You’d be surprised to know that saving lives can be as easy as donating blood. It’s a painless, healthy, and selfless act that doesn’t only help others in need but also brings multiple benefits to your health.
We suppose that if you’re here, you might be considering donating your blood. So in this article, we will help you know the dos and don’ts of donating blood, how it can help improve your overall health, and what to eat before donating blood.
So let’s get started!
Why Is Donating Blood Considered Healthy?
Multiple reasons can deem donating blood a healthy habit that everyone should adopt (if they fit the eligibility criteria).
Donating blood reduces the overall blood in our body, stimulating the bone marrow to replenish these levels as quickly as possible. The new cells generate a new life to your blood as it cleanses it from toxins, impurities and extra blood that wasn’t needed by your body.
Adopting this act of donating blood as a habit can prove to be beneficial in the following ways:
- Reduces the chance of a heart attack
- Keeps your liver healthy
- Improves your mental state
- Prevents against the development of cancer
- Proves to be helpful in weight loss
Everyone is not fit to donate blood. However, if you meet the following requirements, you are all set:
- If you’re not pregnant
- If you’re at least 17 years old
- If you’re feeling well and are in a good state of health
- If you weigh at least 50 kilograms (110 pounds)
Even if you fulfil the requirements discussed above, it is still advised to pass the physical test and have a clean history.
What to Consume Before Donating Blood?
It would be best if you consider eating certain items before donating your blood. Some of them include:
About 70% of our iron is found in the red blood cells in the form of haemoglobin. So what haemoglobin actually does is carry oxygen to all the cells, tissues, and organs of our body. Therefore, it only makes sense that if you’re taking away iron from your body, you must do something to replenish its levels. If you fail to do so, you will have high chances of having iron deficiency, known as anaemia.
Here are a few iron-rich items that you can include in your diet a few days before donating blood:
- Chicken Liver
The body readily absorbs iron available in these food sources. However, another type of iron known as the non-heme is also available, which you can consume some days before donating blood. It includes:
- Whole wheat bread
- Sweet potatoes
- String beans
It would be wise to keep yourself hydrated before donating blood. If you are dehydrated when donating your blood, the chances are that you can experience significant side effects afterwards. Hence, you should drink a couple of glasses before donating blood to help you feel less dizzy.
You would want to include some Vitamin C in your diet for one primary reason:
Non-heme iron, usually made available through plant sources, is not readily absorbed by the body. Instead, it needs a medium to enter our tissues and cells – and that is where Vitamin C comes into play.
There are numerous fruits that can be a good source of Vitamin C. Some of them include:
What Should You Avoid Before Donating Blood?
There are some foods and drinks that you should totally avoid eating before donating blood.
If you’re someone who likes having their cup of coffee every single morning, or you can’t seem to function without consuming tea. In that case, this is going to be a challenging one for you.
Items such as coffee, tea, and those that are high in caffeine tend to decrease the absorption of iron in your body. So for that reason, you should skip your morning coffee or tea before donating your blood.
Drinking alcohol before donating blood is a terrible idea!
That is because alcohol is known to dehydrate your body, and the act of donating blood also takes away a chunk of your body’s water content. So if you’re going to reinforce the alcohol’s dehydrating effect over the latter, you will fall victim to severe lightheadedness and dizziness. Therefore, it would be best to avoid consuming alcohol at all costs.
Foods High In Fats
If you are thinking of having a burger, pizza, or any other fast food before donating your blood, then you should stop thinking about it right now!
Why? Because before you donate your blood, it will be screened for infectious agents. The presence of fat in your bloodstream will directly affect the reliability of the test. Hence, it would be wise to avoid these as well.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Donating Blood?
Well, if you eat healthy on the day of your donation and drink lots of fluids, you should have no side effects. However, some mild adverse effects can be seen after donating your blood. These include:
- Arm pain
- Experiencing nausea after eating or drinking anything
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Developing a bump at the injection area
P.S: These symptoms will go away with enough rest, so there’s no need to worry about these effects.
Donating blood is usually quick and easy. Many people are in constant need of blood because of their health issues or are looking for a suitable blood donor before major surgery – so play your part in the betterment of this society and donate your blood.