Lots of studies have shown that good deeds reduce stress. Helping others is good for your emotional health, which is good for your health all-around. But a group of scientists has revealed an interesting twist on one good deed in particular.
It turns out, donating blood has a direct physical effect on markers in your own blood. And those changes will lower your heart disease risk, according to a new report in the BMC Medical Journal.
This research group was looking at how to affect metabolic syndrome (aka, pre-diabetes).
Specifically, they were interested in the accumulation of iron in the blood. Does it trigger the chain-reaction that leads to diabetes? Or play a role at all?
The study included 64 patients with metabolic disorder (a.k.a. pre-diabetes). Half the group donated blood, which reduces iron levels in the blood. Four weeks later, they donated blood again. Researchers measured the patients’ blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, HbA1c, blood sugar, insulin resistance levels at each point.
After their first donation, the patients’
- Blood pressure improved by 16.6 points
- Blood glucose, HbA1c, HDL/LDL cholesterol ratio, and heart rate all went down significantly
The researchers say all these changes were related to reduced iron in the blood. Which occurred because of blood donations.
What an easy way to improve your own heart health. With an added benefit of helping someone else to boot. Yet another win-win situation.
If you haven’t given blood in a while–or ever–contact the American Red Cross to find out where the nearest blood drive or donation center is. You can call them at 1-800-733-2767 or visit www.redcrossblood.org.