Donating blood is an act of kindness that many of us do to help people in need, but did you know it has health benefits for you too?
Many of us have donated blood at some point in our lives, in the hope of helping another person in their time of need, but what most of us aren’t aware of, is the positive health benefits it has for the person giving blood too.
Here are five reasons why donating blood is good for your health…
It’s a free health check
When you donate blood, many tests are carried out on your blood to ensure you are in good health.
Prior to giving blood, you will have a consultation with a Nurse to go through medical questions and have your iron levels checked, by having a drop of your blood put into a solution. This will advise the Nurse if you are ok to give blood, or if your iron levels indicate that you are iron deficient or have too much iron.
You will also have your blood pressure taken before giving blood, which will pick up any blood pressure abnormalities.
If you pass the pre-screen tests and you give a blood donation, your blood will then be checked for infections. If anything abnormal shows up, you will be advised so that you can visit your GP.
It reduces your risk of cancer
There is strong evidence to suggest that giving blood reduces the risk of cancer. This is due to high iron levels being implicated with cancer.
Your blood is filled with a lot of iron, so giving blood reduces the amount of iron in your blood stream, therefore reducing the risk of cancer if you donate blood regularly.
It prevents heart disease
Regular blood donations helps keep your iron at a healthy level, especially for men.
Iron is essential in your body functioning properly, however, too much iron can lead to excessive oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is one of the main causes of heart attacks, strokes and accelerated ageing.
Regular blood donation will help prevent heart disease and other potential health problems.
It burns calories
Donating a pint of blood burns an average of 650 calories. This should not be thought of as a way to lose weight, but can assist in maintaining a healthy weight, alongside healthy eating and regular exercise.
Giving blood is a great feeling, knowing you may be saving someone’s life. Most of us walk away after donating blood feeling extremely proud and happy with ourselves for doing a good deed.
Being happy is great for your physical and mental health. Studies have shown that feeling happy reduces production of the stress hormone and improves your immune system.
So, if you have been unsure whether donating blood is right for you, hopefully seeing the health benefits will help convince you it’s a good thing to do.
For more information on giving blood, or to find your local blood donating session visit the NHS Give Blood website.