- Diet & Weight Loss
What Should I Eat and Drink Before Donating Blood
Donating or giving blood is a wonderful thing to do. It saves lives and helps people who need transfusions due to surgery, accident, and other tragic events. You can donate blood once every two months and it can make a huge difference in some one's life.
While it isn't necessary to eat or drink different things, it can be helpful to do so. With the right foods and drinks you can find that you will be more likely to be able to donate, your donation will go quicker, and you are more likely to feel better afterward.
Making Sure You Can Donate
There are two major reasons your diet can effect your ability to donate. The biggest one is your iron levels. The most common reason people who wish to donate are turned away is because they are low on iron. Eating iron rich foods the day (or even two or three days) before you donate blood can make sure that your iron levels are sufficient for donation. Some good iron rich foods include:
- Bread, Muffins, and Cereal.
- Organ Meats, Shellfish, Red Meats, Fish, and Poultry.
- Seeds and Nuts, Beans, and Eggs.
- Watermelon, Strawberries, and Bananas.
- Raisins, Dates, Prunes, Figs, and Dried Apricots.
- Prune Juice, Tomato Juice, and Apple Juice.
- Dark Leafy Greens.
- Pizza (cheese or pepperoni), Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers, Beef or Bean Burritos or Tacos.
Another reason you might not be able to donate blood is that the lipids (fats) in your blood are too high. A low-fat diet the day before and the day of your donation will make it easier for you to have the correct number of lipids in your blood. Your diet doesn't have to be perfect, but it should contain fats only in moderation.
Making Sure Your Donation Goes Quickly
Donation isn't hard to do, but it will go quicker if you have a lot of fluids in your system. You will be more hydrated, your veins will be easier to find, and your blood will flow better. You should drink a lot of water and other fluids. You shouldn't drink alcohol, soda, or a lot of caffeine. On the other hand, several people who donate regularly say that drinking lots of grape juice helps make it move the fastest. Having a fair amount of sugar in your blood will also make it easier for your blood sugar to stay level during and after donation.
Feeling Good After Donation
The average adult has 10-12 pints of blood. You will be giving 1 pint during your donation. 1/10-1/12 of your blood supply will be drained out. This is quite a bit. For some they don't even notice. Others get dizzy and feel tired afterwards. Eatting well before you go can make it easier for you to be one who feels good after donation.
Make sure you drink lots of fluids the day before as well as the day of your donation. This will make it easier for you to feel fine before you give blood.
It is also important not to skip meals the day you are donating blood. Eat a good breakfast and or lunch before you go and give blood. You can also have a small snack before you go if it has been awhile since you have eaten.
Most of the time, you will be offered cookies, crackers, and juice afterward. Take the at least one thing offered and drink some water before leaving the testing site. This will make it easier for you to feel a little better. If you feel really bad, make sure you tell someone so they can offer advice and check to make sure you are okay.
Giving blood saves lives. Eating well and drinking lots of fluids before hand will make the processes easier for you. All in all, it will take about 30 minutes. It is a good idea to make an appointment ahead of time if you are in a hurry (in case they are busy). Remember, you can give blood every 56 days!