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7 Iron-Rich Foods to Eat Before You Donate Blood Plasma

September 28, 2021

Plasma donation is a safe process that has long been used to collect blood plasma so that it can be manufactured into life-changing therapies. With that said, just like with whole blood donation, plasma donation can potentially have some unwanted side effects. Thankfully, there are simple things you can do to improve your chances of leaving your plasma donation appointment feeling as good as possible! Nourishing yourself properly is one of those things. 

If you’re relatively new to plasma donation, keep reading to find out about the iron-rich foods that can help optimize your experience!

How to Prepare for Plasma Donation

One of the most important things to do before donating plasma is to eat a healthy meal with protein and iron-rich foods. This meal should ideally be consumed within two hours of your plasma donation appointment. 

Other things you can do to prepare for plasma donation include:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting a good night’s rest 
  • Refraining from smoking tobacco
  • Not consuming alcohol or caffeine
  • Avoiding foods high in fat or cholesterol

Why Iron Levels Are Important for Plasma Donation

Before donors give plasma, they undergo various health screenings to ensure they are fit to donate. One of the things that are measured is hematocrit levels, which is the proportion of red blood cells in your blood. This is an important measurement since some red blood cells are temporarily removed from your body during plasma donation. 

By eating an iron-rich diet, you can help keep your hematocrit within an acceptable range. 

7 Iron-Rich Foods To Eat Before Donating Plasma

Eating proteins rich in heme iron, which is the iron found in animal sources, is an excellent way to increase iron stores in your body before donating plasma. However, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are also great options for non-heme iron from plant sources that can help ensure you have healthy iron levels. 

Foods that are good sources of heme iron include:

  1. Red meat: beef, lamb, pork, and veal. 
  2. Poultry: chicken and turkey. 
  3. Seafood: tuna, haddock, mackerel, shrimp, and clams. 
  4. Eggs.  

Foods that are good sources of non-heme iron include:

  1. Vegetables: spinach, peas, edamame, broccoli, sweet potatoes, collards, chard, and kale. 
  2. Fruit: strawberries, watermelon, figs, dates, prunes, raisins, and dried apricots. 
  3. Grains: oats, wheat products, and iron-fortified pasta, rice, or cereal. 

There you have it – seven iron-rich foods you can consume before donating plasma. By incorporating these foods into your pre-appointment meal, you can help make sure you qualify to donate and have a pleasant donation experience. Book your next appointment today!