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Top 5 Surprising Sweat Facts

VO: Chris Masson

Written by Michael Wynands

Do you get pesky night sweats? Sick of your excessive sweating? Do you buy antiperspirant in bulk? You may stop cursing your hyperthyridosis, reach for a habanero and intensify your workout routine after you learn a few of these amazing facts about sweat on this edition of Top 5 Facts! Even sweaty old fitness junkies will finding something they didn't already know... probably about hippos.

Special thanks to our user Daniel Fong for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Transcript
Written by Michael Wynands

Top 5 Facts About Sweat

It’s a dirty job, but your body’s gotta do it. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the five most fascinating facts about sweat. The human body is a complex machine, and that salty liquid that streams out of your pores every time you exert yourself by unloading the dishwasher or brushing your teeth is one of the crucial involuntary functions that keeps it running smoothly.

#5: Sweating is Healthy

Puberty… it’s a time when your body kicks “awkwardness” into high gear. Hormones, growth spurts, body hair, and last but not least - sweat. It’s the pits. While your underarms certainly function as a fine purveyor of the salty stuff, the average human body is covered all over with some 2.6 million sweat glands.While we may demonise sweat socially, it’s not only natural, but necessary. Thermoregulation is the means by which living things manage their body temperature. Dogs pant, while humans sweat. But the health benefits don’t end there. Sweat helps to cleanse the body. The act of sweating reduces heavy metal buildup, as well as working to remove bacteria from the skin, cleaning out your pores... and reducing acne. Man, I gotta make my back sweat more.


#4: Hot & Spicy Food Cools You Down Through Sweat

Looking to nudge your thermoregulatory system in the right direction? It may seem a little counter-intuitive, but spicy and hot food helps the body cool down, which is part of the why so many cultures in hot climates have spicy cuisines. Food or beverages that are physically hot trigger TRPV1 receptors in the mouth, which, signalling high temperatures, instruct the body to lower its temperature the only way it knows how - with sweat. Spicy food triggers a slightly different mechanism. The key chemical found in most “spicy” peppers, like jalapenos, is capsaicin. This peculiar compound triggers two sensory responses - heat and pain. The body reacts in kind with its default response to heat-related pain - sweating to cool itself down. Some of us are lucky enough to break into a sweat every time we eat. Yeah, I swear, by the time I’m on my third snickers, I’m definitely not feeling hot.”


#3: Vegetarian Sweat Generally Smells Better

Meat-eaters: you’ve probably heard every argument in favor of a vegetarian diet and nothing has stuck. You like meat - end of story. But what if we told you that vegetarians smell better? Not just better, but more attractive? Sweat contains pheromones which can communicate attraction and arousal. But a 2006 study published in the Oxford Journal of Medicine explored the relation between sweat and olfactory attraction and diet. The result? When exposed to nothing but the sweat of an individual, test subjects consistently identified the sweat of non meat eaters as “more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense”. So if you’re looking to improve your mating game, consider cutting the meat.

#2: Hippo Sweat is Red… and More Useful Than Yours

Human sweat - it’s healthy, it keeps you cool, and (if you’re single) it just might convince you to become a vegetarian. But our sweat’s got nothing on hippo sweat. Typically, mammal sweat is thin and predominantly water-based to maximize its cooling potential. Hippo sweat on the other hand, referred to as “blood sweat” by early Europeans due to its distinct pink-reddish hue, is a thick bodily secretion that serves no thermoregulatory purposes. While hippos lack sweat glands in the traditional sense, this thick secretion works as a natural sunscreen, protecting them from UV rays and keeping the skin organically moisturized while simultaneously repelling water. Similar to human sweat, it also helps to keep bacteria off the body. Since our sweat isn’t sunscreen, I recommend never leaving the basement.


<54>#1: Sweat is Odorless We know… the world is full of anecdotal evidence to the contrary, but it’s true - sweat does NOT have an inherent smell to it. Made up of water, salt, proteins, fat and acids, sweat only develops a smell when mixed with bacteria - going to town on that bodily fluid buffet. The more prominent eccrine sweat glands produce a thin, water-heavy, cooling sweat that covers the body when active, and rarely results in smell. But apocrine sweat glands, found in your armpits, groin region and other... odorous zones, produce a thicker, milkier sweat with higher concentrations of fat, which the naturally-occurring bacteria on your skin loves to eat. Bacteria consumes this sweat, resulting in that unpleasant aroma, as well as those unsightly yellow pit stains. Hear that, girls who made fun of me at Cinnabon? I don’t stink, my bacteria does.

So, will you, like, do a pushup so that you too can experience all of sweat’s sweaty benefits? Would you consider trading in your sunscreen for some good old-fashioned hippo sweat? For more cool Top 10s and Cinnabon-tastic Top 5s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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