1 John 1:7b “…and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin.”
When I think back to my past involvement with non-profit organizations, there were many. I was a member of the medical crew for the Susan Komen Foundation 3-day walk; worked as a volunteer with Kiwanis international, and of course, serving in our church. What I had the most involvement with, however, were the blood banks. Back in Chiropractic school in Chicago, I was president of the academic fraternity, delta delta pi, and I organized a couple school-wide blood donations with the local blood center. After arriving in Texas, I organized another blood donation event with the local Scott & White hospital, and many bags of precious blood were collected. It is a wonderful feeling to know that my efforts will be helpful to someone’s health or even be life saving.
While it is obvious that the blood of Jesus is the most precious and effective, cleansing us from every sin, it is also undeniable that the blood in us is essential. Without a healthy circulation and transport of vital oxygen and nutrients, and removal of wastes, we die!
There are many benefits of blood donation. Reduced red blood cells after donation stimulate the bone marrow to produce new blood cells. Therefore, you will be getting fresh, new blood of better quality. You also get screened for diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, and your hemoglobin level will be checked for anemia. Of course, helping others is mood enhancing and can add years to your life. There are free cookies and orange juice too, but we shouldn’t talk about that in a nutrition column.
A great topic for this month, since we are talking about blood, is anemia. Anemia is characterized by insufficient red blood cells (quantity), unhealthy red blood cells (quality), or both. There are many types of anemia, from iron-deficiency anemia (iron is an essential part of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying molecule in red blood cells), megaloblastic anemia (change in blood cell size due to lack of Vitamin B12), pernicious anemia (the stomach cannot effectively absorb B12), anemia due to secondary factors (ulcer, menses, pregnancy, hypothyroidism), and hereditary anemia (red blood cells are malformed and dysfunctional, ie. Thalassemia, sickle cell anemia). A simple blood test can often differentiate the different types of anemia.
In terms of iron-deficient anemia, the most common type, an iron supplement is usually recommended. I would caution about this simplistic approach. The best iron supplement, once again, comes from your food. Iron in food rarely exists by itself. In fact, iron is usually paired with copper, and long-term intake of iron by itself can cause imbalance in copper, which serve many functions, including red blood cell production and assisting iron absorption! Therefore, the best strategy is to consume mineral-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, and taking multi-mineral supplements that include iron and copper.
Another very beneficial nutritional support for people with low red blood cell count is sesame seed oil. Sesame seed oil can stimulate bone marrow activity, inducing more blood cell production. Since bone marrow produces all three types of blood cells (red, white, and platelet), sesame seed oil serves as an immune booster as well.
Finally, I want to mention Chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the energy producing part for the plant (photosynthesis), and also what makes the plant green. It can also be considered as the “blood” of plants, because its molecular structure is very similar to hemoglobin. Taking this blood of plants helps improve the quality of our own blood. Also, as a bonus, chlorophyll is effective in repairing and improving the gut lining.
Hope these tips can help in your quest to protect and improve your own precious blood. And if you don’t have anemia, please don’t wait and call the local blood center today.