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Blood donation helps others, but here’s why it’s also good for you.

There’s no disputing the fact that donating blood saves lives. But what you may not realize is that the act of blood donation not only helps others, but it’s good for your health, too. You’ll not only feel good about doing something selfless but your physical and mental health may be improved in numerous ways.

Here are 7 ways that donating blood can give your health a boost:

  1. You’ll get a mini health screening – Before you can give blood, you will be screened for a variety of infectious diseases and your blood pressure, pulse and hemoglobin levels will be checked. This information may help uncover a health issue that you might not otherwise know about.
  2. Lower risk of cardiovascular disease – Too much iron in the blood has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and about one in every 200 people in the U.S. has a condition called hemochromatosis that causes too much iron to be stored in the blood. Donating blood reduces the accumulation of iron in the body and helps maintain a healthy blood viscosity. This can lower your risk of blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Research suggests that donating blood at least once a year may reduce your risk of heart attack by 88 percent.
  3. Improved circulation – When you donate blood, your body produces new blood cells. This helps to improve blood flow throughout the body, which can in turn result in better oxygenation of organs and tissues and reduce the risk of blood clots.
  4. Reduction in cancer risk – While more research is needed to establish a conclusive link between blood donation and cancer risk, some studies suggest that regular blood donation may be associated with a lower risk of some cancers, including liver, lung and colon cancer.
  5. Strengthened immune system  By prompting your body to produce new blood cells, donating blood helps stimulate the immune system, making it more robust and efficient. A strengthened immune system helps your body stay better protected against infections and illnesses.
  6. Temporary boost in metabolism – As your body works to replace donated blood cells, it revs up your metabolism. This temporary boost may not last long, but while it does, you may feel more energized and your body may burn calories at a faster rate. As an added bonus, donating blood burns about 500 calories, which is equivalent to running about 5 miles!
  7. Better mental health – Engaging in altruistic activities such as blood donation often provides people with a sense of satisfaction, purpose and community connection. These emotional benefits contribute to lower stress levels and improved mental well-being. Helping others has also been linked to a lower risk of depression. It has been shown that people who are more engaged in their community tend to have better health and live longer lives.

Not only is donating blood much needed in communities throughout the U.S., but it’s also nice to know that your gift of blood donation not only helps others, but is good for your health, too.

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Date Last Reviewed: November 20, 2023

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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