The foods a person eats before attempting to donate blood could affect whether or not he or she is allowed to donate. According to the American Red Cross, its staff members routinely check the level of hemoglobin in donors’ blood and platelets before they accept donations.
Hemoglobin is a protein in the body that contains iron and gives blood its distinctive red color. Hemoglobin plays a vital role in human health, carrying oxygen from the lungs to nourish all of the tissues in the body.
Hemoglobin levels are checked using fingersticks, and if hemoglobin levels are low, then donors will be asked to wait to donate until their levels return to normal. So what does food have to do with hemoglobin?
Iron is a part of hemoglobin and found in many of the foods a person eats. Iron helps people maintain their strength and energy, and it’s also necessary to help the body make new blood cells to replace the ones that are lost through blood donations.
The Red Cross encourages prospective donors to eat healthy foods that are rich in iron and high in vitamin C, as doing so can increase their chances of being accepted as blood donors and can aid in their recoveries after donating.