World Blood Donor Day: Diet Before And After Donating Blood

Donating blood is a potential life-saving gift that helps trauma-related surgery patients and surgical patients maintain healthy blood levels. After donating blood, you can experience side effects like fatigue, light-headedness, and loss of consciousness after giving blood.

So, on World Blood Donor Day, we will discuss the diet that you should follow before and after donating blood.

best foods to eat after you give blood

It is necessary that you consume the right kind of foods after donating blood that will help replenish the lost iron and vitamin stores.

What Foods To Eat And Drink For Breakfast Before Giving Blood?

If you are donating blood, it is important to stay hydrated before and after you donate blood because half of your blood is made up of water. Iron is also lost when you donate blood and low levels of iron can cause fatigue.

Iron-rich Foods

Food has two types of iron, heme and non-heme iron. The former one is found in meat and fish and this iron is readily absorbed by the body which is around 30 per cent.

Non-heme iron is found in plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, and nuts. This iron isn't completely absorbed by the body which is about 10 per cent.

Before donating blood, consider increasing your intake of iron-rich foods as it will help increase the iron stores in your body and reduce your risk of iron-deficiency anemia.

Some of the foods that you could have for breakfast are iron-fortified cold and hot cereals and top it with raisins for an additional boost of iron.

Other fruits like fresh strawberries, watermelon, and dried apricots will also help in boosting of iron in the morning before donating blood.

Vitamin C-rich Foods

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that will help your body absorb plant-based iron better. Having vitamin C-rich foods for your breakfast, especially before giving blood is a good idea because it will help your body absorb more iron.

Drinking two glasses of orange juice will increase your vitamin C intake. Other citrus fruits like kiwis, berries, melon, grapefruit, and pineapple are also good sources of vitamin C and you can easily incorporate them into your breakfast.

Low-fat Foods

Before giving blood, have a well-balanced, low-fat meal as eating a high-fat meal can interfere with the blood testing process, because too much fat in the blood will make it impossible to adequately test the blood for infections, according to the American Heart Association.

You could have a ½ cup serving of low-fat milk with a bowl of hot or cold cereal. Having a piece of fruit with low-fat yogurt or a slice of whole-wheat bread with jam or honey is also a good low-fat breakfast option.

Plenty Of Fluids

Before donating blood, staying hydrated is important for several hours. Drinking at least 16 ounces of non-alcoholic fluid will do, recommends the American Red Cross. Either have freshly squeezed home-made juice or plain water. Skip tea and coffee as it can interfere with the absorption of iron.

Best Foods To Eat After You Give Blood

Foods Containing Folate

Folate, also known as folic acid, B9, or folacin is used by the body to manufacture new red blood cells. This aids in replacing blood cells lost during donation. Foods that contain folate are dried beans, liver, asparagus, and green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. Orange juice is also a good source of folate.

Foods Rich In Vitamin B6

After you give blood, foods with vitamin B6 will give you a number of health benefits. Your body needs this vitamin to build healthy blood cells and it aids the body in breaking down proteins as proteins contain many of the nutrients you require after donating blood.

Some of the vitamin B6 foods you could eat are potatoes, eggs, spinach, seeds, bananas, red meat, and fish. You could try out this banana and date smoothie for increasing your folate intake!

Foods High In Iron

Iron is required by the body to make healthy red blood cells. Eating foods that contain a good amount of iron after donating blood can give you a good start.

Some of the iron-rich foods you could have after giving blood are spinach, red meat, beans, raisins, nuts, and peanut butter.
Try this spinach, banana, and date smoothie which is good for boosting your iron.

Don't Forget To Drink Plenty Of Fluids After Giving Blood

Eating a meal after donating blood can help regain your energy and stamina. But you shouldn't ignore the importance of fluids along with the foods you eat. Drinking lots of fluids 24 to 48 hours after giving blood is crucial in helping your body to readjust.

What Not To Eat After Donating Blood?

These are some of the foods and drinks that you shouldn't eat after donating blood.

  • Alcohol - It leads to dehydration. Avoid drinking it 24 hours before and after giving blood.
  • Aspirin - If you are donating blood platelets, your body system should be free of aspirin for 48 hours prior to donation.
  • Fatty foods - Foods which contain fat such as ice cream, burgers, and French fries can affect the tests done on the blood.
  • Avoid foods that block iron absorption - The foods and drinks like tea, coffee, milk, cheese, yogurt, red wine, and chocolate should be avoided after donating blood.

Side Effects Of Donating Blood

There are some minor side effects of donating blood like continued bleeding, dizziness, pain, physical weakness, and light-headedness.

What Happens To Your Body When You Donate Blood?

When you give blood, you lose red blood cells and the body needs to produce more to replace them. Special cells in the kidneys sense that the level of oxygen in the blood has decreased and start secreting a protein called erythropoietin. The erythropoietin signals a message to the stem cells telling more of them to develop into red blood cells.

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ALSO READ: World Blood Donor Day 2018: 10 Surprising Health Benefits Of Donating Blood

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    Story first published: Thursday, June 14, 2018, 15:56 [IST]
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