The Human Body: The Owner's Manual
Human bodies are very
complicated. They should come with Owner's Manuals. But don't.
constantly amazed at the number of people who know very little about their own
bodies. Many would like to know more but don't know who to ask or where to look.
So, here is the Owner's Manual you've always wanted but never had
The average heart beats 70 times a minute.
In 70 years it will beat over 2,500 MILLION times. Each time it beats, your
heart pumps oxygen and food rich blood around your body. Your body contains 8 to
10 pints of blood and in a day your heart pumps these 8 to 10 pints around your
body no less than 2000 times. Your heart is roughly the same size and shape as
your fist. A man's heart weighs slightly more than a woman's. Your heart will
last longer if you avoid fats and excess stress.
weighs 2.5% of your weight and is on your right hand side looking down - just
underneath your ribs. Your liver helps produce red blood cells, manufactures
antibodies which fight infection, stores iron, vitamins and carbohydrates,
produces bile which helps digest fats and breaks down drugs and poisons into
waste chemicals. All this chemical activity produces so much heat that your
liver plays an important part in keeping your body warm. Your liver will like
you better if you eat less fat and drink less alcohol.
You have two kidneys - one on each side of your spine, embedded
in fat. Each kidney weighs just over one quarter of a pound. Both kidneys
contain a complex filtration system. All the blood in your body passes through
your kidneys every few minutes to have the waste substances taken out of it. If
your kidneys don't work properly wastes will accumulate and eventually produce
blood poisoning. Give your kidneys a treat by drinking plenty of fresh, pure
water every day.
When you were born your lungs were
small, solid and yellow. When you took your first breath your lungs expanded and
turned pink. If you live in the country and breathe fresh air your lungs stay
pink. If you smoke or live in the city your lungs gradually get darker. Your
lungs ensure that the air you breathe in gets into your blood to provide the
tissues of your body with oxygen. Your lungs hate smoke and love fresh air.
If you are a woman your brain weighs about 1.25 kg.
If you are a man your brain weighs about 1.4 kg. Packed with nerve cells your
brain reaches its maximum size and potential at the age of twenty and then
slowly deteriorates as cells die off thereafter. Specific parts of your brain
have specific functions. For example, the back portion of your brain controls
the sense of sight while the front part governs thought and personality. To keep
your brain healthy, exercise it regularly - feeding it a variety of different
tasks - and rest it occasionally.
Your femur or
thigh bone is the largest bone in your body. Some of the smallest are the bones
in your wrist. There are over 200 separate bones altogether. To keep your bones
strong and healthy make sure that your diet contains calcium.
They start with the oesophagus or gullet, include the stomach
and duodenum, go on through the small and then the large intestines and end in
the rectum. Altogether your intestines are around thirty feet long - most of it
coiled inside your abdomen. The intestines have the job of digesting and
breaking down the food you eat, absorbing the useful nutrients and getting rid
of the waste. You can help your intestines by finding out - and then avoiding -
the foods which upset them.
Skin keeps the rest of
your body neatly wrapped, protecting muscles and bones from injury and the
weather. The skin on your palms and the soles of your feet is one twentieth of
an inch thick but the skin on your face is ten times thinner. Peeled and
stretched out you have got enough skin to make a couple of pillow slips. To keep
your skin in good condition moisturise it regularly with a plain cream.
Tucked in between your stomach and your duodenum
your pancreas produces the enzymes and juices which help digest the food you
eat. To help keep your pancreas in top condition avoid cigarettes, excess sugar
and too much alcohol.
Half your body weight is
made up of muscles - there are over 600 of them. Each muscle is a separate organ
controlled by its own nervous system and supplied by its own blood vessels. To
keep your muscles in trim, exercise them regularly - but rest them if they are
sore or painful.
Copyright Vernon Coleman