Blood Donation Diet-Overview
- Fatigue or weakness
- Light-headedness or dizziness
- Iron-deficiency anemia
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:
- 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.
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 DonationIron 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:
- Cottage cheese
- Red wine
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.
After blood donation, relax for a few minutes and eat a light snack. This will give you energy and stabilize your blood glucose level. Make sure the snack is nutritious and rich in iron to refill the lost iron stores.
Do not donate blood on an empty stomach. People usually feel weak after donating blood, doing this on an empty stomach will further make you weak.
Eat Foods Rich in Folic Acid or Vitamin B9
It is important to replace blood cells lost during blood donation. Your body needs folic acid to produce new red blood cells. After blood donation, eat foods rich in folic acid, so that your body can produce new blood cells quickly.
Foods rich in folic acid include:
- Dark green vegetables like:
- Collard greens
- Turnip greens
- Brussels sprouts
- Nuts and oilseeds
- Pulses and lentils
- Whole grain cereals
Along with folic acid, riboflavin is also required by the body to produce red blood cells. This B-complex vitamin converts carbohydrates into energy for the body, so eating riboflavin-rich food makes you feel energetic after blood donation. Foods rich in riboflavin include:
- Organ meat, for example- liver
- Nuts and oilseeds
- Milk and yogurt
- Lean meat and poultry
Intake of iron-rich foods is important before and after blood donation.
Quick Tips for Blood Donors
|Foods and liquids to eat before blood donation|
|What to avoid before blood donation|
|What to eat and drink after blood donation|
|What to avoid after blood donation|