Over the weekend I had the opportunity to give a part of myself to help a person in need. It’s just a simple act really, by donating a pint (450ml) of my blood. A family recently posted a request for donations to top up the portions used at the local hospital’s blood bank, since we (my sis in law and I) were visiting a relative anyway, we thought why not.
So why do I say it’s the gift that gives back? Because there are a lot of benefits to donating blood as well! For half an hour of your time, you seek to gain much as well. Here are 5 benefits of being a regular blood donor.
1. The Joy of Saving Human Lives
There is an indescribably sense of accomplishment every time you complete a donation. The blood you donate is divided into various components according to the needs of patients. Each component can be used by different recipients for various purposes. Every time you donate blood, you can help up to 3 or 4 individual recipients. In a year, you could be helping 12-16 people!
2. Free Health Check-up
You can donate blood only if you are fit enough to do so. Before every blood donation process, a series of health check-ups are performed on the donor. This will be of great benefit to you. For example, you will come to know of any blood pressure abnormalities. Further, after the blood is donated, the blood and blood products that are derived from them are screened for certain infections. You can choose to be informed if they find any abnormality in those screening tests. Frequent blood donations are good free health check-ups that will help you stay healthy.
3. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Regular blood donations help to keep the levels of iron in the body in check, especially in males. This has shown to reduce heart disease. Though iron is an essential element for the proper functioning of the body, excessive iron build up can result in excessive oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is the major culprit implicated in accelerated ageing, heart attacks, strokes etc. You can read more of the scientific information on the American Journal of Epidemiology.
4. Burns Calories
One time blood donation helps you shed 650 Kcal. This can aid you in your body weight control measures. However, blood can be donated safely once in three months and not more frequently. This will depend on your health status and your blood haemoglobin and iron levels.
5. Reduces the Risk of Cancer
High levels of iron have been implicated in cancer. Theoretically, donating blood frequently will reduce the risk of cancers. More research is going on to find strong evidence on this one.