ear to ease that tickle in your throat. When you scratch your ear, the scratching activates the nerves in the ear which in turn creates a reflux like reaction and causes a muscle twitch. The muscle twitching in your ear eases the tickle in your throat.

Think About Sex And It Won’t Bother You To Have To Pee

If you are in a situation where you can’t use the bathroom anywhere but you really need to pee, just think about sex — it eases the discomfort of having to urinate really badly. This is because the thought of having sex occupies your mind and your body and will distract you from feeling the discomfort of having to urinate so badly.

Decrease Temporary Pain

If you need to get some kind of injection when visiting the doctor or you are in the emergency room and you don’t want to feel the small pinch from the needle, just cough a little and it will decrease even this little bit of pain. This is because coughing decreases pain signals to the brain which, in turn, causes you to feel less of it.

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33 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Your Own Body

You probably think you know your body pretty well. After all, you’re the one who feeds it, nurtures it, gazes at it in the mirror, and uses it to walk through this world. But did you have any idea that it has the power to digest metal? Or that every time you blink you’re taking a tiny nap? Or that your pinky is your strongest finger? It’s all true! So read on, and revel in all of the amazing things you didn’t know about your body. And if you’re looking to turn your body into a high-powered, fat-burning machine, take a look at our latest book: The Super Metabolism Diet: The Two-Week Plan to Ignite Your Fat-Burning Furnace and Stay Lean for Life!

1 A Blink is a Micronap

You probably thought that a blink was just something you did to keep your eyes moist or keep dust out of them. That is a very valuable service, of course, but we actually blink way more than needed for that alone—about 15 to 20 times per minute. In fact, closing our eyes briefly has been found, according to a study by Washington University, to help sharpen attention and serves as a miniature recharge.

2 Big Eyes Cause Nearsightedness

Big eyes may be considered beautiful by some, but they can cause nearsightedness. Also known as myopia, this condition that causes distant objects to look blurry is caused by light not properly reaching the retina.

If your eyeball grows too long, light is focused too soon before it hits the retina—so when it does hit the retina the image is blurry.

3 Hair Can “Taste”

Nasal passages and lungs are lined with fine hairs, or cilia, that detect and sweep out impurities. How do they detect it? By sensing bitter tastes of the things passing through them (such as, say, nicotine). When these hairs taste something bitter, they increase their rate of movement, attempting to sweep out the bad stuff, according to a study published in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

4 It’s Impossible to Tickle Yourself

Your cerebellum—the area in the back of your brain that monitors movement—predicts the sensation you will feel when you attempt to tickle yourself, countering the response that the tickle would otherwise elicit in other parts of your brain.

“Two brain regions are involved in processing how tickling feels. The somatosensory cortex processes touch and the anterior cingulate cortex processes pleasant information,” Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a research fellow at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London, explained to Scientific American. “We found that both these regions are less active during self-tickling than they are during tickling performed by someone else, which helps to explains why it doesn’t feel tickly and pleasant when you tickle yourself.”

5 Your Hair Helps the Environment

Dirty hair can be good for the atmosphere: according to environmental engineers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, hair absorbs the air pollutant ozone. Scalp oils were found to be a major contributor to this, so if you want to do your part to help your local air quality, skip the shampoo! More than anything, this fact truly proves to be one of the more interesting things you didn’t know about your body.

6 Humans “Glow,” You Just Can’t See It

When we talk about someone having a “glow” about them, that’s often literally true. Research has found that the human body does in fact emit visible light, but since it’s about 1,000 times less intense than the levels our eyes are able to spot, it’s not “visible” in practice.

A team of Japanese scientists dug into this further and found that this body glow rises and falls throughout the day, with the least glow coming off of the humans they tested at about 10:00 a.m., and the highest at about 4:00 p.m. (perhaps because they were about to wrap up work for the day).

7 Stomach Acid Dissolves Razor Blades

You probably shouldn’t be swallowing these things, but you might be surprised to learn that your stomach could do some serious damage on razor blades if you did. Researchers out of Meridia Huron Hospital tested the effects of gastric juice on metal objects and found that over 24 hours, the stomach acid reduced razor blades to 63 percent of their original weight (pennies and batteries, however, were barely affected).

8 Sneezes Can Travel Up to 20 Feet

You may think you’re safe when the guy all the way across the subway car sneezes, but you may be in the line of fire without even realizing it. A video study conducted by researchers at MIT found that sneezes travel much farther than previously believed—as far as 20 feet.

9 Earwax Is Good for You

To be clear: you don’t want to eat earwax! But that annoying stuff you’re using Q-tips to remove serves the important purpose of lubricating, cleaning, and protecting your ears from infection. It’s as much as 50 percent fat, coating the ear and catching dust and debris—keeping your ears healthy, even if it looks gross.

10 You Lose Almost One-Third of Your Bones as You Age

According to Mammal Anatomy: An Illustrated Guide, you’re born with about 300 bones, but as you grow, some of these fuse together as cartilage ossifies, eventually leaving you with 206 bones by the time you stop growing (once you’ve reach young adulthood). As it turns out, there are quite a few things you didn’t know about your body.

11 Hair Knows When You Sleep

One crazy thing that hairs can do: track your sleeping patterns. Researchers out of Yamaguchi University have found that our cell-rich hair follicles contain RNA from “clock genes” that express each person’s sleep-wake cycle. If you get up late or go to bed early, your hair will show it.

12 Human Nails Grow Faster Today Than They Used to

If you feel like you’re having to trim your nails more than you use to, you might not be wrong. A study out of the University of North Carolina comparing the growth of finger- and toenails to two previous studies from 70 and 50 years earlier found that growth had increased by almost a quarter over the decades. For example, the big toe was found to grow by more than 2mm per month, compared to 1.65mm per month in the 1930s. The reason, according to researchers? The proliferation of protein-rich diets.

13 Taste Buds Dull With Age

Wine may taste better as it ages, but as we age, it’s harder for us to appreciate it. Just as hearing and vision tend to deplete as the years go by, your sense of taste does the same. As you get older, your taste buds regenerate more slowly after injury or if you take certain medications. And bad news for the ladies: Women generally experience a decrease in their taste sensitivity beginning in their 50s, while men don’t experience that until their 60s.

14 You Have a One-of-a-Kind Tongue Print

Just as your fingerprint is uniquely yours, so too is your tongue print, according to a study by the Thai Moogambigai Dental College. Biometric scans can be done to compare the individual shape (long or short, wide or narrow) and texture (ridges, wrinkles, and marks), with specific details tracked and mapped by a “tongue image-acquiring device.” Of course, while this thing you didn’t know about your body might be interesting, it probably is not very useful to forensic investigators.

15 Humans Are the Only Animals That Weep

While many animals produce tears as lubricants for their eyes, humans are the only ones who cry as an emotional response. Dr. Thomas Dixon, director of the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary, University of London, suggested that tears serve a social purpose for humans and that, “Even for those who think they really are just weeping for nobody apart from themselves, it’s still a sort of performance. You’re showing yourself things have really got bad, or whatever it might be.”

16 Your Rear Is Your Largest Muscle

While there is some debate about which of your muscles is the strongest, your gluteus maximus happens to be your largest, according to the Library of Congress. These muscles help keep your body upright and move your hips and thighs have to work against gravity when you’re walking uphill or upstairs. Oh, and they also cushion you in the seated position.

17 Half Your Hand Strength Is in Your Pinkie

The pinkie seems unassuming, but it’s crucial for your hand strength—helping the thumb to pinch and giving more power to the ring, middle, and index fingers. Laurie Rogers, hand therapist at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, told the New York Times that losing your pinkie would mean, “You’d lose 50 percent of your hand strength, easily.”

18 Your Intestine Is Four Times as Long as You Are

This just in: there are a plethora of things you didn’t know about your body. Case in point: your small intestine is about 18 to 23 feet long, meaning, if you uncoiled it, it would stretch to almost four times the length of your own body.

19 Humans Have More Than Five Senses

20 Your Body Position Affects Your Memory

Researchers have found that sitting and looking downward will make it easier to recall negative memories, while sitting upright and looking upward makes it easier to recall positive, empowering memories.

21 The Smallest Bone In Your Body Is In Your Ear

No named bone in your body is smaller (or lighter) than the stapes, a bone in the middle ear that’s actually shaped like a stirrup. It’s complete with a base and an oval window, which is covered with a membrane that measures sound vibrations.

22 Kids Grow Fastest In the Summer

As the temperature rises, so do the height of kids. While you might imagine that growth happens in a steady, gradual way, Joseph Gigante, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, tells CNN that, like much else in the natural world, growth spurts can be seasonal: “Although we don’t have a good explanation for it, children seem to grow fastest in the summer and slowest in the fall.”

23 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.

24 There Are No Muscles In Your Fingers

Your fingers do countless important things throughout the day, from opening jars to opening doors. But as strong a grip as you might have, it’s not because you’ve got strong muscles in your fingers. Any movement that happens in your fingers is due to tendons and bones, with a lot of help from the muscles in the palms of your hands and at the base of each individual digit.

25 Bones Are Stronger Than Steel

While most of us experience a broken bone at some point in life, the fact is that bone is an incredibly tough substance. So strong, in fact, that, as Discover Magazine puts it, “ounce for ounce, our bones are stronger than steel.” A bone has a greater pressure tolerance and bearing strength than a rod of steel of the same width. The strongest bone in the body is the femur, which can support 30 times the weight of an average human.

26 Your Tongue Is the Only Muscle That Doesn’t Join Two Bones

Every muscle in the human body connects to bones at both ends, allowing it to pull and create motion. There’s one prominent exemption: your tongue. On one end, it’s connected to your hyoid bone—part of your neck—but nothing else on the other side.

27 Babies Don’t Have Kneecaps

You’d think that our kneecaps would be a necessary part of the human body. Not for babies, who aren’t born with them. Instead, it’s cartilage that gradually turns into bone, as ossification begins between the ages of three and six years—and doesn’t fully finish until young adulthood.

28 Your Liver Can Almost Completely Regrow

The liver is resilient. Even if reduced by as much as 75 percent, it can grow back to normal size. This happens through the rapid replication of liver cells, with the thing reaching its original size (or very close to it) within about a month, according to the University of Iowa. Though this may be one of the few things you didn’t know about your body, it should be the one fact that proves to be truly stunning.

29 Your Feet Contain a Quarter of Your Bones

Human feet contain 52 bones (26 for each foot). That’s nearly a quarter of all the bones in your whole body! Each also contains 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

30 You’re Taller In the Morning Than You Are at Night

It might seem like a tall tale, but, as the folks at Business Insider explain, when you wake up in the morning, you’re actually a tiny bit taller than you are when you went to bed. This is due to the pressure put on joints throughout the day. As you go about your activities, it puts 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 and allowing you to return to your full height.

31 We’re As Hairy Per Square Inch as Chimpanzees

It turns out we’re just as hairy as chimps. Or, at least, to take it from The Economist, “per square centimeter, human skin has as many hair follicles as that of other great apes.” We have the same number of hairs as chimps, even if the hair itself is much finer, making it harder to see and creating a lower volume of hair overall.

32 You’ll Have a Brand-New Skeleton In 10 Years

Your skeletal system’s cells are constantly regenerating and on average, these bones you have now will have completely regenerated in about a decade’s time. This does start to slow down as you age, with regeneration taking longer, causing bones to naturally become thinner.

33 The Noise Your Stomach Makes When You’re Hungry Is: “Borborygmus”

Next time you’re in a meeting or having a quiet conversation and your stomach makes an embarrassing rumbling sound, you can blame it on borborygmus, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. That’s the technical term for the gurgling sound that results from fluid and gas moving around in the intestines (plural, it’s known as borborygmi).

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There are things that you think you should be able to do with your body. But if you’re like 99.9999% of people in the world, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t quite manage to do it.

Here is a list of things that are impossible to do with your body, and the few mutants who can do ’em:

10. Raise One Eyebrow

I can raise both of my eyebrows in bewilderment on how some people can raise just one. In fact, I know only one person in my life who can do this: my mother-in-law, who said that her ability just came to her during the pain of childbirth – and that this superpower was very useful in raising kids. Well, her and of course Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock: “Fascinating, Captain”), Sean Connery, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Stephen Colbert.

Some people call this the eyebrow cock, and it is known as the universal sign of O RLY … I mean, skepticism. The ability to raising eyebrows may be an evolutionary trait: baboons, mandrills and cebus monkeys raise their eyebrows as a threat gesture. (Source: David Givens / Center for Nonverbal Studies).

For all of you who want to do this (and yes, geeks who want to imitate Mr. Spock: I’m talkin’ to you), it turns out that you can learn to raise one eyebrow. Here’s the trick, according to wikiHow:

1. Start by keeping one eyebrow down with one hand and holding one up with the other. Keep practicing this in the mirror so you can detect the correct muscle movement to obtain one eyebrow up.
2. Once you are familiar with this and can do it quite well, try it with out using your hands.
3. Practice this in the mirror intil you get it just right
4. Scare and thrill people with your new talent!

Didn’t work for you? Try the methods in this Ask MetaFilter thread or this Yahoo! Answer.

9. Lick Your Elbow


Photo: Gussy (Luke)

I once read a trivia that said it’s impossible to lick your own elbow. And that 75% of the people told this immediately tried to lick their elbows.

Well! It’s obviously not so impossible for some people. Supposedly, Guinness World Records get about 5 claims a day from people who think that they are special just because they can lick their elbows (Source).

8. Gleeking

Okay, it is kind of gross but it’s fascinating. Gleeking (or gleeting / glicking) is like spitting – but not quite: the term means projecting saliva from the submandibular gland upon compression by the tongue.

Interestingly, the word gleek appears in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, where a character named Bottom says “Nay, I can gleek upon occasion.” (The Bard meant it as “joke,” though, not spit like a camel)

7. Twitch Your Nose

Y’know, twitch your nose like the witch Samantha Stephens of Bewitched.

Elizabeth Montgomery, the actress that played Samantha, actually got sick and tired of being asked to twitch her nose by her fans that she refused to do it after the series was over.

They should bring back Bewitched. I missed that show.

6. Wiggle Your Ear

Your cat can do it. And so can the hippo and Jeff Goldblum. But only few other people in the world can wiggle their ears. It turned out that in 2006, scientists determined exactly why most people couldn’t wiggle their own ears:

“The mechanism behind ear movements is sophisticated,” says Bastiaan ter Meulen, who led the ear wiggling study, accepted for publication in the journal Clinical Neurophysiology.

Unlike other facial muscles, ear muscles have their own accessory nucleus, a control area for muscle function, in the brainstem, says ter Meulen, a researcher at Erasmus MC, a university medical centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

“Compared to animals, especially bats and cats, this nucleus is rather small in humans,” he says. (Source)

But fear not, non-ear wiggling people! You can train yourself to do it. WikiHow explains:

Isolate your ear-wiggling muscles. You may be able to wiggle your ears, but it won’t be that impressive if you have to raise your eyebrows or look awfully surprised every time. You may not be able to move your ears without moving your scalp, but you should be able to learn to move them without moving your eyebrows. Practice wiggling your ears without moving any other parts of your face.

5. Touch Your Nose or Chin With Your Tongue

I betcha Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS could do both easily, but most people can’t touch the tip of their nose or their chin with their tongue. Rumor was Gene had a cow’s tongue grafted onto his own. But Snopes, ever the party pooper, set the record straight:

But, as Simmons wrote in his autobiography, his unusual tongue was indeed the work of Mother Nature alone, a feature whose distinctiveness (and value) he first realized in his early teens:

I was oblivious, for the first thirteen years of my life, that I was endowed with a large oral appendage, my superlong tongue. It really was longer than everyone else’s, and I was soon to find out that having a long tongue came in handy with the girls.

4. Strange Tongue Tricks

While we’re still on the subject of tongues, there are a few tricks that most people can’t do (just don’t get a tongue cramp trying to do all these, mmkay?):

Just go ahead and try to to the last one, the smiley face, like YouTube user a51a did

3. Sneeze with Your Eyes Open

Nope, you can’t sneeze with your eyes open (well, without forcing ’em open with your hands, anyhow). Why? Because when you sneeze, the “sneeze center” in the brain “sends coordinated motor impulses along nerves controlling muscles of the abdomen, chest, diaphragm, neck, face, eyelids and various sphincters, as well as the mucus glands and blood vessels of the nose. All this happens automatically.” (Source) You can’t help it.

Now, if you did force open your eyes, would your eyeballs pop out when you sneeze? Adam Savage of The Mythbuster risked his eyes doing the experiment:

The Mythbuster: Will Your Eyes Fall Out From Sneezing? episode

2. Tickle Yourself

We all have a ticklish spot or two, which are never a secret from the ones we love. Gentle tickling is fun – so one can be tempted to “auto-tickle” to amuse oneself. But alas, you can’t tickle yourself, and scientists actually know why.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London explains:

The answer lies at the back of the brain in an area called the cerebellum, which is involved in monitoring movements. Our studies at University College London have shown that the cerebellum can predict sensations when your own movement causes them but not when someone else does. When you try to tickle yourself, the cerebellum predicts the sensation and this prediction is used to cancel the response of other brain areas to the tickle. (Source)

1. Toot Your Own Horn

I’m going to let Will Ferrell in the famous SNL yoga skit explain this one (“Look, I’ve done yoga everyday for three years … now I’ve finally reached my goal”). Or if you prefer something more literary: There once was a man from Nantucket …

All right, all right, this one’s only for the guys: Why do dogs lick their balls? Because they can. And apparently, so can 2 to 3 out of 1,000 men in the world, according to sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. (Source)

As stand-up comedian Bill Hicks once famously quipped:

“A woman one night yelled out, ‘Yeah, you ever try it?’ I said, yeah. Almost broke my back. It’s that one vertebrae, I swear to God, it’s that close. I think that vertebrae is going to be the thing to go in our next evolutionary step. Just a theory and a fervent prayer. Yeah, now all the guys are going, ‘Honey, I have no idea what he’s talking about. I think he’s a devil-child.’ That may be true, but guys, yoooo u know what I’m talking about. I can speak for every guy in this room here tonight, guys, if you could blow yourselves, ladies, you’d be in this room alone right now. Watching an empty stage.” (Source)

Because Neatorama is a nice blog, I’m just going to let you read all about autofellatio over on Wikipedia (warning: NSFW, obviously).

Bonus: The Paralyzed Finger Trick

Okay, give this one a try: bend your middle finger like the picture on the left shows and put your hand on the table. Then lift your thumb, index finger, and pinkie. No problem, right? Now try the ring finger.

Stepanie Weaver of Science Made Simple explains why you can’t:

The tendons in your fingers are independent from one another apart from the ones in your middle and ring finger. These tendons are connected, so that when your middle finger is folded down you cannot move your ring finger. It feels like your ring finger is stuck!

Bonus: Draw The Number Six While Making Clockwise Circles With Your Leg

Think you can multitask? Try this: while sitting on a chair, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Then, while doing that, draw the number 6 with your right hand. You can’t help it: your foot will change direction.

Similarly: move your right leg in anti-clockwise circles and simultaneously draw the number 8 with your right hand.

Another tricky thing to do: simultaneously rotate the index fingers of both hands clockwise. Do it slowly at first, but then pick up speed. Try to go faster and faster, and pretty soon your two fingers will be going in opposite directions!

Bonus: Put Your Fist in Your Mouth

Well, the steps are easy enough: 1. Make a fist, and 2. Insert into mouth – but most people can’t do it, except the few (all women it seems) who have a) small fists and b) big mouths!

More?

If you’ve got more things that seemingly easy to do but are actually impossible, I’d love to hear them – please add them to the comment section.

11 Things You Didn’t Know You Knew About Your Body

From hiccups to brain freeze, you’re intimately familiar with many strange things your body does. The reason why these things happen, however, is a bit more elusive. Here, we shed light on 11 bodily processes you know well, but might not fully understand.

1. CHARLEY HORSES ARE MUSCLE SPASMS.

Muscle cramps are common while exercising, but they can also strike when you least expect it (like in the middle of the night). Charley horses, which can occur in almost any muscle but are most common in the legs, are actually muscle spasms. They occur when your muscles suddenly tighten and don’t release for several minutes. These spasms can happen for any number of reasons, including poor circulation, overexertion, insufficient stretching, dehydration, or potassium deficiency.

2. ITCHINESS COMES FROM YOUR BRAIN.

It’s long been believed that humans experience itchiness so that we can keep harmful irritants—like insects—at bay (when we scratch an itch, it makes that pesky pest leave our skin). But this explanation still doesn’t answer the question of how your body gets itchy. Recent research shows that when your skin comes into contact with an external irritant, it sets off a complex chain of reactions that stretch from itch receptors in your skin to your spinal cord to your brain. Nerve cells far from the irritation site release specialized molecules that tell your brain it’s time to scratch. Scratching relieves itchiness, scientists believe, because it creates a mild pain—which researchers now know is a distinct sensation from itchiness—that replaces the itch.

3. YOUR MIND ISN’T PLAYING TRICKS ON YOU WHEN YOU “SEE STARS.”

Those bright flashes and squiggly lines you see when you rub your eyes, sneeze, or stand up too fast aren’t figments of your imagination: There really are sparks of light inside your eyeballs. All cells within the human body let off light. These light emissions, called biophotons, are always present within the eye, but your brain is usually able to ignore them. However, when you apply pressure to your eyes, more biophotons are created than your brain is able to process, and as a result, you can see the light. These visible flashes are called phosphenes.

4. BRAIN FREEZE IS A RAPID-ONSET HEADACHE.

That sharp, stabbing pain in your forehead you feel when you take too big a sip of your milkshake is called sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia, and it’s caused when two blood vessels that bring blood to your brain (the internal carotid artery and anterior cerebral artery) expand. When something cold hits the roof of your mouth, blood is directed to that area in order to warm it back up. That sudden rush of blood causes your blood vessels to dilate (or expand), which in turn triggers pain receptors that tell your brain something is amiss.

5. YOUR TASTE IS OFF AFTER YOU BRUSH YOUR TEETH.

There’s a good reason why orange juice (and many other things) taste terrible after you brush your teeth: Chemicals in your toothpaste mess with your taste buds. The two chemicals that cause your toothpaste to get foamy, sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), suppress the receptors on your taste buds that perceive sweetness. At the same time, SLES and SLS break down the phospholipids on the tongue that usually inhibit bitterness. In plain terms, these chemicals diminish your ability to taste sweet things while simultaneously heightening your ability to taste bitter things, a combo that wreaks havoc on your breakfast.

6. CHEWING GUM REALLY DOES HELP YOUR EARS ON AIRPLANES.

Stocking up on chewing gum before a flight has become just as routine a part of flying as the TSA line or returning your seat to its upright position. But, it turns out, chewing really does help equalize the pressure in your ears (and therefore help ease that uncomfortable or painful blocked feeling).

The reason your ears “pop” on airplanes is because air is less dense at higher altitudes. As you travel higher into the air, the air pressure outside your ears drops while the air pressure inside your ears remains the same. This causes the air in your inner ear to press against your eardrum (in an attempt to escape the inner ear and equalize the pressure). One way to help equalize the pressure is to open the Eustachian tube, a small cavity in the middle ear that connects the ears to the nose and throat. You can do this by swallowing, yawning, or—you guessed it—chewing.

7. YOU CAN BRUSH YOUR TEETH TOO HARD.

Logic may indicate that the more rigorous you are with your brushing, the better job you’re doing. However, brushing too hard or with a hard-bristled brush can actually do more harm than good. Overzealous brushing—as well as consuming acidic foods like wine, citrus, or iced tea—can cause your teeth’s enamel to wear down. This exposes the sensitive layers of your teeth and can make eating hot, cold, or sugary foods painful.

8. GOOSE BUMPS ARE POINTLESS.

Many, many generations ago, when humans were much hairier, goose bumps served a useful function: They helped our ancestors’ hair stand on end in order to make them appear larger in threatening situations (the same way a cat bristles its fur when it’s scared). Today, we no longer need to stave off predators in this way—and without all the extra hair, our goose bumps are much more visible—but the response remains, which explains why goose bumps show up not only when you’re cold, but also when you’re afraid.

9. YAWNING DOESN’T WAKE US UP; IT COOLS US DOWN.

For a long time, scientists couldn’t figure out why we yawn. But new research shows that the commonly held belief that yawns help wake us up by raising oxygen levels in the bloodstream is only a myth. Instead, yawning helps us regulate the temperature of our brains. Stretching our mouths wide to yawn increases the rate of blood flow to the skull, and the cool air we breathe in changes the temperature of that blood flow, therein bringing cooler air to the brain. We yawn when we’re sleepy, therefore, because the body is warmest when we are falling asleep and first waking up. Our body temperatures drop as we fall asleep, and yawning helps quicken the process.

10. A HICCUP IS A SPASM OF YOUR DIAPHRAGM.

The diaphragm is the dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen and works in conjunction with the lungs to help us breathe. When you take a breath in, the diaphragm contracts, flattening and pulling downward as it does so in order to make more room in the chest cavity for the influx of oxygen. When there’s a disturbance in the nerve passageways leading from the brain to the diaphragm—which can happen by swallowing too much air, eating too quickly, or experiencing anxiety—the diaphragm spasms. You experience these spasms as hiccups.

11. BLUSHING IS CAUSED BY AN ADRENALINE RUSH.

Blushing is part of our bodies’ fight-or-flight response. When triggered by an emotion such as embarrassment or nervousness, adrenaline is released into the body. This speeds up your heart rate and dilates your blood vessels to improve blood flow. When the veins in your face dilate, they create that signature rosy glow. While it’s long been known how blushing occurs, for a long time, scientists were stumped by the reason why we blush. A 2013 study indicates that blushing is an evolutionary trait. A team of Dutch psychologists found that we are more likely to forgive people who blush when admitting their transgressions, and people who blush are rated as more likable and trustworthy.

To see how your new-found knowledge of the human body stacks up against the pint-sized geniuses on Lifetime’s Child Genius: Battle of the Brightest, tune in to the season premiere on Thursday, January 7th at 8/7c.

From head to toe, your body is an amazing creation. Because of it, you can paint, go hiking, play football, crochet, play the flute, and do many other enjoyable activities.

As the prophet explains on page 50, “Your body, whatever its natural gifts, is a magnificent creation of God. … Ponder the magnificence of what you see when you look in the mirror … a child of God, created by Him in His image.”

  • Human bones are strong. The 26 small bones in your feet carry your body weight with every step you take.

  • Broken bones can heal.

  • The most expensive digital camera today can capture 400 megapixels, but the human eye can see 576 megapixels.

  • The human eye can distinguish thousands of different colors, and your nose can recognize thousands of different scents.

  • Two eyes give you binocular vision, which helps with depth perception. Test it by closing one eye and trying to touch a small item near you.

  • For blind people, the brain’s visual cortex changes in order to respond more to touch and hearing.

  • Your brain produces enough electricity to light a small light bulb.

  • Hearing is the fastest human sense. Your brain can recognize a sound 10 times faster than the blink of an eye, in as little as 0.05 seconds.

  • The human heart beats more than three billion times in an average lifespan. That’s more than 100,000 times per day.

  • Your heart pumps 5.5 liters of blood per minute. So, during an average lifetime, it will pump nearly 1.5 million barrels of blood—enough to fill 200 train cars.

  • Blood supplies oxygen from the lungs to other organs. Blood removes carbon dioxide to the lungs to be breathed out.

  • Blood distributes nourishment from your digestive system.

  • Blood takes the body’s waste to the kidneys and liver to be sorted and trashed.

  • Your immune system, using glands like your adenoids and organs like your thymus and spleen, can protect you from harmful viruses and bacteria.

  • When your brain is alerted to danger, adrenaline is released, which accelerates your heart rate, increases breathing, dilates the pupils, and shuts down your digestive system to allow other muscles to contract with incredible force.

  • When you receive information through one of your senses, the signal travels from your nerves to your brain at over 100 miles per hour (160 kph).

  • The skin secretes antibacterial substances and serves as the first layer of defense for invading microorganisms. Most bacteria that land on the skin die quickly.

  • Your skin can be grafted from one part of your body to grow on another part. It is the human body’s largest organ and is constantly renewing itself.

  • The liver is responsible for more than 500 distinct processes. It is so important that if a person has two-thirds of his or her liver removed as a result of trauma or surgery, it will grow back to its original size in as little as four weeks.

  • Most sacred of all, our bodies have the power to procreate—to create life.

“I find that it doesn’t matter what is on my plate: If I’m distracted, I’m more likely to overeat because my mind is somewhere else other than my plate,” adds Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D., host of the Body Kindness Podcast. “Eating is a sacred ritual to me, and even though we are all busy, we at least owe it to ourselves to take pauses in our day to savor our food—that goes for French fries and kale salads.”

Related: I Tried Mindful Eating For A Week, And This Is What I Learned

3. Enjoy some fresh air when you can.

Stop and smell the roses—or at least walk by some. “Getting fresh air is so important for mental health,” says Minno. “Even if it is just getting out of the office for 10 minutes at lunchtime to take a walk around the block, that small bit break can leave you feeling reenergized and put you back in a positive mood.”

4. Find little ways to stay active throughout the day.

“Even if I have a busy day ahead of me, I always try to get in some type of workout five times a week,” says Nazima Qureshi, R.D., M.P.H., C.P.T. “Not only do I get the benefits of exercise, I also use this time as ‘me’ time, which helps me unwind. I like to try something new to change it up so I don’t get bored of the same-old exercise routine.”

And if you don’t have time to log a full workout, try breaking it up. “In a perfect world I’d have time to get to a yoga class or spend an hour at the gym, but having an inconsistent schedule doesn’t always allow for that,” says Jessi Haggerty, R.D., C.P.T., creator of the BodyLove planner. “If I can’t get in an hour of ‘structured’ exercise, I make sure to squeeze in some extra walking on my breaks throughout the day.”

5. Eat your vegetables. Hinterhaus Productions, Getty Images

“I include at least three to five vegetables and three fruits in my daily diet,” says Leah Mark, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., C.P.T. “I make sure they are varied in both color and fiber content.”Vegetables are also lower in calories than other foods, so bulking up meals with the good stuff can help keep you from going overboard—not to mention all of the vitamins and minerals they have to offer. “Meeting the recommendation for at least five servings of veggies a day can be easy if you plan it right, plus you will reap all of the health benefits from consuming nutrient-dense, low-calorie veggies,” says Emily Cope-Kyle, M.S., R.D.N., owner and consulting dietitian at Emily Kyle Nutrition.

15 Easy Ways to Be Healthier

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Author: Guest Contributor

More and more research is showing that the key to lifelong good health is what experts call “lifestyle medicine” — making simple changes in diet, exercise, and stress management. To help you turn that knowledge into results, we’ve put together this manageable list of health and wellness suggestions.

We asked three experts — a naturopathic physician, a dietitian, and a personal trainer — to tell us the top five simple-but-significant lifestyle-medicine changes they recommend.

Besides giving you three different takes on how to pick your health battles, this list gives you choices you can make without being whisked off to a reality-show fat farm — or buying a second freezer for those calorie-controlled, pre-portioned frozen meals.

James Rouse, N.D.

Naturopathic physician, triathlete, chef, author and host of TV’s “Optimum Wellness,” health-tip segments featured on NBC affiliates in several major cities.

1. Think positive and focus on gratitude

Research shows a healthy positive attitude helps build a healthier immune system and boosts overall health. Your body believes what you think, so focus on the positive.

2. Eat your vegetables

Shoot for five servings of vegetables a day — raw, steamed, or stir-fried. A diet high in vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of developing cancers of the lung, colon, breast, cervix, esophagus, stomach, bladder, pancreas, and ovaries. And many of the most powerful phytonutrients are the ones with the boldest colors — such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, grapes, and leafy greens.

3. Set a “5-meal ideal”

What, when, and how much you eat can keep both your metabolism and your energy levels steadily elevated, so you’ll have more all-day energy. A “5 meal ideal” will help you manage your weight, keep your cool, maintain your focus, and avoid cravings.

4. Exercise daily

Did you know that daily exercise can reduce all of the biomarkers of aging? This includes improving eyesight, normalizing blood pressure, improving lean muscle, lowering cholesterol, and improving bone density. If you want to live well and live longer, you must exercise! Studies show that even ten minutes of exercise makes a difference — so do something! Crank the stereo and dance in your living room. Sign up for swing dancing or ballroom dancing lessons. Walk to the park with your kids or a neighbor you’d like to catch up with. Jump rope or play hopscotch. Spin a hula hoop. Play water volleyball. Bike to work. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a hike.

5. Get a good night’s sleep

If you have trouble sleeping, try relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga. Or eat a small bedtime snack of foods shown to help shift the body and mind into sleep mode: whole grain cereal with milk, oatmeal, cherries, or chamomile tea. Darken your room more and turn your clock away from you. Write down worries or stressful thoughts to get them out of your head and onto the page. This will help you put them into perspective so you can quit worrying about them.

Christina Reiter, M.S., R.D.

Resident consulting dietitian at the University of Colorado–Boulder Wardenburg Health Center for Nutrition Education and Therapies and former director of the nutrition program at Metropolitan State College of Denver.

1. Check your food ’tude

What we eat and how we feel are linked in very complex ways. A healthy approach to eating is centered on savoring flavor, eating to satisfaction, and increasing energy, rather than focusing on weight. Check your balance of low-calorie foods, nutrient-dense foods (providing many nutrients per calorie), and foods that are calorie dense but nutrient poor. Most Americans need to eat more fresh whole foods (in contrast to processed, highly refined foods). Try to add more whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and legumes into your meals. Pair these carbohydrate-rich foods with a healthy fat or lean protein to extend satisfaction.

2. Eat like a kid

If adding more fruits and vegetables sounds ominous, look to “finger food” versions that preschool kids love — carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, grapes, berries, and dried fruits. All are nutritional powerhouses packed with antioxidants.

3. Be a picky eater

Limit saturated fats and trans fats, and aim to eat more foods rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to cut your risk of cardiovascular disease and maybe even improve depressed moods. The equivalent of just one gram of EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid) daily is recommended. Eating cold-water oily fish (wild salmon, herring, sardines, trout) two to three times per week will provide both EPA and DHA. Adding up to two tablespoons of ground flaxseed and eating meat, milk, and cheese from grass-fed animals will provide you with a healthy dose of omega-3s.

4. Use foods over supplements

Supplements are not a substitute for a good diet. Although many health experts recommend taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement that provides 100 to 200 percent of your recommended daily value, each and every supplement should be carefully evaluated for purity and safety. Specific supplements have been associated with toxicity, reactions with medications, competition with other nutrients, and even increased risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

5. Get satisfaction

Both eating and physical activity are fun, sensory experiences! In both, aim for pleasure — not pain. Pay attention to the nutritional value of the foods you choose to eat, as well as your sense of satisfaction, relaxation, tension, exhilaration, and fatigue when you sit down to eat. Check in with yourself as you eat, rekindling your recognition of hunger, fullness, and satisfaction when considering when and how much to eat.

Rick Olderman, M.S., P.T.

A physical therapist and owner of Z-Line Training in Denver, Colorado, offering rehabilitation, personal training, Pilates instruction, motivational injury-prevention seminars, employee fitness program development, and custom foot orthotics casting.

1. Give yourself a break

“I spend countless hours doing cardio and never seem to lose that last ten pounds!” is a common complaint I hear from clients. Give yourself permission to shorten your workout. Believe it or not, overtraining could be the problem. Your body can plateau if not given adequate rest to restore itself, ultimately leading to a decline in performance. Fatigue, moodiness, lack of enthusiasm, depression, and increased cortisol (the “stress” hormone) are some hallmarks of overtraining syndrome. Creating a periodization program — breaking up your routine into various training modes — can help prevent overtraining by building rest phases into your regimen. For example, you might weight train on Monday and Wednesday, cycle on Tuesday and Thursday, run on Friday and rest on Saturday and Sunday. You can also help balance your program by simply incorporating more variety.

2. Think small

Often the biggest deterrent to improving health is feeling overwhelmed by all the available advice and research. Try to focus first on one small, seemingly inconsequential, unhealthy habit and turn it into a healthy, positive habit. If you’re in the habit of eating as soon as you get home at night, instead, keep walking shoes in the garage or entryway and take a quick spin around the block before going inside. If you have a can of soda at lunchtime every day, have a glass of water two days a week instead. Starting with small, painless changes helps establish the mentality that healthy change is not necessarily painful change. It’s easy to build from here by adding more healthy substitutions.

3. Keep good company

You can do all the right things — but if you have personal relationships with people who have unhealthy habits, it is often an uphill battle. The healthiest people are those who have relationships with other healthy people. Get your family or friends involved with you when you walk or plan healthier meals. Making healthy changes with a loved one can bring you closer together as well as motivate you.

4. Make a list…and check it twice

Take a few minutes and write down all the reasons you can’t begin an exercise program. Then look at the basis of each reason. For instance, if you wrote, “No time” as one of your reasons, then perhaps that’s based on a belief that an exercise program takes a lot of time. Starting with even five minutes a day will have a positive effect because you will have created a healthy habit where one didn’t exist before, and that’s a powerful mental adjustment. A closer look at your list will expose those false beliefs hiding behind each excuse.

5. Sign up for an event

Let’s face it, exercising just for the sake of exercising or losing weight can get boring. Spice things up by signing up for an event like a run/walk race or a cycling ride where you can be part of a team. Doing so gives your workouts a new purpose, and it’s fun to be around others who are exercising just like you — not to mention that most events benefit nonprofit organizations, which doubles your feel-good high.

Awaken

by David Gomes: Your body shouldn’t be what defines you as a person, but your health and wellbeing depend on it…

Your body is like a shield or a shell, what you inhabit and what the world sees at a glance. How you treat it can determine how long you live, your overall health, your fitness, and even your psychology and happiness. Since it’s so important, most people try to do what they can to take care of it. The best things for your body are surprisingly simple, and not too hard to incorporate into your lifestyle.

1. Don’t sit still for too long

Sitting still for hours on end is one of the worst things you can do to your body, and on the other end of the spectrum exercise improves health and increases your lifespan.

What’s wrong with your desk job? The Mayo Clinic warns for four hours or more a day can increase your risk of dying from any cause by 50 percent. Make sure to stand up throughout the day and get in enough exercise, ideally 150 minutes a week.

2. Sleep

Many people work hard from 9 to 5 but then forget about the most important 8-hour schedule, your 11 to 7 nightly sleep. According to the NIH, sleep has many functions.

  • Brain health and cognitive functioning
  • Memory formation
  • Repairing cells and tissues
  • Maintaining a healthy immune system
  • Regulating blood sugar
  • Balancing hormones
  • Influences Mood

The benefits are seemingly endless, so if you’re searching for a miracle for your health, look no further.

3. Meditate

It might sound a bit new-age, but researchers have been looking into meditation’s benefits for years, and dozens of studies have proven its worth, no matter what kind of lifestyle or personality you have.

According to the American Psychological Association, meditation helps people focus more on the present to create a sense of mindfulness. The physiological benefits of this Buddhist tradition?

  • Lees stress
  • Improved memory and cognition
  • Emotional stability
  • Increased focus
  • Better immune functioning

To meditate, you just need to sit in a quiet place and focus in on your breathing, which is harder than you think.

Accept your thoughts as they come, then go back to your breathing. It helps if you ease into it, starting off by practicing a few minutes each day, gradually increasing the time.

4. Protect against the sun

While it’s true, we need the sun to produce vitamin D, too much exposure increases your risk for burns, skin damage, and cancer.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the sun causes about 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers, or about 3.15 million cases a year.

Use sunscreen, wear clothes that cover your skin and use sunglasses to protect your eyes.

5. Fiber up

The NIH recommends adults eat between 21 to 38 grams of fiber a day. You can get it from many fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Among its many benefits, the Harvard School of Public Health says it can do the following.

  • Reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 40 percent
  • Reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Help prevent inflammation in the intestine or diverticulitis
  • Encourage regular bowel movements
  • May prevent colon cancer and breast cancer

Since fiber is a study substance that isn’t broken down during digestion, it also fills up your stomach, so you feel full for longer and can be an effective way to help manage weight.

6. Quit dieting

According to ABC News, 108 million Americans are on a diet, and they spend over $20 billion on weight loss each year. Clearly, weight is a problem, but most people go about losing it in the wrong way.

Unfortunately, the best diet plan isn’t a “diet” per say. Instead, it’s a lifelong way of eating.

The New York Times published an in-depth article in 2016 explaining dieting doesn’t work because our brains are designed to maintain a certain weight. In fact, 41 percent of dieters gain back more weight than they lost within five years and teenage girls who diet are 12 times more likely to binge eat later on.

The bottom line? Don’t buy into miracle diets.

7. Embrace your sexuality

Once taboo, sex is something flaunted in ads and on TV. Although it might be glaring, studies show there’re a lot of good reasons to embrace your sexuality.

  • Increases immunity
  • Gives you a workout
  • Relieves stress
  • Reduces the risk of prostate cancer
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases self-esteem

These are just some of the benefits, and you can probably think of a few more.

Living a long and healthy life means taking care of your body. That doesn’t mean stressing out about all of the dangerous things in the world or the things you shouldn’t do.

Instead, it just means being more conscious and making healthier choices, some of which you’ll enjoy.

Best things for your body

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