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7 healthy reasons why you should donate blood

Last updated on: June 14, 2019 09:20 IST

Besides saving the life of the recipient, donating blood is healthy for the donor as well, says dietician Jasleen Kaur.

Why you must donate blood

IMAGE: Every time you donate blood, you are helping up to three or four recipients. Photograph: Sahil Salvi

Every 5 seconds in the world someone needs blood.

It may be because of a health emergency or an accident.

A small prick of needle and a little bit of your time can make you a hero in someone's life.

If you have never donated blood it's time to know the benefits and start donating blood now.

To donate blood, you need to fit and free from any illness.

Your hemoglobin must be sufficient and your pulse rate and blood pressure needs to be normal.

Donating blood is a relatively safe way to help people with serious medical conditions.

It can lead to some side effects, though, like fatigue or anemia.

But eating and drinking the right things before and after donating can help reduce your risk for side effects.

What to eat and drink before giving blood 

If you’re donating blood, it’s important to stay hydrated before and after you donate.

That’s because about half of your blood is made of water.

It's also good to increase your iron intake because you lose iron when you donate.

Low iron levels can cause symptoms of fatigue.

Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of iron-rich foods can help your body store extra iron.

Iron rich food would be eggs, chicken, fish, spinach, sweet potatoes, peas, broccoli, beans, strawberries, watermelon, raisins, dates, figs, prunes, dried apricots, dried peaches, tofu, dried peas, dried beans, and lentils. 

Mango, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, watermelon, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and helps to absorb iron in the body. 

Benefits of donating blood

1. Reduces your risk of heart disease and cholesterol

A lot of people suffer from cardiovascular disease and are at risk of a heart attack.

The lowered health risks have to do with iron depletion.

Iron has a significant impact on the body. High levels of iron in blood can cause a variety of symptoms such as irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness.

It leads to free-radical damage in the body and has been linked to an increased risk of cancer as well.

2. Burns calories

A one-time blood donation can burn up to 650 calories, as the body has to work harder later to replenish itself.

3. Saves up to three lives

Every time you donate blood, you are helping up to three or four recipients.

According to studies people who volunteered selflessly had a significantly reduced risk of mortality than those who never volunteer.

After donation, your blood is separated into its components (red blood cells, platelets and plasma) for distribution to local hospitals -- ready to save lives.

4. Identifies your health risk

Each person who donates blood has to complete a simple physical examination and blood test.

This simple process could also help you identify issues like blood pressure concerns, hemoglobin or low blood count.

5. Reduce harmful iron stores

One in every two hundred people in the world suffer from iron stones (iron overload) and most don’t even know about it.

Iron overload is labeled among the most common genetic diseases.

Iron stones can be reduced if you donate blood regularly.

6. Keeps liver healthy

Thanks to an unhealthy lifestyle, most youngsters are at risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Iron stones are one of the many reasons that contribute to NAFLD which affects the normal functioning of your liver.

Donating blood not only helps you get rid of iron overload, but also keeps your liver healthy. 

7. Makes you happy

The fact that a simple selfless deed which takes you less than an hour can save up to three lives should inspire you to do it at least once in your life.

After you have done your deed, when you walk out of the hospital, you'll feel a sense of happiness that will stay with you for a while.

 Jasleen Kaur is founder, Just Diet Clinic in Delhi.

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