Nutrition Tips for Donating Blood

What to eat before and after you donate blood. Nutrition Diva explains

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
December 20, 2013

Blood bank reserves tend to get low around the holidays. People get busy with all the seasonal madness and fewer people are donating. If you have an extra half hour this week, consider stopping by your local Red Cross and give a gift that could save a life. Here are a few tips on what to eat before and after.

  1. Avoid showing up to donate on an empty stomach.  Schedule your donation within two or three hours of a eating a healthy meal. 

  2. If you're dieting, ease up a bit and eat slightly larger portions of protein foods and vegetables the day before your donation.  

  3. Blood is mostly water so be sure to drink plenty of water before and after donating blood to replace those lost fluids.

  4. Eat foods that are high in iron in the days before and after donating blood to help your body make new blood cells.The form of iron in meat, poultry, and fish is the best absorbed. If you're a vegetarian, prunes, prune juice, and blackstrap molasses are all good sources of iron.

  5. Skip the cookies usually offered at blood donation sties and opt instead for a piece of fruit or small cup of yogurt. These are healthier sources of easily digested sugars to keep blood sugar from dipping. Prunes or prune juice are high in iron (see #4 above) and would be a particularly good choice. 

Thank you for your generosity!

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