Rachael's First Blood Drive + 7 Feel-Good Tips From Dr. Travis Stork

by Cindy Augustine 4:40 PM, February 6, 2017

Aired February 7, 2017

We’re spreading the love for American Heart Month with great advice from Dr. Travis Stork, MD, host of the award-winning show “The Doctors.”

Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs a blood transfusion, he says. And in the winter, many blood drives get canceled, he explains, so it’s extra important to donate in the colder months. Today, Rachael is having her first annual blood drive by arranging for the American Red Cross to set up their donation mobile right outside the studio for those in the NYC area who can donate! Or you can find a local blood drive through the American Red Cross.

Plus, here are Dr. Stork’s super easy winter- and heart-health tips to follow:

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Stay hydrated: “Think of your heart and your cardiovascular system as your plumbing,” he says, so drink up.

Know your numbers: Get your blood tested, Dr. Stork advises. This way you’ll know all your levels for cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose.

Use a nasal saline spray: It keeps the nasal passages moist, washes away allergens and prevents germs from lingering. “I carry nasal saline everywhere I go,” he says.

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Eat more legumes and nuts: Not only do nuts and beans provide protein, they give us fiber as well, which is great for the gut. They’re affordable and portable — even a handful of almonds a day (about 1 ounce) provides 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, says Dr. Stork.

Use an exercise band: If you find yourself traveling or away from a gym, try a resistance band. It’s simple to use for stretching in pretty much every environment. –Plus, it’s wallet-friendly, too.

Get a dog: Having a pet can lower blood pressure, and kids who grow up in homes with dogs typically have lower rates of asthma, allergies and eczema than kids without canine friends, explains Dr. Stork.

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Try healthy drinks: Dr. Stork introduced Rachael to the gut-healthy probiotic drinks kombucha and kefir. Give them a taste!

Here is some helpful information if you are considering donating:

* Wonder if you are eligible to donate? Check out the Red Cross blood donation eligibility page.
* Know you definitely want to donate? Fill out a RapidPass on your computer that morning, print and bring with you to speed up your donation appointment. This will save you about 20 minutes and help us get more people in!
* What should you eat and drink before you donate? Review tips for a successful donation!
* A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.