It is common knowledge that donating blood is good for the community, but a recent study reveals that donating blood might be just as good for the donor, too.
Recent findings suggest that donating blood reduces the risk of heart attacks and cancer, and it also burns 650 calories for every pint given.
Researchers believe that these benefits exist because donating blood lowers high iron levels.
High levels of iron in the blood increases the thickness and stickiness of it, making traveling through the arteries more difficult. This could lead to increased friction in the vessels and increase the wear and tear on the lining of the arteries, causing cardiovascular disease.
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Iron levels also affect the oxidization process of cholesterol.
When donating blood, the blood of the donor is thinned, and the iron content is lowered.
A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those ages 43 to 61 who donated blood every six months had fewer heart attacks and strokes.
Another study in Finland found that men who donated blood had an 88 percent reduced risk of heart attacks.
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It seems donating blood also reduces the risk of cancer, as one study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found iron is related to an increased risk of cancer. Higher amounts of it in the blood increases free-radical damage in the body.
Calories are also burned when donating blood, as the body has to work hard to replace the blood volume lost and replenish red blood cells. The University of California San Diego estimates that for every pint of blood lost, 650 calories are burned.
But donors must make donations on a regular basis to see benefits.
Though it is tempting to donate blood to see health benefits, the NHS Blood and Transplant Centre urges people to decide to donate because they want to help others first.