Foods and Drinks to Ingest Following Blood Donation

Donating blood is a noble cause that helps save lives by providing blood for transfusion in needy surgical and trauma cases. Still, in spite of the process being carried out by qualified people, it can lead to such side effects as fatigue, lightheadedness and even fainting. Your dilemma might be, after blood donation what to eat to help your body adapt. In this discussion, we explore the foods and drinks that are ideal to help your body recover healthy fluid and energy levels as soon as possible.

What to Eat After Blood Donation

Iron-Rich Foods

Iron is one of the components of your blood. It is responsible for transportation of oxygen throughout the body as an ingredient of hemoglobin which makes your blood red. Once you donate blood, your body will need to make more blood cells to replace those that you donated. To do this, you need to eat foods rich in iron like beans, spinach, raisins, nuts, red meat, poultry and fish. You can also get iron from iron-fortified foods like cereals. Make sure to confirm this by reading the label. Note that you also need to consume foods containing vitamin C such as citrus fruits to aid in the absorption of iron from plant sources.

Foods Containing Folate

Folate, also called vitamin B9, folacin or folic acid is another ingredient necessary in the production of additional red blood cells. You can get folate from foods like the liver, green vegetables like kale, collard greens and spinach, asparagus, dried beans and orange juice. You may also get folic acid from fortified cereals, breads and rice.

Foods with Riboflavin

Your body also needs vitamin B2 (roboflavin) to make red blood cells. Vitamin B2 helps in metabolizing carbohydrate into energy that your body needs to perform mental and physical activities. If you are wondering after blood donation what to eat to get riboflavin, you can get it from the same foods that contain iron and folate such as nuts, peas, eggs, asparagus, green vegetables and also cereals fortified with vitamins. Additionally, you can get vitamin B2 from dairy products including yogurt and milk.

Vitamin B6 Foods

After donating blood, you need to eat foods containing vitamin B6 to produce proteins and produce healthy blood cells. Vitamin B6 foods include nuts, seeds, spinach, bananas, potatoes, eggs, fish and red meat.

Don’t Forget Fluids

It is important that you know after blood donation what to eat; you should also drink lots of fluids especially through the next 24-48 hours. This will help your body recover and start producing blood cells. Experts recommend that you take about 4 more cups of fluids and avoid alcohol after giving blood.

General Care Tips After Blood Donation

Note that following blood donation, the body is equipped to replenish its healthy blood level. However, there are things you can do to help:

  • Retain the pressure on the needle site for around 30 minutes following blood donation and keep the protective plaster on for about 6 hours.
  • Once you are through donating blood, relax for a few minutes to let your body adjust.
  • Take a bite and a drink – after blood donation what to eat and drink include a snack and one or two drinks before leaving the venue.
  • Try to keep the arm used during blood donation from carrying heavy objects for a day.
  • Do not take a hot bath soon after giving blood.
  • Avoid strenuous activities such as jogging, riding or gym workouts.
  • Avoid standing on queues or on public transport for long periods.
  • Avoid places and activities with excess heat such as direct sun, hot drinks and hot showers.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol for 8 hours or more after blood donation.
  • In case you experience dizziness, trembling or feel faint or nauseous, lie down and take lots of fluids until you feel better.
  • In case you notice bleeding when you remove the plaster, apply pressure on the needle site and put the arm up until bleeding stops.
  • In case you notice bleeding or bruising around the site, place a cold pack on the site occasionally for a period of 24 hours.
  • Should your arm become sore, take a painkiller like acetaminophen. But don’t take ibuprofen or aspirin for at least 1-2 days after blood donation. 

You should also contact the center in case you:

  • Experience nausea or feel dizzy even after eating, drinking and resting.
  • Have a bump, pain or continued bleeding on the needle site after removing the plaster.
  • Experience a tingling feeling down the arm to the fingers.
  • Get flu or cold symptoms like headaches, sore throat and fever within the first four days following blood donation. Note donated blood can transmit bacterial infections to a blood recipient, hence the need to inform the blood donor center.