Low Iron and Blood Donations

Feb 17, 2016

Category: health

Low Iron and Blood Donations

Low iron is really common and one of the main reasons donors have to reschedule. We know rescheduling can be frustrating, but your health and safety is one of our top priorities. That’s why every donor gets a wellness check before they donate.

Iron is an important part of your overall health. Iron carries oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body and is needed to make new red blood cells to replace the ones you lose by donating.

If you donate when your iron is low, your iron level can drop further which can leave you feeling very tired or faint.  By checking donors iron level, we can determine if donors have the right amount of red blood cells for both themselves and the patients they want to help.

The good news is many people can boost their iron by adding some iron-rich foods into their diet the week before.

Foods to help pump up the iron:

Meat: Shellfish, red meats, pork and poultry

Grains: Dry cereal fortified with iron, English muffin, wheat germ, cooked cereal and tortillas 

Beans: Chickpeas, soy beans, lentils

Vegetables: Dark leafy greens like spinach, collards, kale and peas

Snacks: Pumpkin seeds, nuts,

Fruits: Raisins, dates, prunes, figs, apricots

Fast Foods: Cheese or pepperoni pizza, beef or bean burrito, hamburger or cheeseburger

For more tips on how to boost your iron, check out this video. If you are still having trouble with low iron, talk with your doctor about taking an iron supplement.

Want more tips on how to prepare for a successful blood donation? Check out the blood donor basics page. 

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