Blood Donation: Foods to Eat Before and After Donating Blood

Blood Donation Diet-Overview
Blood donation is a life-saving act that helps patients with serious medical conditions maintain healthy blood levels. Blood donors may experience certain side-effects like:
Fatigue or weakness
Light-headedness or dizziness
Iron-deficiency anemia
However, these side-effects mostly seen in regular blood donors can be set right if the right type of foods and drinks are consumed before and after donating blood.

What Foods Should I Eat Before Blood Donation?
Eat Iron Rich Foods

Iron depletion is the well-known side-effect of blood donation. Whenever a person donates blood, iron stores are depleted from the body and anemia develops as the number of blood donations increase.

Iron is required for the production of new blood cells and hemoglobin that carries oxygen to the blood. Therefore, it is important to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet with plenty of iron-rich food sources.

Foods rich in iron include:
Chicken
Turkey
Eggs
Fish and shellfish
Organ meat such as liver
Dark green vegetables- Spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens, beet greens and kale
Fortified breakfast cereal
Lentils and beans

Consume Water-Soluble Vitamins

Among the water-soluble vitamins, vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiencies are common. Such a vitamin deficiency can be prevented among frequent blood donors by regular multi-vitamin supplementation. However, ask your doctor before starting with any supplement.

Besides this, blood donors must consume foods rich in vitamin C, in order to boost the iron absorption.

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking 500 ml of water before blood donation reduces the risk of a drop in the blood pressure, which can otherwise make you feel dizzy. This is because more than half of the blood is water. Make sure you hydrate yourself before donating blood. Avoid drinking alcohol 24 hours before blood donation as it may lead to dehydration.

Eat a Healthy Snack

Eat a healthy and nutritious snack before blood donation. This will help to keep your blood glucose levels stable. Do not eat foods that are high in fat. This will increase the amount of fat in the blood and such a blood sample cannot be tested for the presence of infections. Hence, such blood samples will be rejected.

What Foods to Avoid Before Blood Donation
Iron Blockers:

Certain food substances and nutrients interact with the absorption of iron. Make sure you do not consume such foods with iron-containing foods. Moreover, maintain a gap of 4 hours between iron-rich foods and anti-iron substances. Foods that reduce the absorption of iron in the body are:
Calcium rich foods:
Milk
Curd
Cottage cheese
Tea
Coffee
Chocolate
Red wine
Individuals should maintain a time gap of minimum 4-6 hours between iron supplements and calcium supplements.

Do not Eat or Drink Anti-iron Food or Food Products before Blood Donation
What Foods Should I Eat After Blood Donation?
Stay Hydrated-Drink Water

Keep drinking sufficient amount of water for the next 24 hours after blood donation to replenish your stores. Do not replace water with caffeinated drinks and aerated beverages.

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