Men are not from Mars, and women are not from Venus. They are all from the same species on the same planet. But the sexes are definitely not exactly the same, the differences between men and women do exist and are important.
These differences are mainly manifested in biological functions, and can help you better understand your health needs. These differences give both sexes unique advantages and help you achieve your most important task-survival.
But let’s talk about the similarities first, and then return to what makes men and women different.
There are two things you may not know: genetically, 98.5% of the DNA of men and women are identical, and they even have the same hormones. But the ratio of these hormones explains some of the differences between men and women.
Let’s first dive into these 25 interesting facts and explore the important physiological, biological, and nutritional differences between men and women.
- Men usually have thicker skin, about 25% thicker than women, and have a higher density of collagen.
- The difference in density is not limited to the skin; generally, men have denser and stronger bones, tendons, and ligaments than women.
- From the age of 14 to 51, women usually need more iron than men. This is because women lose blood during menstruation, which usually lasts from 28 to 40 days.
- On average, men’s muscle mass is usually higher than women’s, and their skeletal muscles move faster and more powerfully. But women’s muscles are better able to resist fatigue and recover faster.
- For most women, the second longest finger is the index finger next to the thumb. Men are the opposite. Their ring finger (the one next to the little finger) is usually longer than their index finger.
- Folic acid is an essential vitamin, men and women need it. But folic acid is particularly important for women of childbearing age. During pregnancy, women need enough folic acid to support the baby’s neurodevelopment.
- Male and female brains differ in structure, the way they process information, and the process of interacting with chemical signals. For example: men have more information-containing gray matter structures, but women have more white matter, which are connected to different parts of the brain. Moreover, women have larger memory centers than men.
- Women’s day and night patterns may be shorter than 24 hours. (Usually there are 6 minutes short in a day.) Men are more likely to be night owls. But in the case of insufficient sleep, women’s overall performance will be better than men.
- During exercise, women’s bodies mainly burn fat; men burn carbohydrates.
- The average testosterone concentration in adult women is about 15-70 nanograms per male (ng/dL), and the average adult male is about 270-1070 nanograms per male. After the age of 30, the concentration of testosterone in men will drop by about one percent every year, but this phenomenon does not occur in women. However, after menopause, the concentration of estrogen decreases.
- Men have an Adam’s apple because their throat is larger, which makes the surrounding cartilage more prominent.
- The bone mass of men and women will peak around the age of 30. At the age of 40, both men and women begin to lose bone, and menopause accelerates bone loss in women. Therefore, women aged 51-70 need to consume 200 milligrams (mg) more calcium than men of the same age. Therefore, women need 1,200 mg per day and men 1,000 mg per day.
- Men’s daily calorie needs are higher than women. There are several reasons for this: higher muscle mass, height, and basal metabolic rate; and the same weight of muscle burns more than twice the calories of fat.
- Men and women have different body fat levels. Women have more body fat (about 10%), which is mainly used to maintain the functioning of the reproductive system. The best example is that when a woman’s body fat is too low, menstruation will stop.
- Women’s body fat usually accumulates in the buttocks and thighs, while men’s fat is mostly accumulated around the stomach.
- The difference in body size, muscle mass, and calorie requirements between men and women shows that men generally require a diet with a higher protein content.
- A study found that men’s resting heart rate is lower than women’s, but women’s peak heart rate is lower. During exercise, the heartbeat of men usually increases faster, and then slows down more quickly.
- Men usually have more red blood cells (4.7-6.1 million red blood cells per microliter, while women have 4.2-5.4 million red blood cells per microliter).
- Women’s blood pressure is usually lower than that of men, regardless of race or ethnicity.
- For most of their lives, men and women have the same vitamin D requirements; but elderly women need to increase their vitamin D intake to promote calcium absorption.
- Men seldom have regular physical examinations. When going to the doctor, they are more likely to hide or lie about their symptoms.
- Men and women have similar needs for zinc. But pregnant women and postmenopausal women need more zinc. Both men and women store zinc in the bones, but men also store zinc in the prostate.
- Men are not very sensitive to cold temperatures.
- Women have better sense of smell and taste. There are more than 50 cells (neurons) in their olfactory bulb, which is the part of the brain responsible for processing smell. Women also usually have more taste buds than men.
- Part of the difference between the way men and women look at the world is partly due to physiological reactions. On average, men are more likely to become colour-blind, but their eyes are also more able to perceive movement; women are more able to distinguish small colour differences.
This is fun, then?
When you know these phenomena that make men and women different, you can bring up these interesting facts in daily conversations whenever you want. Now you can also use these differences to make personal decisions about your health. If you are a woman, you know that you need more folic acid and will burn fat during exercise. If you are a male, you know that you need more calories and fat will accumulate around your stomach. These are important considerations when planning a healthy lifestyle.
What you should not do is to use the differences between men and women to emphasize gender advantages. All the differences listed above have very good biological or physiological reasons. Through human history, these differences have helped men and women survive, and most of them have come from cooperation.
These gender differences should not be regarded as limitations in all aspects. These are just averages and typical situations. Not all men are stronger, and not all women have a better sense of taste. Don’t let the differences between men and women prevent you from achieving your health or life goals.