Donating Blood… You Benefit, Too!
According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood for a life-threatening condition. Giving as little as 45 minutes to an hour of your time twice a year to donate blood can save the lives of as many as three people. Not only will you feel good about helping those in need, but there are benefits in it for you, too. Here are some proven perks you’ll receive if you make donating a habit.
1. Reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Donating blood on a regular basis maintains the health of your arteries by reducing blood viscosity, the thick or sticky consistency of blood, and by removing non-utilized iron from the blood. The less thick or sticky the blood, the better it flows, reducing the risk of damage to the vessel cells and resulting in the development of fewer arterial blockages. Excess iron may oxidize in your blood, increasing the production of free radicals that cause oxidative stress and can further damage arteries. After donating blood, your body will gradually replace depleted iron through the food you consume.
2. Reduce your risk of some cancers and accelerated aging.
Too much iron in the blood may also be responsible for disrupting normal cellular function in other organs. Reducing iron in the body by giving blood may decrease the amount of oxidative stress caused by free radicals and lower the risk of liver, lung, colon and throat cancers. A decrease in oxidative stress may also prevent premature aging and increase mortality.
3. Get a free health screening.
When you give blood, your pulse, temperature, blood pressure, hemoglobin and cholesterol are checked free of charge prior to collecting your donation. Afterward, your blood is tested for 13 infectious diseases including HIV, hepatitis and West Nile virus. The results are mailed to you once the tests are completed.
4. Burn calories.
A whopping 650 calories are burned from donating one pint of blood. You should only donate two to three times a year so don’t consider it a long-term weight loss strategy. But, if you’re trying to control your weight, there’s no need to feel guilty about getting a few extra calories from the snack afterwards – your body will need it to prevent light-headedness, dizziness and weakness.
5. Become a hero.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know that your donation has given at least three lucky recipients-in-need the gift of life. Feel good knowing that your blood is divided into various components, so that it can be used to treat people who have lost blood through an accident, as well as those with illnesses like cancer, anemia and hereditary blood disorders. Offering an hour of your time twice a year is all it takes to benefit you and help someone in need.