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What to Eat Before Donating Blood

Thinking about giving blood? If so, you may be wondering how to prepare. Join Flo for our review of how the right foods can make the experience of donating blood much easier.

Overview: benefits of donating blood

Perhaps the most obvious way in which donated blood is used is for the care of people who have been involved in road traffic accidents or other similar types of events. But there are many other situations in which donated blood is essential to medical care.

It’s common for patients undergoing major surgery to require a blood transfusion during treatment. This is also the case for people who suffer from medical conditions in which blood is lost — for instance, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract.

Some people also require blood transfusion during pregnancy or childbirth.

What to eat before donating blood

Water

First things first: don’t forget to drink enough water before you donate blood! A large proportion of blood is water, so it’s important to make sure that you’re well-hydrated before the procedure.

If you don’t drink extra water beforehand, you may find that you feel a little dizzy afterward. This can easily be avoided by simply drinking a couple of glasses of water before you donate.

Iron

When you’re preparing to donate blood, one of the most important things to keep in mind is how much iron you’re getting in your diet. That’s because iron is an important element in hemoglobin, the part of blood that carries oxygen to your tissues.

When you’re preparing to donate blood, one of the most important things to keep in mind is how much iron you’re getting in your diet.

If your usual diet includes a lot of iron-rich foods, then you’ll be able to compensate for the iron you lose when you donate blood. Otherwise, you may be at risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia. This disorder results from a lack of iron in the bloodstream and can cause fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and a number of other symptoms.

There are lots of ways to increase your iron intake in preparation for blood donation. Consider adding more of the following foods to your diet:

  • Meat and poultry, such as beef and chicken
  • Shellfish and fish, such as haddock and tuna
  • Eggs
  • Vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli
  • Bread and cereals, including pasta and oats
  • Fruit, including dried fruits like dates and figs
  • Beans

Vitamin C

The body absorbs iron from foods like meat, poultry, and fish, but increasing the amount of vitamin C in your diet will help your body use the iron found in other types of food.

These fruits are high in vitamin C:

  • Citrus fruits (such as oranges)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Watermelon
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry
  • Blueberry

Now you know what to eat and drink before donating blood. But there are some foods and drinks you should try to avoid.

Try to keep the following in mind:

Alcohol

Among other effects that alcohol can have on your blood, alcoholic drinks tend to dehydrate the body. Medical experts, therefore, suggest avoiding such beverages for at least 24 hours before donating blood.

Although caffeinated drinks don’t have the same impact upon hydration, many people also reduce the amount of tea and coffee as these beverages decrease the ability to absorb iron. 

High-fat foods

Before donating blood, you’ll be tested for a number of infectious diseases to safeguard against these conditions being transmitted to other people during a transfusion.

The reliability of these tests can be affected by the presence of fat in the bloodstream, so be careful to avoid fast food before you visit the clinic.

Aspirin

If you’re only donating the platelets from your blood, you must avoid consuming aspirin for at least two days beforehand.

The process of donating blood takes no more than 10 minutes. When it’s over, you’ll have given one unit of blood — which is equivalent to around a pint.

Don’t be surprised if you feel a little lightheaded or dizzy after you’ve donated blood. This is completely normal and should lessen over the next few hours.

Just to be safe, you’ll probably be asked to sit in a waiting area for around 15 minutes after giving blood. The staff will want to make sure that you’re feeling OK before you leave the clinic.

It’s a good idea to have a sugary drink and a small snack after the donation. This will boost your blood sugar and also compensate for your fluid loss.

They will also give you a sugary drink and a small snack after the donation. This will boost your blood sugar and also compensate for your fluid loss.

As your body recovers over the following 24 hours, you should continue to drink water and other non-alcoholic drinks to help with dehydration.

For most people, donating blood is a safe and straightforward process from which they quickly recover.

If you’re interested in donating blood regularly, talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional about taking iron supplements. They can help you cope with the loss of iron.

In fact, many people donate blood frequently. If you’re interested in making regular blood donations, talk to your doctor or other healthcare professional about taking iron supplements. This will help your body to cope with the loss of iron that occurs on each occasion.

Be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing on the day of your donation. You may find it helpful to wear a sleeveless shirt or one that allows you to easily roll up the sleeves.

https://www.blood.co.uk/the-donation-process/preparing-to-give-blood/

https://www.redcrossblood.org/faq.html

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