Four Benefits of Giving Blood
Someone in the US needs blood every two seconds, so if you’re up for doing a good deed, donating blood is a phenomenal choice. More than 41,000 blood donations are needed each day, and because blood cannot be manufactured, the only way to supply this need is via generous blood donors. It’s certainly an altruistic act… but it’s also one that offers important yet little-discussed benefits.
1. Balance Iron Levels in Your Blood
For many, the fact that donating blood helps to rid your body of excess iron is one of the greatest benefits it offers. It has been long known that menstruating women have fewer heart attacks. This was previously thought to be due to hormones but is now thought to be due to lower iron levels.
Similar to premenopausal women, blood donors have been found to be 88 percent less likely to suffer from a heart attack, 3 and this is thought to be due to its effects on iron levels. Researchers explained:
“Because high body iron stores have been suggested as a risk factor for acute myocardial infarction, donation of blood could theoretically reduce the risk by lowering body iron stores.”
2. Better Blood Flow
Do you know what a high-sugar diet, smoking, radio frequencies, and other toxic electromagnetic forces, emotional stress, anxiety, high cholesterol, and high uric acid levels do to your blood? All of these make your blood hypercoagulable, meaning it makes it thick and slow moving, which increases your risk of having a blood clot or stroke.
Repeated blood donations may help your blood to flow better, possibly helping to limit damage to the lining of your blood vessels, which should result in fewer arterial blockages. (Grounding can also help to thin dangerously thick blood.) Phillip DeChristopher, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Loyola University Health System blood bank, told TIME:
“What is clear is that blood donors seem to not be hospitalized so often and if they are, they have shorter lengths of stay… And they’re less likely to get heart attacks, strokes, and cancers.”
3. You Get a Mini Physical
Every blood donor gets a “mini physical” prior to donation. Your temperature will be checked along with your blood pressure, pulse, and hemoglobin. Your blood will also be tested for 13 infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and C, West Nile Virus, and syphilis.
Donating blood is certainly not a replacement for medical care, but it does give you a (free) glimpse into your health (as well as notice if you’ve been exposed to an infectious disease without knowing).
4. A Longer Life
People who volunteer for altruistic reasons, i.e. to help others rather than themselves, appear to live longer than those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons. Altruistic volunteers enjoyed a significantly reduced risk of mortality four years later according to one study, with the study’s lead author noting:
“This could mean that people who volunteer with other people as their main motivation may be buffered from potential stressors associated with volunteering, such as time constraints and lack of pay.”