Donating blood is a very important altruistic gesture that helps save many lives because blood, today, cannot be manufactured or produced through any industrial process. Thus, it only remains to use the person's own blood or that of the donors to use it when the patients need it. Fortunately, Spain is a supportive country and blood donations are usually enough to cover the demand itself, despite the fact that not everyone can be a donor. In addition, although donating blood is very easy, donors have to take care of themselves before and after the donation, being especially important what they eat so that the body does not suffer from that small amount of donated blood.
Why it is important what you eat before and after donating blood
Although the amount that is extracted when donating blood is not high and the body can function perfectly, it is important to take care of yourself after the donation and, above all, monitor your diet so that the body does not suffer and can restore its normal levels more easily.
And it is that, for example, it takes about 24 hours for the plasma to return to its normal levels. Later is the recovery of red blood cells, since the average time ranges between three and five weeks.
After donating blood , the body also needs to restore its iron levels. Here the recovery time is even longer, estimating that it takes an average of eight weeks to be at its normal level.
Likewise, it is convenient to know when we should not donate blood and we also recommend that you consult the Requirements to donate blood .
What to eat and what not to eat before donating blood
Taking into account the time it takes for the body to recover after donating blood, as we have commented in the previous section, it is essential to take care of the diet not only after the donation, but also beforehand to go with a good base and that the recovery occurs normally.
The first thing to keep in mind is that on the day of the donation it is convenient to have breakfast . Many people go on an empty stomach, like when they go for some types of blood tests, and it's a mistake. You can eat something, as long as it is a light and balanced breakfast .
It is also key that the meals and, above all, the dinner the day before donating blood are healthy. It is advisable not to eat unhealthy fats , betting on foods rich in minerals -especially iron-, and vitamins such as fruits and vegetables. You can also take some protein.
To cover the possible lack of iron that can make us feel more tired, even if the blood extraction is minimal, the most recommended foods are:
- red meat
What to eat after donating blood – the best foods
Even if you are going to donate blood in excellent health and have followed the previous care, it is key to monitor what you eat after the donation so that hypotension does not occur or you feel dizzy and the volume of blood extracted is recovered. normally. Care, in this case, should focus on what you eat and what you drink. So, this is what we recommend if you are wondering what is best to eat after donating blood :
- Drink water frequently and in quantity during the 48 hours after having donated blood to stay hydrated and help recover the amount of blood extracted earlier. You can also have milk and smoothies or natural juices.
- The food must be rich in vitamin K, iron, folic acid and vitamin B12 , which are the ones that are most affected by the donation in the body. In this way, it is recommended to take legumes, meat, fish, eggs and dark green vegetables such as spinach or broccoli. Likewise, it is convenient to take fresh or dried fruit such as dried figs.
- Snacks can also be taken, but they must always be healthy. For example, you can take nuts that are a good source of vitamins and minerals or chocolate, but as long as it has at least 80% cocoa.
- The sandwiches are recommended, but as long as the bread is wholemeal and does not contain sausage. The best options for its filling are tuna or fresh cheese, being possible to add ingredients such as tomato or avocado. In general, the sandwich could be made with any of the foods that are indicated for meals after donating blood, but always under the concept of healthy and natural.
What you should never eat after donating blood
As much as you feel like it or because they are close at hand, it is never a good idea to take a series of products after donating blood due to their little or no nutritional value and because, in addition, they can cause spikes in blood sugar levels due to their high content of sugars, which will make you feel unwell. In this group of foods that are not recommended to eat after donating blood are:
- All processed foods.
- The industrial pastry.
- Alcoholic beverages, which should never be drunk until at least 24 hours after donating blood. Beer is also not recommended, even though it has less alcohol than other drinks.
- Soft drinks are also not indicated – not even colas – because they contain a lot of sugar.
- Artificial juices should not be taken because, like soft drinks, they have a high percentage of sugar.