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Fascinating Health Facts

Health Fact References

Health Fact


Did you know your blood is not actually red? More like a straw colour, it’s the oxygen carrying haemoglobin in the cells that makes it look red...and with 2.5 trillion or so red blood cells in your body at any time, two and a half million blood cells, (that’s more than half of Sydney’s population) are created every second! Keep healthy, live well!

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Contact the Australasian Research Institute

We all know things are getting faster - space travel, bullet trains, internet connections...But did you know that the body’s nerve impulses travel at over 400km an hour? Or that when we touch something, the message to our brain travels at nearly 200km?
Keep your neurones healthy: Reduce brain inflammation by maximising phyto nutrient intake from red and orange fruits and vegetables.

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Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia. Softkey Multimedia Inc, 1997: "Some actions require split second responses - withdrawring a hand from a hot stove, for example. To relay the information necessary for such a reaction, there are large nerve fibers that can conduct impulses at speeds as high as 330 feet (100 meters) per second."

Guest J, Grant R, Garg M, Mori TA, Croft KD, Bilgin A. Cerebrospinal fluid levels of inflammation, oxidative stress and NAD+ are linked to differences in plasma carotenoid concentrations. J Neuroinflammation. 2014 Jul 1;11:117. Free PMC Article

Think the Hubble telescope is an amazing piece of technology?
The human eye can distinguish up to ten million colour surfaces and processes thousands of bits of information per second. The eye has more than 137 million light sensitive cells, and has the fastest reacting muscles in the whole body – contracting at 1/100th of a second.
Protect your eyes – wear UV rated glasses and monitor any vision changes.

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Number of Colors Distinguishable by the Human Eye: The Physics Fact Book, Ed. G.Elert http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2006/JenniferLeong.shtml 

Anatomy in Motion http://anatomyinmotionapp.tumblr.com/post/41456076953/did-you-know-the-fastest-muscles-in-the-human 

Ever imagined life without your hands?
An incredible feat of engineering, the human hand has three main nerves, 30 named arteries and 27 different bones. one square inch has close to 3 metres of blood vessels, 9000 nerve endings, and 600 pain, 36 heat, and 75 pressure sensors.
More anatomy controls the hands than any other part of the body - Look after your hands so they will look after you.

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The Electronic Textbook of Hand Surgery

Sometimes we need to dig deep to get through the day?
To function well, the human body needs minerals like iron, copper, zinc, cobalt, calcium, manganese, phosphates, nickel and silicon – and it stores enough iron for a spike strong enough to hold your weight, and enough carbon to produce 9,000 'lead' pencils.
Keep your body strong; Eat mineral rich foods like whole grains, nuts, legumes and beans.

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Minerals: Their Functions and Sources, Web MD -

Babies are incredible...Well before birth, a foetus develops its first fingerprints. In their first month of life, brain connections soar from 50 trillion to 1 quadrillion. By 12 months their brains have tripled in size and they will have dribbled 260 litres of saliva, while by age two they will have crawled the equivalent distance of Sydney to Newcastle!
Help them along...love them lots and feed them well.

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Brain development:

Fingerprints in the Womb:


With the need for new energy sources and lots of buzz about wind farms...the human body could provide some options. Some estimates indicate a cough velocity can reach 100 km an hour while a sneeze can generates a wind of up to 166 km an hour...equivalent to a Level 3 Tornado!
So with the diaphragm generating those kind of forces, remember never hold in a sneeze!

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11 surprising sneezing facts – Web MD

Research shows dementia is linked to brain inflammation...
At about 1.3kg, 60% of our brain is actually white matter or support cells - 40% is the grey or thinking matter. Made up of 100 billion nerve cells it has over 1, 000,000,000,000,000 (quadrillion) connections. High sugar or high fat diets and excess alcohol can cause brain inflammation and break these connections...
Want to stay connected? Eat healthy, live well!

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Brain development:

Guest J, Grant R, Mori TA, Croft KD. Changes in oxidative damage, inflammation and [NAD(H)] with age in cerebrospinal fluid. PLoS One. 2014 Jan 14;9(1):e85335. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085335. eCollection 2014. Free PMC Article

Khor A, Grant R, Tung C, Guest J, Pope B, Morris M, Bilgin A. Postprandial oxidative stress is increased after a phytonutrient-poor food but not after a kilojoule-matched phytonutrient-rich food. Nutr Res. 2014 May;34(5):391-400. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2014.04.005. Epub 2014 Apr 16

Heard the old expression you are what you eat?
Sun exposure increases cell damage and loss but can be reduced by eating more red, yellow and orange coloured foods maximising phytonutrients like lycopene.
Put on your best face - eat healthy & live well!

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Costa A1, Lindmark L, Arruda LH, Assumpção EC, Ota FS, Pereira Mde O, Langen SS. Clinical, biometric and ultrasound assessment of the effects of daily use of a nutraceutical composed of lycopene, acerola extract, grape seed extract and Biomarine Complex in photoaged human skin. An Bras Dermatol. 2012 Jan-Feb;87(1):52-61.

Skin cells last for about 4 weeks before we shed them and we shed around 1 million every hour - 5 kg every year or 400 Kg over a lifetime. National Geographic – Skin

Always searching for a better sound system?
Able to distinguish between hundreds of thousands of different sounds – and hear anything from 20 to 20,000 hertz – your ears are the best sound reproduction system you will ever have! But they can be damaged... So remember food blenders, chain saws and loud headphones can cause damage and pain.
And if the granddad next to you starts bopping to your music, the sound is damaging your hearing...its probably time to turn it down!

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Dangerous Decibels: http://dangerousdecibels.org/education/information-center/noise-induced-hearing-loss/

The human skeleton is amazing...
At birth humans have over 300 bones but as we grow they fuse so an adult has 206, and 22 in our skull alone. Normally the thigh bone is about a quarter of our height while a foot averages the distance between our wrist and inside elbow.
Keep your bones strong: Eat calcium and vitamin K rich plant based foods and enjoy a little sunshine for your Vitamin D.

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Human Skeleton – Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_skeleton

Vit K - Osteoporosis Australia: http://www.osteoporosis.org.au/vitamin-k


Research indicates the battle of the sexes does extend to the human body...
10% of men are left handed compared to only 8% of women. Women have a better sense of smell than men, but on average the female brain is about 10% smaller at 1198 grams...compared to the average male brain at 1336 grams.
Good to know that when it comes to intelligence, size is not all that important!

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Hartmann P1, Ramseier A, Gudat F, Mihatsch MJ, Polasek W. [Normal weight of the brain in adults in relation to age, sex, body height and weight]. Pathologe. 1994 Jun;15(3):165-70. [Article in German]. Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8072950

Food is important...
In the average lifetime, we spend about five years eating and consume around 1,000 times our own body weight.
It takes about 5 -30 seconds to chew food and only 8 seconds for it to travel down the oespheageus, yet it can take up to 72 hours to completely digest a high fat meal, but as little as 38 hours to digest one rich in plant fibre.

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Kelsay JL, Behall KM, Prather ES. Effect of fiber from fruits and vegetables on metabolic responses of human subjects I. Bowel transit time, number of defecations, fecal weight, urinary excretions of energy and nitrogen and apparent digestibilities of energy, nitrogen, and fat. Am J Clin Nutr. 1978 Jul;31(7):1149-53. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/665565

Gabert L, Vors C, Louche-Pélissier C, Sauvinet V, Lambert-Porcheron S, Drai J, Laville M, Désage M, Michalski MC. 13C tracer recovery in human stools after digestion of a fat-rich meal labelled with [1,1,1-13C3]tripalmitin and [1,1,1-13C3]triolein. Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2011 Oct 15;25(19):2697-703. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21913246

Many elements found in fruits and veges help reduce the risk of disease including, fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Recent research shows that for each additional serving of fruit or veges eaten each day the risk of coronary heart disease reduces by a further 4%. Want a healthier heart? Eat your fruit and vege.

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Joshipura KJ. The Effect of Fruit and Vegetable Intake on Risk for Coronary Heart Disease. Ann Intern Med. 2001;134:1106-1114.

The partnership between our eyes and brain is amazing. Every time we look at a scene, an image is formed on the retina and sent to the brain for analysis. Images are upside down, backward, and two-dimensional. Our brains then combine the images from each eye into a three-dimensional picture. An incredible example of collaboration. 

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Richards, Douglas E. National Geographic Kids 367 (Feb 2007): 28-29.

The lid of the human eye blinks at a rate of 2/5 of a second, that’s more than 10,000 times a day. Each time the eyelids close, secretions from the tear ducts sweep over the eye, flushing away small dust particles and lubricating the eyeball. That’s a pretty highly developed form of windscreen wiper!

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Richards, Douglas E. National Geographic Kids 367 (Feb 2007): 28-29.

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It insulates us against the heat & cold, sunlight and harmful chemicals. To do its job, the skin completely regenerates itself every 4 weeks. So want to look better? What you do today will determine what your skin looks like in a months’ time.

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Gray's Basic Anatomy :Drake, Richard, Vogl, A. Wayne,Mitchell, Adam W. M.

We all know that losing weight can be hard. But did you know that drinking Just 2 glasses of water 30 min before each meal can significantly decrease your calorie intake. The water reduces your sensation of hunger while increasing your feeling of fullness.

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Dennis EA, et al. Water Consumption Increases Weight Loss During a Hypocaloric Diet Intervention in Middle-aged and Older Adults. Obesity Volume 18, Issue 2, pages 300–307, February 2010

A new born baby has the highest number of brain cells than at any other time in its life. As the baby experiences the world, its brain cells form many connections with each other. Brain cells that don’t form meaningful connections will die. So loving, healthy, and engaging interaction, will build on what nature provides and help babies reach their full potential.

Contact the Australasian Research Institute

The human heart has an incredible workload. In order to make fresh blood available to every tissue of the body, it pumps out 70 ml of blood with each heartbeat, that’s 5L/hr, 44,000L/yr and enough blood to fill over 70 Olympic sized swimming pools in a lifetime. So for heart health, eat well, sleep regularly and exercise daily.

Contact the Australasian Research Institute

The brain is the hardest working organ of the body. Despite being only 2% of an adults body mass, it uses around 20% of all the body’s oxygen and calorie intake. That means, gram for gram, the brain is working 10 times harder than any other tissue. Just goes to prove, brains really are better than brawn or beauty.

Contact the Australasian Research Institute

Australian adults now sit for an average of nearly nine hours a day, longer than most people spend sleeping. Want to live longer? Get moving!


The scent from your skin, sweat and tears actually influence hormones, how you feel and how attractive you are to others.

Wysocki CJ, Preti G. 2004. Facts, fallacies, fears, and frustrations with human pheromones. Anat. Rec. A 281:1201–11

Development of human life is amazing – did you know that the fetus begins to grasp the umbilical cord as early as 16 weeks?


We now know that regular lack of sleep is a major contributor to heart disease. Do yourself a favour sleep 8 hours a night and live longer.

Ayas NT, et al. A Prospective Study of Sleep Duration and Coronary Heart Disease in Women. Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(2):205-209.

Want to feel better from the inside out? Just one day of eating healthy will change the trillions of microorganisms that live in the human gut.

Lawrence DA, et al. Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome. Nature. 2015:505;559.

The human heart is an amazing organ. It pumps enough blood to fill over 70 Olympic sized swimming pools in an average human lifetime.


3-4% of boys are born with one or more undescended testes. Treatment before they turn 1 will minimise malignancy or infertility in 95% of cases.

Cryptorchidism. Seminars in Paediatric Surgery by John M. Hutson, Adam Balic, Tamara Nation, Bridget Southwell 2010 ( Volume 19 Issue 3);Pages 215-224.

Over half the 245 adults who develop diabetes today ignored the warning signs. Want to avoid it? Reduce weight, exercise and get checked.

Barr E, Magliano D, Zimmet P, et al. AusDiab 2005. The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Tracking the accelerating epidemic: its causes and outcomes. Report. Melbourne: International Diabetes Institute, 2006.

Dunstan DW, Zimmet PZ, Welborn TA, DeCourten MP, Cameron AJ, Sicree RA, Dwyer T, Colagiuri S, Jolley D, Knuiman M, Atkins R, Shaw JE on behalf of the AusDiab Steering Commitee. The rising prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance. The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study. Diabetes Care 2002;25:829–834.

With brain inflammation suspected as a cause, phyto nutrients in red fruits and vegetables like watermelons and tomatoes are providing new hope in the fight against dementia.

Guest et al 2014.

Suffer from high blood pressure? Common anti-hypertensive medications are good, but only 2 tablespoons a day of flaxseed can reduce blood pressure.

F Caligiuri, S.P.B., Edel, A.L., Aliani, M., Pierce, G.N. .Flaxseed for Hypertension: Implications for Blood Pressure Regulation. Current Hypertension Reports. 2014; 16 (12), pp. 1-13.

What a mother eats while pregnant will significantly influence the risk of the child getting heart disease 40 years later.

Campbell DM, et al. Diet in pregnancy and the offspring's blood pressure 40 years later. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 1996; 103 (3), pp. 273-280.

Shiell, A.W.et al. Diet in late pregnancy and glucose-insulin metabolism of the offspring 40 years later. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2000; 107 (7), pp. 890-895.

Danielsen I, et al. Dietary Glycemic Index during Pregnancy Is Associated with Biomarkers of the Metabolic Syndrome in Offspring at Age 20 Years. PLoS ONE. 2013;8 (5), e64887

Kaati G., Bygren L.O., Pembrey M., Sjostrom M. (2007). Transgenerational response to nutrition, early life circumstances and longevity. European Journal of Human Genetics, 15: 784-790.

Dolinoy D.C., Weidman J.R., Waterland R.A., Jirtle R.L. (2006). Maternal Genistein Alters Coat Color and Protects Avy Mouse Offspring from Obesity by Modifying the Fetal Epigenome. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114:567-572.

The average heart beats 100,000 times a day, 40 million times a year - three billion heartbeats over an average lifetime.


The human eye transfers data at 8.75 megabits per second - faster than the speed of the average Internet connection in Australia.


Faecal transplant research places good bacteria in the gut providing new hope for crones disease and ulcerative colitis.

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation: Indications, Methods,
Evidence, and Future Directions
Thomas J. Borody & Sudarshan Paramsothy & Gaurav Agrawal
Published online: 14 July 2013
# The Author(s) 2013. This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com

A human nose can detect one trillion different odours including the unique scent of your own child.

Bushdid, C., Magnasco, M.O., Vosshall, L.B., Keller, A. Humans can discriminate more than 1 trillion olfactory stimuli. Science. 2014; 343 (6177), pp. 1370-1372 Mothers can identify by body odor of their biological children but not their stepchildren. Weisfeld GE, Czilli T, Phillips KA, Gall JA, Lichtman CM (July 2003). "Possible olfaction-based mechanisms in human kin recognition and inbreeding avoidance.". Journal of experimental child psychology 85 (3): 279–95.

Adding citrus juice or vitamin C to green tea improves antioxidant absorption by more than five times.


The first pacemaker had a battery so large it was wheeled in a cart. Today's pacemakers can be as small as a vitamin tablet.


The human heartbeat is so powerful it could pump water 1.8 metres into the air.

Richards, Douglas E. National Geographic Kids 365 (Nov 2006), pp. 28-29

Reducing your calorie intake by even 10% may significantly reduce your risk of ageing and disease!

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McCrory EP, et al. Effect of calorie restriction on the free-living physical activity levels of nonobese humans: results of three randomized trials. J Appl Physiol 110:956-963, 2011. First published 3 February 2011; doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00846.2009

Colman RJ, et al. Caloric restriction reduces age-related and all-cause mortality in rhesus monkeys. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS 5:3557, Published 1 April 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4557

Colman RJ, et al. Caloric restriction delays disease onset and mortality in rhesus monkeys. National Institute of Health (Science), 2009 July 10; 325(5937): 201–204. doi:10.1126/science.1173635.

In 1971 a CT scan took 5 minutes, and 5 minutes to deliver an image - today it takes 0.3 of a second.


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The network of blood vessels in your body is about 97,000 kilometres long - more than twice the distance around the earth.


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Children and teenagers spend on average 1.5 hours a day doing physical activity but more than 2 hours a day in screen-based activity (watching TV, DVDs or playing electronic games).

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW

Less than half of all Australian adults eat the recommended 2 serves of fruit per day and only 8% eat the recommended 5 or more serves of vegetables per day.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW

Dietary risks (accounting for 11% of the total burden), high body mass index (9%) and smoking (8%) are the leading risk factors for burden of disease in Australasia.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW

About 1 million Australians are diabetic. However, this is likely to be an underestimate—for every 4 adults with diagnosed diabetes, there is estimated to be 1 with undiagnosed diabetes (ABS 2013a).


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW

More than 20% of adults in Australia have severe gum disease…link between gum disease and heart disease.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW

Fewer than 1 in 3 (30%) Australian children meet fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW

24% of young Australians (15-24yrs) participate in drinking sessions associated with alcohol-related injury (more than 4 drinks on a single occasion) at least once a week.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW

Consuming 30 g/day of ground flaxseed can reduce your blood pressure more effectively than most common anti-hypertensive medications.

F Caligiuri, S.P.B., Edel, A.L., Aliani, M., Pierce, G.N. Flaxseed for Hypertension: Implications for Blood Pressure Regulation. Current Hypertension Reports. 2014; 16 (12), pp. 1-13

Consumption of unfiltered coffee increases blood cholesterol levels.

Jee SH et al. Coffee Consumption and Serum Lipids: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials. Am J Epidemiol 2001;153:353–62.

Tasting something sweet activates the same pleasure generating brain circuitry involved in the addiction of several drugs.

Ventura AK. Innate and learned preferences for sweet taste during childhood. Currant opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic Care. 2011;14: (4), pp. 379-384

Caffeine consumption will reduce blood flow to the brain.

Kennedy, D.O., Haskell, C.F. Cerebral blood flow and behavioural effects of caffeine in habitual and non-habitual consumers of caffeine: A near infrared spectroscopy study. Biological Psychology. 2011 86 (3), pp. 298-306

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