Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Sweat

As we enter into one of the hottest months of the summer, it’s only fitting to take a closer look at something we all experience this time of year—sweat. And while sweat may have a bad reputation for being a smelly, salty nuisance, it actually plays a vital role in your overall health.

When temperatures spike, your body produces sweat to help cool you down, keep your skin hydrated and prevent infection. That isn’t all sweat does, though, read on to learn more about sweat’s many benefits. And who knows, maybe next time you start to sweat, you’ll feel a bit of relief instead of discomfort.

   1. You’re covered in sweat glands. On the surface of your body, you have between 2 and 5 million sweat glands; however, they are not evenly spaced out. They are the most concentrated on the bottom of your feet and the least concentrated on your back.

   2. Your sweat isn’t smelly. While you may feel like sweat brings with it an unpleasant smell, it isn’t actually sweat that makes you stinky. This is because sweat is 99% water, along with uric acid, lactic acid, ammonia, vitamin C, electrolytes and many other proteins. So what’s causing the smell? It’s actually the bacteria on your skin that’s to blame.

   3. Your body makes different kinds of sweat. While regular sweat is primarily water, and is produced to help cool your body down, your body can also produce stress sweat. This type of sweat is actually produced by a different gland, the apocrine sweat glands. These are primarily found in your underarms, genitals and feet. Unlike regular sweat, stress sweat is made up of proteins and lipids, which can be fairly stinky.

   4. What you eat does affect your sweat. Well, this isn’t exactly the case. Sweat is still essentially odorless and doesn’t cause a smell until it begins mixing with the bacteria on the surface of your skin. But, there are certain foods that can add to this process by intensifying the smell. These are 7 foods you should watch for: red meat, alcohol, cruciferous veggies, asparagus, fish, garlic and onions.

   5. Your body produces a lot of sweat. Considering that just your feet alone can produce almost a pint of sweat a day, it may not surprise you to learn that your body produces a large amount of sweat. It is estimated that you produce up to 2.3 liters daily, and that’s if you don’t exercise. If you are active, you may be sweating more like 2 liters an hour while working out. And if you’re exercising in the intense heat, you may lose between 2 and 6 percent of your body weight.

Hoping to keep cool? Here are a few salty secrets:

·       Hold a frozen water bottle. By holding something cold, you’ll not only cool down the tissues in the palms of your hands, you’ll also help to cool the blood that flows to it. Make sure to switch the bottle between hands about every 5 minutes.

·       Try something mint. Whether it’s chewing some gum, popping in a mint or using a Listerine strip, putting something in your mouth with menthol will make you perceive the air as being colder.

·       Cool down your neck. Try putting a cold, wet cloth on the back of your neck. This will actually trick both your body and brain into feeling cooler. This is because your brainstem, the part of your brain that senses body temperature is in the base of the neck.

·       Put it on ice. Try putting some of your favorite lotion on ice as a great way to give yourself a refreshing way to get cool, fast. You can indulge in rubbing hydrating lotion on, while also cooling off.

·       Don’t Sweat it. While sweat plays an impressive role in keeping your body cool during the hottest months of the year, there are many other health hurdles that are common this time of year. Whether you’re battling bug bites, sunburns or skin rashes, you can count on the experts at ChoiceOne Urgent Care to get you through all of summer’s illnesses and injuries. With care available seven days a week, 8 A-M to 8 P-M, you have access to convenient, comprehensive care for every member of the family. 

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