10 fascinating facts on ageing


Doesn't the years just fly by?! It seems as if you were a youngster just the other day but you're celebrating another birthday and those wrinkles are settling in.

You may want to brush up on what you know about your ageing body.

Here are ten fascinating facts about ageing and the human body:

  1. At birth, we are generally born with 350 bones in our skeleton, as we grow and age, bones fuse together resulting in us only having 206 bones as adults.
  2. Babies only have about 250 mls or one cup of blood circulating through their bodies. An adult human has about four litres which the heart pumps to all the tissues and to and from the lungs in about one minute while beating 75 times.
  3. We shed on average 600,000 particles of skin every hour. As we age, that accumulates to to approximately 1.5 pounds each year. The average person will therefore have lost around 105 pounds of skin by 70 years of age.
  4. Interestingly, the brain and nerve cells are the only cells in the body that cannot regenerate. Once brain cells are damaged they are not replaced.
  5. ­Because of this fact, we are born with all our brain cells and the human head is one-quarter of our total length at birth but only one-eighth of our total length by the time we reach adulthood.
  6. As we age our breathing rate slows down and its interesting to note that children and women breathe faster than men do. A person at rest usually breathes between 12 and 15 times a minute. ­
  7. By 60 years of age, we start to have difficulty breathing and 60-percent of men and 40-percent of women will begin to snore when sleeping. Snores average around 60 decibels, the noise level of normal speech but often reach more than 80 decibels. Eighty decibels is as loud as the sound of a pneumatic drill breaking up concrete. Noise levels over 85 decibels can damage the human ear.
  8. As adults, we eat on average 500kg of food per year, and we produce 1.7 litres of saliva each day to help us process this food.       
  9. Every day 11.5 litres of digested food, liquids and digestive juices flow through the digestive system, but only 100ml is lost in faeces.
  10. To digest all of that, the body produces a new stomach lining every three to four days to ensure that the strong acids used by the stomach to digest food, doesn’t also digest the stomach. 

Adjust your eating plan as you age

With increasing age, nutritional requirements tend to change as well.

Diets designed for older people should contain more high quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and dietary fibre per kilojoule of energy than ever before.

There is no room for ‘empty kilojoules’ in your diet as you age.

Each food that is included in the diet of older people must be rich in protective nutrients to ensure maximum nutrient intake.

Read: Nutrition for the elderly

Read more:

How your body will age

Better mid-life diet linked to healthy ageing

Age and your skin

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