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8 Benefits of Donating Blood That You May Not Know About

8 Benefits of Donating Blood That You May Not Know About

I donated blood for the first time almost a year ago, when I noticed that the local blood center was having a blood drive and their bloodmobile was parked outside of where I worked at the time. I walked past the bloodmobile thinking I should seize the opportunity and donate blood today. A coworker asked if I had noticed the vehicle, and asked if I would be donating bloodI thought yeah, let’s do this! After working for a couple hours, I decided it was an easy way to do something good and it didn’t take much effort on my part, so I went down to sign up and get the process started. I wasn’t expecting anything in return for donating my blood but there were some good benefits to donating blood that I didn’t know about before then.

Benefits of Donating Blood

  1. Blood donation is good for your health. It reduces the amount of iron in the body and reduces the risk of heart disease. According to studies published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, blood donors are 88% less likely to suffer a heart attack. This is simply because when someone gives blood, iron is being removed from their system, which can significantly cut the risk of heart disease.
  2. Blood donation has also been shown to lower the risk of cancer. Consistent blood donation is associated with lowered risks for cancers including liver, lung, colon, stomach and throat cancers. Who wouldn’t like to lower their risk of cancer if given the opportunity?
  3. When someone donates blood, they get a free health check-up. Blood donors receive a mini-physical and are told about their blood pressure levels as well as their cholesterol levels; two important factors in maintaining health. If a technician taking a patients levels notices they are high, they will let the patient know that they may need to get checked out by a physician. People who get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly can find out about a health issue sooner, which could make all the difference in their well-being.
  4. Along with a health check-up, the donor will get a free blood analysis and be notified of their blood type. If a patient were to go to a doctor’s office to find out their blood type or get a blood analysis it would not be free, however, as a blood donor it’s completely free to the patient. Blood that is donated is checked for several health factors to make sure it can be used for donation. Some of the factors that are checked include HIV, syphilis and hepatitis. If blood contains a health factor that would not allow it to be donated, it is discarded and the patient is notified of the issue.
  5. There are some fun benefits of donating blood that you might not have known about, like getting some free stuff! During donation, donors are given free snacks, juice, and soda. Sometimes there is even free swag such as free t-shirts, stickers and promotional items. Blood donors also get an awesome colored wrap of their choice to go around the arm that blood was taken from.
  6. Replenishing blood can be good for the body. Donation allows for the replenishment of the donor’s blood supply, which helps the donor’s body stay healthy, function more efficiently, and work productively.
  7. Donating blood is the fastest way to lose a pound of weight.
  8. Blood donors get to relax for an hour or so and lay back in a chair. It has to be one of the easiest ways to give something back to your community and potentially help other people. Speaking of which, it feels great to donate blood knowing that with one blood donation you could help three people and could even be helping yourself if you are ever in need of blood. Plus, you can score points with co-workers, friends and family and make them be nice to you for the day, because your sticker says they have to be!

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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