6 Foods You Should Eat Before Donating Blood (2023)

As an able-bodied, healthy person, I believe it’s my duty to give back to those in need. Donating blood is a great way to do that. I’ve donated eight units of blood and have planned two blood drives in my hometown with the American Red Cross. I'm proud to be a regular blood donor.

I’ve learned that it’s important to nourish my body between each donation. Here are six different foods you can eat to boost your health as a blood donor.

1. Sports Drinks

A photo posted by Gatorade (@gatorade) on

(Video) How to Eat After Giving Blood

At a blood drive last year, something weird happened to me. The nursestuck the needle into my arm just perfectly, and nothing happened. My vein had collapsed, blocking the blood flow. Because of that, I wasn't able to donate that day.

She suggested that I start drinking Powerade or Gatorade at least 48 hours before donating blood, as the salt in those drinks can help expand small veins like mine.One thing to avoid before donating: caffeine. It has the opposite effect on your veins, making them smaller.

2. Beef

6 Foods You Should Eat Before Donating Blood (1)

It's so important that donors are aware of their iron intake before donating blood since it is the key component in hemoglobin. Your blood's hemoglobin level is tested before every donation. If it's too low, you won't be able to donate that day.

Most sources of protein, especially meats, contain an ample amount of iron.One 3 oz. serving of beef contains 2.1 milligrams of heme iron, which is very easy for the body to absorb.

(Video) BioLife Plasma Services — Healthy Eating

3. Chickpeas

6 Foods You Should Eat Before Donating Blood (2)

Chickpeas are a great plant-based source of iron. Not only are they rich in iron, but they're also a great source of fiber and other minerals.Chickpeas are often enjoyed as the main ingredient in hummus. Lots of tasty varieties can be found in stores, or you can make your own!.

4. Bell Peppers

6 Foods You Should Eat Before Donating Blood (3)

Here's another reason to eat the rainbow: vitamin C is important for non-heme (plant-based) iron absorption. Eating bell peppers can help you reach your daily vitamin C value. They're great on their own, but you can also combine them with beef for a delicious, blood-benefiting meal.

5. Oreos

6 Foods You Should Eat Before Donating Blood (4)

You’re probably thinking, “Cookies aren’t healthy. What are you talking about?” Oreos happen to have a surprising amount of iron. Four cookies contain 10% of the suggesteddaily value(please don't eat forty Oreos a day though).

(Video) Donating Blood to Reduce Blood Viscosity, Iron Overload & Cardiometabolic Disease Risk (new science)

Treat yourself to a fun Oreo shakeafter your donation because, you know, you helped saved lives. You're a hero.

6. Multivitamins

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(Video) What to Eat After You Lose Blood|6 Foods to Eat After You Lose Blood

Okay, so this isn’t technically a food, but a good multivitamin can round out your diet. In fact, the American Red Cross says that all frequent blood donorsshould take a daily multivitamin to help replenish the nutrients they lose while donating blood.

There are plenty of options out there, so you can choose to take solid pillsor gummies. However, a daily vitamin won't replace a healthy diet.

In order to help others in medical need, it's important that us donors mind what we eat (for our benefit too). Hopefully these tips will help you stay on top of your donor game because, as I've said, you save lives. You rock.

Make sure you schedule your next blood donation to continue helping others, and remember to take your vitamins (I forget sometimes too).

(Video) Donating Plasma and Diet - What Should You Eat Before and After Donating Plasma?

6 Foods You Should Eat Before Donating Blood (5)


What is the best food to eat before donating blood? ›

Have iron-rich foods, such as red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, iron-fortified cereals or raisins.

Why do you eat salt before donating blood? ›

When you donate, your blood volume goes down a little, so it's important to be well hydrated before donating and ensure you rehydrate afterwards. By eating salty snacks, you can increase your salt intake and help restore your blood volume faster.

What foods increase hemoglobin before donating blood? ›

By eating iron-rich foods, you can promote blood regeneration and increase the amount of iron in your body.
What can I do to improve my hemoglobin levels prior to donation?
  1. Chard.
  2. Dates.
  3. Eggs.
  4. Lean beef and pork.
  5. Raisins.
  6. Shrimp.
  7. Spinach.
  8. Whole grain breads.
Jan 14, 2015

What fruit to eat before donating blood? ›

In contrast, vitamin C helps your body absorb more iron which will help your body replenish itself and avoid iron deficiency. Reach for citrus fruits, pineapple, mango or brussel sprouts. Low fat foods. Fatty foods increase the amount of lipids in your blood.

Are bananas good to eat before donating blood? ›

On the eve and on the day of blood donation, it is forbidden to have fatty, fried, spicy and smoked foods, sausages, as well as meat, fish and dairy products, eggs and butter (including vegetable), chocolate, nuts and dates, avocados, beets, bananas.

Should I eat peanut butter before donating blood? ›

Foods with iron in it

Consumption of foods enriched in iron can give you enough iron to maintain the number of red blood cells. Foods like spinach, fish, red meat, poultry, raisins and beans etc. are high in iron. Apart from these, nuts and peanut butter also contain it.

Is Gatorade good to drink before giving blood? ›

She suggested that I start drinking Powerade or Gatorade at least 48 hours before donating blood, as the salt in those drinks can help expand small veins like mine. One thing to avoid before donating: caffeine. It has the opposite effect on your veins, making them smaller.

Which drink increases hemoglobin? ›

7 Iron Rich Drinks to Boost Your Hemoglobin
  • Prune Juice. Dried plums, also known as prunes, are a rich source of plant-based iron. ...
  • Beetroot Juice. ...
  • Pea Protein Shakes. ...
  • Spinach, Cashew, Coconut and Raspberry Smoothie. ...
  • Pumpkin Juice. ...
  • Mulberry Smoothie. ...
  • Flaxseed and Sesame Smoothie. ...
  • Beet and Orange Smoothie.
Feb 3, 2023

What raises hemoglobin quickly? ›

Eat Foods Rich in Iron and Folates

One way of coping with anemia is to increase your iron intake. You can do this by eating foods rich in iron. These include spinach, liver and organ meat, cabbage, green beans, and tofu. Folate is a vitamin that your body uses to create haem and is present in spinach, rice, and meat.

How can I get my iron up tomorrow? ›

You can increase the amount of iron in your body by eating foods high in Vitamin C as well as ones rich in iron.
Foods to focus on are:
  1. Beet greens.
  2. Chard.
  3. Chicken.
  4. Clams.
  5. Dates.
  6. Dried apricots and peaches.
  7. Dried beans or peas.
  8. Dried prunes or prune juice.

What juice is best before donating blood? ›

According to studies, having orange juice with food greatly helps your body better absorb what is known as nonheme iron, the type of iron found in foods other than red meat, fish or poultry. Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) reacts with that nonheme iron and helps it get into your system.

Is yogurt good to eat before donating blood? ›

Eat a protein and iron-rich meal no more than a few hours before your donation. You do not want an empty stomach! Protein-rich foods include but are not limited to: Yogurt.

What not to eat after donating blood? ›

Avoid fatty foods – burgers, ice cream, fries and even 'good fat' foods like avocados. Your sample will be tested for infectious diseases (HIV and hepatitis C). High fat foods affects test results for a couple of hours after the intake.

How do you replenish after a blood draw? ›

In the hours after you give blood, make sure to:
  1. Drink plenty of fluids to help replace the lost fluid. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  2. Limit your physical activity for several hours.

Can I have avocado before blood donation? ›

Since you're supposed to avoid fatty foods before you donate, be sure to go ham on some avocados afterwards. On top of being delicious, they're packed full of omega-3's. Score! Whether you smash it on top of a piece of toast or turn it into guac, there's really no way to go wrong here.

What is the best thing to eat after a blood draw? ›

The best foods to eat are those that are rich in iron, including fortified cereals and leafy vegetables like spinach. Meat that includes iron includes fish, eggs, and poultry. Vitamin C improves your body's ability to absorb iron, so citrus or bell peppers also make good complimentary snacks.

What should I eat for breakfast before donating platelets? ›

You should eat a regular meal and drink plenty of fluids one to two hours before donating platelets. We also suggest that you increase your consumption of calcium-rich foods (such as dairy products) or take a calcium supplement the evening before your donation and also the morning of your donation.

Is chicken good to eat before donating blood? ›

Two days before the donor donation, it is recommended to consume: cereals and pasta cooked in water. boiled lean meat (chicken, turkey) and lean fish.

Why eat a low fat meal before donating blood? ›

Food to avoid before donating blood

Some foods can decrease iron in your body. Don't eat fatty, fried or greasy food. Food that's too high in fat, cholesterol or sugar can slow digestion. It can also make you feel sluggish after donating.

Why drink a lot of water before donating blood? ›

If you are more hydrated, your veins will be easier to find and your blood will flow more easily. The American Red Cross suggests drinking an extra 16 ounces of water before and after your donation —even if you don't feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol, soda or drinks with caffeine.

How long before giving blood should I hydrate? ›

In the three hours that lead up to your appointment, you are advised to drink three glasses of water, i.e. 750 ml.

What should you avoid doing before and after donating blood? ›

Avoid doing any vigorous exercise or heavy lifting the day of your donation – both before and after you've donated. Keeping your body in a rested state is important to give it a chance to replenish the fluids lost during donation, which will help you avoid feeling dizzy or lightheaded and keep you well.

Can I eat eggs before donating plasma? ›

7 Iron-Rich Foods To Eat Before Donating Plasma

Red meat: beef, lamb, pork, and veal. Poultry: chicken and turkey. Seafood: tuna, haddock, mackerel, shrimp, and clams. Eggs.

What should I eat the night before donating plasma? ›

Iron-Rich Foods

For your pre-appointment meal, choose proteins with plenty of heme iron, which is a type of iron present in animal sources and your body can absorb it more easily. Lean red meat, poultry, and seafood are good choices.

What are the best fluids after blood donation? ›

Donating blood removes fluids from the body. A person can help restore them by drinking water, broth, or herbal tea. The American Red Cross recommend drinking an extra 4 glasses, or 32 ounces, of liquid in the first 24 hours after donating blood.

Which fruit has highest hemoglobin? ›

Rely on Fruits: Apricots, apples, grapes, bananas, pomegranates and watermelons play a very important role in improving hemoglobin count. Apples are a delicious and suitable option when it comes to Increasing hemoglobin levels as they're one of the most iron-rich fruits out there.

What fruit is highest in iron? ›

Prune juice, olives and mulberries are the three types of fruit with the highest iron concentration per portion. These fruit also contain antioxidants and a variety of other nutrients beneficial to health.

How can I increase my hemoglobin overnight? ›

Iron works to boost the production of hemoglobin, which also helps to form more red blood cells.
Iron-rich foods include:
  1. meat and fish.
  2. soy products, including tofu and edamame.
  3. eggs.
  4. dried fruits, such as dates and figs.
  5. broccoli.
  6. green leafy vegetables, such as kale and spinach.
  7. green beans.
  8. nuts and seeds.

Can I increase hemoglobin in 1 week? ›

Depending on the underlying cause and the changes you make, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to almost a year to raise your hemoglobin count. Speak with a doctor, as you may need additional treatment, such as an iron transfusion, especially if you're pregnant or have a chronic health condition.

Can we increase hemoglobin in one day? ›

Nettle is a herb that is a great source of vitamins B and C along with iron, all of which play a key role in raising hemoglobin levels. Add about two teaspoons of dried nettle leaves to a cup of hot water and allow it to steep for about 10 minutes. Strain and add a dash of honey. Drink this twice daily.

What foods are iron blockers? ›

The following foods can interfere with iron absorption:
  • tea and coffee.
  • milk and some dairy products.
  • foods that contain tannins, such as grapes, corn, and sorghum.
  • foods that contain phytates or phytic acid, such as brown rice and whole-grain wheat products.

What drinks are high in iron? ›

Iron-rich drinks include apple juice, apricot nectar, beef broth, beet juice, cocoa using natural cocoa powder, “green” smoothies, orange juice, pea protein smoothies, prune juice, tomato juice, and spinach juice.

What food is highest in iron? ›

Meat and Eggs
  • Beef.
  • Lamb.
  • Ham.
  • Turkey.
  • Chicken.
  • Veal.
  • Pork.
  • Dried beef.

Is peanut butter high in iron? ›

The amount of iron in peanut butter varies between brands, but usually contains about 0.56 mg of iron per tablespoon. For extra iron, make a sandwich using a slice of whole wheat bread that can provide around 1 mg of iron.

Why drink OJ after giving blood? ›

“There's a reason why they offer some juice and cookies after the donation. Please have them," says Dr Chaturvedi. “It is important to hydrate and refuel a bit with a high sugar snack before you rush off." The juice, water or oral rehydration solutions help replace the loss of fluid due to blood donation.

Does giving blood detox your body? ›

The body can detoxify itself naturally (e.g., with help from your liver), but giving blood may help your body's detoxing potential. For example, blood (and plasma) donations have been shown to have an effect on the levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).

What should you not do before giving blood? ›

Five Things NOT To Do Before Giving Blood
  1. Don't eat immediately before donating. ...
  2. Don't give blood if you feel sick. ...
  3. Don't worry about drinking coffee, tea or any other caffeinated beverages before donating. ...
  4. Don't smoke or drink alcoholic beverages before donating. ...
  5. Don't stay up too late the night before.
Dec 7, 2021

What not to do before blood donation? ›

Before blood donation

*Make sure you're drinking enough water before donating blood. *Make sure you haven't had a cold or flu in at least 72 hours. *Don't smoke for at least two hours prior to donating blood. *Don't consume alcohol a day before blood donation.

Is it good to eat before donating blood? ›

Eat. Eating regularly before donating will help to keep your blood sugar levels stable. This is important so that you don't feel lightheaded or dizzy after your donation. Having a snack before you donate can help maintain these blood sugar levels.

Should I drink Gatorade before donating blood? ›

Drink at least 12-to-24 ounces of water or a sports drink 30-to-60 minutes before your donation. The primary reason for hydration is that we're collecting plasma and plasma is 90% water.

What excludes you from donating blood? ›

Key takeaways: To donate blood, you should be in good health, at least 17 years old, and not have an active blood infection. You will be asked questions about your health and travel history before you donate blood. Your blood will also be tested to make sure it's safe for donation.

What is the best time to donate blood? ›

Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks, as these will cause your body to expel water. 2) Eat three hours prior to the donation. It's not a good idea to come with an empty stomach. Eating will keep your blood sugar levels stable, helping you to feel better after you have donated blood.

Can you eat eggs before donating blood? ›

7 Iron-Rich Foods To Eat Before Donating Plasma

Red meat: beef, lamb, pork, and veal. Poultry: chicken and turkey. Seafood: tuna, haddock, mackerel, shrimp, and clams. Eggs.

Which juice is good after blood donation? ›

According to studies, having orange juice with food greatly helps your body better absorb what is known as nonheme iron, the type of iron found in foods other than red meat, fish or poultry. Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) reacts with that nonheme iron and helps it get into your system.

What is the best breakfast to eat before donating blood? ›

Eat Protein and Iron-Rich Food – Eat protein-rich, iron-rich meals at least 3 hours before donating plasma.
  • Meat (Beef, Chicken, Eggs, Shrimp, Turkey, Ham)
  • Dairy (Milk, Cheese, Yogurt)
  • Beans, Nuts, Seeds.
  • Vegetables (Broccoli, Collard Greens)
  • Fruits (Watermelon, Raisins)
  • Cereals (iron-enriched)

Do you lose weight when you donate blood? ›

No, blood donation won't become a weight loss fad any time soon. However, researchers at the University of California, San Diego have found that you can lose up to 650 calories per pint of blood donated. That's not a bad deal for kicking back and doing a good deed.


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