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Why we sweat - some more, some less

Warum wir schwitzen – mancher mehr, manche weniger

Sweating is an important human function. But why do people sweat at all and what can be done about it if excessive sweating is perceived as unpleasant?
Some people sweat at work, others hardly sweat even in the sweltering sun. We humans are individualists - also with regard to sweating. Basically, it serves to cool our body down when necessary. We are conditioned to the intensity of sweating in our first years of life. First of all, every person with approx. two to three million sweat glands are born. These assume their functions primarily in the first two years of life. In doing so, they develop according to the demands placed on them – that is: how warm or cool does the child grow up, or how active/passive is the toddler? Because it generally depends on these two circumstances how our sweat glands develop. And the "result" shapes us for life. However, other factors such as physical resilience, activity status or the general constitution of our body and organism come into play in the course of our lives. And, of course, external temperatures, humidity or location and clothing also play a role, to name just a few criteria.

Our body has to react – so we sweat

In the broadest sense, our body works like a built-in air conditioner. This is vital for us. Too much heat damages or threatens our organism and its vital functionality - for example in the case of a heat stroke. But what exactly happens when you sweat? Quite simply: if we get too warm, our sweat glands form a moist film on the skin. This protective film ensures that our body is cooled across the board. This happens due to the evaporating liquid, which removes heat from the body and removes water from us at the same time. (That's why it's also important to drink plenty of fluids—plain water will do.) Because depending on the intensity of sweating, we lose half a liter to three liters of water - every day. In extreme situations even more - then our sweat literally flows "in streams".

What helps against excessive sweating?

Just go out into the fresh air more often in every season! Avoid artificially air-conditioned zones. This will help your body get used to fluctuating temperatures. Regular sauna sessions or sweating during sports can also train our organism in this regard. With regard to our diet, the following applies: lots of fresh fruit, preferably steamed vegetables and low-fat and only lightly seasoned dishes ensure easy digestibility and put less strain on our body on hot days. Sharpness, on the other hand, really "heats" us up and we automatically start to sweat. Lukewarm tea made from sage or linden blossom also helps. When it comes to clothing, light and airy fabrics allow our skin to breathe more easily. Warm showers are better than cold ones: the heat causes our blood vessels to dilate, creating more surface area to dissipate any heat.

Animals can sweat too

By the way, sweating is human – but animals can sweat too. But in view of the impressive variety of species, there are rather few species that can sweat. These include, for example, horses, monkeys, camels, big cats and bears. For everyone else, nature has found various solutions to regulate the body's heat balance. For example, with a panting tongue like in a dog or with a rabbit over the long ears. Storks, on the other hand, smear their damp excrement around the stilts to cool them down. However, evolution has probably missed the most interesting method for the ground squirrel in South Africa. These animals look where the sun is, cock their bushy tails high, and cool off in their own shade, so to speak.

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