Donating blood is a great way to serve the community. In fact, it is one of the most important types of donation because of which there are very high chances of a person's survival. However, you should know that the donated blood is not used as it is. The donated blood is checked for any diseases, as it increases the risk of transmission through blood to the person that have a possibility of getting transmitted through blood. The compounds are transferred to a patient through a process termed as intravenous blood transfusion. Blood donation is a good deed and process as it can enhance the quality of life for the needful patients, who are suffering from any medical condition which cannot be cured.
An average human body has around 4 to 6 litres of blood present but depending on the gender and built of an individual. Blood donation is one's own personal choice and it should only be done after talking to your doctor. There are some dos and don'ts that should be followed both pre and post donating blood. In addition, there are certain types of foods that should be avoided and others consumed before going for blood donation. With World Blood Donor Day 2021 on June 14, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Anjali Phatak, Director Nutripulse and Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Nutripulse, about such foods.
Foods to eat before blood donation
If you want to donate your blood, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated both before and after donating the blood. This happens because around half of your blood comprises of water. Another diet factor you need to take care about is a good amount of iron intake as an individual has loss of iron after donating blood. Low iron levels can lead to signs of fatigue and headache. According to Dr. Anjali, here are the foods and drinks to eat before donating blood:
1. Iron rich diet
Iron plays a major role in your body and performs several bodily functions. An iron rich diet is essential if you are planning to donate blood. Blood donation causes low iron levels in your body. Thus, one should try and increase the intake of iron rich foods before donating blood. Iron rich foods include pumpkin seeds, peas, meat, chickpeas, spinach, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, whole bread, fish, brown rice and apricots. If you increase the consumption of these foods then there will be less chances of symptoms of fatigue.
2. Vitamin C rich foods
Along with iron rich food items, one should also take care of the vitamin C intake in daily diet. Your plate will be complete if you include Vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, pineapple, lemon, capsicum, green leafy vegetables, tomato and kiwi. Vitamin C plays an vital role in the absorption of iron in the body. So, it is also essential to consume foods that have good amount of vitamin C before donating blood.
Along with drinking water, it is important to increase the intake of homemade fresh fruit or vegetable juices, especially before 48 hours of blood donation. You can use various fruits and vegetables to make tasty juices naturally at home, including watermelon, orange, pineapple, carrots, tomato and spinach. This will help in increasing iron levels, which can get lowered after donating blood, and in keeping your body hydrated. Drinking juices before donating blood will decrease the risk of experiencing any side effects of blood donation.
4. Drink plenty of water
One of the most important thing to remember before blood donation is to drink plenty of fluids. Basically, water helps in controlling the blood pressure levels, which can dip in some people after donating blood. Therefore, it is suggested by experts that a blood donor should be well hydrated before donating blood. One should drink atleast 3 glasses of water, around 2-3 hours before blood donation. Do not go to donate blood if you are not properly hydrated.
Foods to avoid before blood donation
There are many thinks that one should take care of before donating blood. Along with the consumption of some food items, it is also important to avoid certain foods and beverages as they can have a negative effect on your blood. As per Dr. Anjali, here are the foods and drinks to avoid before blood donation:
You must not drink alcohol atleast 24 hours before you are going for blood donation. Donating blood that has traces of alcohol is not even healthy for the person who would be receiving blood. Alcohol also makes you dehydrated, and it is not healthy for the donor to donate blood while he is not feeling well. If you consume alcohol, you must try to flush your system by drinking a few extra litres of water. Drinking enough fluids will also help with dehydration.
2. High fat foods
After the blood donation, a sample is tested for certain infections and diseases before transfusion. If we eat a lot of fatty foods like icecreams, bakery food, bacon etc, excessive fats in the blood can hamper the test results, the blood gets rejected and it cannot be used for transfusion. You can start cutting on these foods at least 3 days prior donating blood.
Certain medications like aspirin should not be consumed at least 48 hours before the blood donation. Aspirin can interfere with the apheresis platelet product i.e the number of platelets obtained from the donor through centrifugation. You must inform the doctor about all the medications you have been taking since a while.
People's choice of smoking does not affect their chances of blood donation but smoking may increase your blood pressure with might disqualify you for donation. You must not smoke on the day of blood donation and atleast for 3 hours after it, because it can make you dizzy.
These were the foods and drinks to eat and avoid before blood donation by Dr. Anjali Phatak. Donating blood has many advantages but it is best to discuss about any side effects of blood donation. If you eat healthy on the day of your donation and drink plenty of extra fluids, you should have minimal or no side effects. And, make sure that you both eat and avoid the above listed foods and drinks.
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