We breathe with it all day long but only ever notice its existence when a pimple pops up on it or the flu fills it up with mucus and prevents us from breathing.
From keeping you safe from microbes in the air to enabling you to smell the delicious pizza in front of you, our life would definitely not be the same without our nose.
So here are some fun facts about your nose that will help you appreciate exactly how important this little organ is for your overall health.
#1 Newborns can breathe and suckle breast milk at the same time. But you can’t.
You cannot swallow and breathe at the same time. Try it. You will see what I mean. But when you were a newborn baby, you could.
This is because the respiratory pathway of newborns is slightly more different from older children and adults such that it allows them to suckle at their mother's breast without suffocating. But once you are weaned off the breast, this pathway starts to change until you can longer breathe and swallow at the same time.
#2 Your nose humidifies the air you breathe.
Your lungs cannot tolerate dry air. And neither can your throat. So when you breathe in, your nose humidifies the air by drawing out moisture from your mucus. This way by the time the air passes further down your respiratory tract, it is moist.
Fun fact: The dry boogers in your nose is because your mucus loses most of its moisture by the end of the day.
#3 It protects you from pollution, allergens, and microbes.
The turbinates inside your nose are lined by cells which have tiny hair-like projections coming out of them, called cilia. And they are responsible for filtering out the harmful pollutants, allergens, and microbes present in the air you inhale and then trapping them in the mucus produced by your nose.
This is a very important function as your lungs cannot tolerate foreign particles and are very sensitive to microbial infection.
And just for your information, the mucus-trapped pollutants and foreign bodies slowly slide down your throat into your stomach, where they are destroyed by your strong stomach acids.
#4 It warms up the air your breathe in.
Your lungs do not like cold air just as they cannot tolerate dryness. So your nose warms up the air you breathe along with making it moist.
#5 You cannot taste food without your ability to smell.
Yes, that's right. Smell is an integral part of tasting flavors. That's why those down with the flu often complain that they cannot taste what they eating since their nose is blocked.
In fact, when someone says something tastes like piss, believe them. We all know how our urine tastes like since we have all smelled it!
#6 Your sense of smell protects you from food poisoning and other hazards.
Other than allowing you to taste the food you eat, the olfactory receptors in your nose allow you to smell smoke, toxic fumes, and spoiled food, thus protecting you from disease and death.
#7 The shape of your nose is responsible for how you speak.
Your voice is a function of three organs in your body. The nose, the air sinuses in your skull, and the larynx.
Your larynx contains your vocal cords, which vibrate when you speak. And this vibration then resonates through your nose and air sinuses to give your voice its characteristic sound.
That's why if you pinch your nose, your voice suddenly becomes very high pitched. And it appears stuffy and incomprehensible when your nose is blocked with phlegm or you are suffering from sinusitis.
#8 Your nose is responsible for your crush on someone.
If you are attracted to someone, it is because you are sexually aroused in their presence and subconsciously have identified them to be a carrier of good genes for reproduction.
Yes, that sound very dry and unromantic, but love truly is just a function of chemicals in your brain and your interaction with the pheromones released by another person. And your nose plays a very vital role in this interaction as it can pick up the scent of another person's sweat and determine if they are a good match for us or not.
In fact, studies have shown that we are repelled by people who smell the same as our parents as we are genetically programmed to not be attracted to them.
#9 Your memories are linked to your sense of smell.
Haven't you ever wondered why the scent of panipuri reminds you of your childhood, or why a particular perfume always reminds you of a particular person (whether you like them or hate them)?
It's because your memories are interlinked with your sense of smell.
#10 Certain scents can calm you down while others can energize you.
We have over 400 scent receptors in our nose, which allows us to perceive way more smells than we think we can. And since all these smells reach our brain through our olfactory nerves, they all have the ability to generates responses based on their scent type.
In fact, aromatherapy uses the scent of appropriate oils and flowers to trigger this very mechanism so you can feel what you want to feel at that moment, like calmness, serenity, and increased focus.
#11 Your nose will droop with age.
Our noses reach maximum growth at the age of 19. So if your mother is still trying to elongate your nose, ask her to stop. It won't work.
But once it hits its maximum size, it will start to droop over time (and age) because of the gravitational pull, which causes the elastin fibers at the tip of your nose to break off.
#12 The way you sneeze is genetically-determined.
That's right! The way you sneeze matches at least one of your parent's sneezing style because it is a genetically-determined characteristic.
So next time you think someone is faking a sneeze, give them a break. They probably belong to a family of squeaky sneezers!
#13 Mucus contains white blood cells and enzymes to fight diseases.
Mucus might be disgusting, especially when it dries up and crusts inside your nose, but it is important for destroying the bacteria, viruses, and other microbial particles that enter your body through the air you breathe in.
And this function is aided by the presence of white blood cells and disease-fighting enzymes in your mucus.
#14 People lose their ability to smell after 65 years of age.
You lose more than 50% of your ability to smell after the age of 65.
No wonder old people prefer eating simple food!
#15 Women have a sharper sense of smell than men.
It's true! So the next time your wife tells you there is a bad smell in the house, believe her.
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