The Surprising Health Benefits of Donating Blood

22 Apr 2021

Editorial

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They say giving is its own reward – but when you give blood, your life-saving donation comes with surprising health benefits for yourself too. As part of our continuing efforts to give back to our local community, we’re working with the Singapore Red Cross to organize a blood donation drive this April. If you’ve thought about giving blood but just needed that extra push, here’s how donating can do good for your well-being – from improved heart health to encouraging good diet habits.

Catching Early Health Issues

Prior to giving blood, all donors go through a free medical screening – this basic screening checks not only your blood haemoglobin levels but also your blood pressure, pulse, and weight. This can be handy for flagging up any health concerns you might be unaware of early on, including anaemia and high blood pressure. If your results show a clean bill of health, you get the benefit of peace of mind too!

Boosting Your Emotional Wellness

Photo courtesy of Austin Kehmeier on Unsplash

Ever felt like you want to make a difference in the world, but don’t quite know how? Turns out your potential to change lives is running right in your veins. Donating just one unit of your blood can save up to three lives in Singapore – from accident casualties to patients with blood or bone marrow cancers. And there’s no denying that the secret to feeling good is doing good for others – there’s nothing like the rush of helping to shape a caring, giving community.

Enhancing Your Heart Health

If you thought blood donation only saves those on the receiving end, think again – it could boost your own longevity too. In 2016, a yearlong study of 300 donors with elevated blood pressure found that regular blood donations helped to manage their hypertension, with their blood pressure lowering the more frequently they gave blood. Meanwhile, a groundbreaking Dutch study of nearly 160,000 regular blood donors has shown that women who gave blood frequently over a decade had better heart health and lower cardiovascular morbidity than those who seldom did so.

Encouraging Healthy Diet Practices

Giving blood gets easier when you keep in mind a couple of dietary practices – and these can stand you in good stead for your daily wellbeing too. One essential is fueling up on iron-rich foods a week or two before, to stock up on iron lost through donation. Get your fill of foods packing both heme iron – meat, shellfish, eggs – and non-heme iron – kale, nuts and beans, dark chocolate. Another key nutrient is Vitamin B, which helps replenish red blood cells in your body. Avocadoes and bananas are high in Vitamin B6, while a cup of B2-rich milk or yoghurt goes a long way. In the long run, these are all great things to spotlight in your diet habits – they keep your energy high and ward off various types of anaemia.

Staying hydrated is a seriously underrated tip for wellness too – water plays a role in everything from digestion to energizing your muscles. Almost half the blood you donate is water, so be sure to drink an extra 16 ounces or two cups before heading down – non-alcoholic drinks like fruit juices work well too. The hydration shouldn’t stop after donation either – drink plenty of fluids to replenish what you’ve lost for the next few days, and keep the habit going strong.

Blood Donation Drive at One Raffles Quay

Ready to save lives? One Raffles Quay is holding a mobile blood donation drive on 22 April 2021, from 10am to 4pm. For registration and more details, check out BayPlay on your By The Bay app.

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