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Best Foods To Eat Before Donating Blood

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Blood donation is a great way to save patients with critical medical conditions. A pint of blood from a healthy person can save up to three lives. Some blood donors feel dizzy or experience fatigue after blood donation. However, such situations can be avoided with proper nutrition as well as precautions taken before donating blood.

Note that you must avoid donating blood in an empty stomach. It’s advisable to consume a nutritious meal around two-three hours before donating blood. Here’s a detailed list of what to eat and what not to before blood donation.

Foods To Eat Before Donating Blood

Consume foods rich in iron

Iron is required for hemoglobin production, which transports oxygen from the lungs to the remaining parts of the body. When you donate blood, there’s a loss of iron along with the blood cells removed from your body. With the drop in iron levels, you are bound to experience fatigue, and you may faint. Hence, iron-rich foods are essential in your diet before blood donation.

Regular blood donors should ensure iron consumption a week or two in advance. The buildup of iron takes its due course. This can be tackled if you consume more food items rich in heme iron.

Note that food items contain two types of iron — heme iron and nonheme iron. Heme iron is better absorbed in the blood compared to nonheme iron. You must:

  • Look for foods rich in heme iron like beef, ham, lamb, pork, veal, and dried beef, chicken, turkey, tuna, shrimp, clams, haddock, mackerel, and eggs.
  • Not leave out on nonheme iron found mainly in vegetables like spinach, string beans, dandelion greens, beet greens, sweet potatoes, broccoli, peas, collards, chard, and kale.
  • Stock on bread, cereals, and tofu, dried peas, lentils, and dried beans.
  • Consume strawberries, dried peaches dried apricots, watermelon, dates, figs, raisins, and prunes as well.
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Have foods rich in Vitamin C

Vitamin C enables the absorption of iron. Fruits such as kiwi, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, papaya, orange, gooseberries, and tomatoes are rich sources of vitamin C. Before donating blood, you can also consume fresh fruit juices.

Stick to a low-fat diet

High-fat food increases lipid content in your blood, which makes it difficult to test the blood for infections. In such a scenario, as a blood donor, you will pose a further risk to the recipient. Ensure you have a low-fat meal before donating blood.

Consume water

Loss of blood lowers the blood pressure causing dizziness and nausea. Hence, at least two hours before blood donation, consume generous amounts of water. It’s important to stay hydrated to avoid the pressure drop.

What not to eat before blood donation?

Consumption of the following foods can hamper blood donation:

  • Alcohol causes dehydration and should not be consumed before 24-hours of blood donation.
  • Do not consume fatty foods such as ice-creams, French fries, and other oily snacks.
  • Red wine, chocolate, coffee, tea, and high-calcium foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt interrupt iron absorption in the blood. Preferably, avoid consumption of these items along with iron-rich foods.
  • Platelets are vital for blood clotting after an injury, and aspirin hampers this function. If you are a platelet donor, you have to be extra careful and avoid aspirin 48 hours before donation.

Make sure you have light refreshments that are provided after blood donation. Drink a lot of water and continue eating iron-rich foods and multi-vitamins. Do not perform any vigorous physical activity for the next 24 hours. There are many health benefits of donating blood

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In conclusion

The diet mentioned above will help avoid the side-effects of blood donation. If you are a regular blood donor, consult your doctor on iron supplements. Ensure proper health measures to prevent any hindrance in the noble cause of blood donation.

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