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5 Health Benefits of Donating Blood

5 Health Benefits of Donating Blood

A spider bite might not transform you into a superhero, but a small needle prick and a little of your time sure can. Yes, by donating blood you’ll be saving up to three human lives each time. And here is even more awesome news: not only is donating blood extremely beneficial to those on the receiving end, it also has proven benefits to the person donating blood.Here are some of the benefits you gain for you humanitarian efforts.

1. The Joy of Saving Human Lives

It is such a wonderful feeling being able to help doctors save human lives. There are no perfect substitutes for human blood. The blood you donate is divided into various components according to the needs of patients. Each component can be used by different recipients for various purposes. Many newborn babies may benefit from a single blood donor as their blood requirements are smaller. Every time you donate blood, you can help up to 3 or 4 individual recipients. Be a hero by donating blood.

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2. Free Health Check-up

You can donate blood only if you are fit enough to do so. Before every blood donation process, a series of health check-ups are performed on the donor totally free of cost. This will be of great benefit to you. For example, you will come to know of any blood pressure abnormalities. That will help diagnose some of the indolent diseases at the early stage before they get flared up and present with multiple medical problems. Further, after the blood is donated, the blood and blood products that are derived from them are screened for certain infections. You can choose to be informed if they find any abnormality in those screening tests. Frequent blood donations are good free health check-ups that will help you stay healthy. Here is an interesting story of how blood donation saved a grandmother’s life.

3. Reduces Risk of Heart Disease

Regular blood donations help to keep the levels of iron in the body in check, especially in males. This has shown to reduce heart disease. Though iron is an essential element for the proper functioning of the body, excessive iron build up can result in excessive oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is the major culprit implicated in accelerated ageing, heart attacks, strokes etc. You can read more of the scientific information on the American Journal of Epidemiology.

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4. Burns Calories

One time blood donation helps you shed 650 Kcal. This can aid you in your body weight control measures. However, blood can be donated safely once in two or three months and not more frequently. This will depend on your health status and your blood hemoglobin and iron levels.

5. Reduces the Risk of Cancer

High levels of iron have been implicated in cancer. Theoretically, donating blood frequently will reduce the risk of cancers. More research is going on to find strong evidence on this one. However, the old myth that blood donations may lead to cancer has been put to the grave.

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Still having doubts and excuses that prevent you from donating blood? Watch this video.

Donating blood is a very safe procedure and is not harmful to you. You will be assessed for your eligibility by medical personnel before you can donate blood. The bare minimum: A healthy 16 year old weighing at least 110 lbs.

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Need motivation? Read about this Florida guy who has donated about 100 gallons of blood in his entire life. Read more stories of students who volunteer to donate blood.

First time blood donors? Check the American Red Cross to know the entire procedure of donating blood. And you can pass this message on and motivate others too.

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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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