FIVE THINGS TO PUT IN YOUR MOUTH BEFORE GIVING BLOOD
Something good. You don’t have to spend a week’s salary on a six-course meal, but you’ll feel better after your donation if you’ve at least eaten a healthy meal two to three hours beforehand.
Something wet. Being well hydrated will make your donation go quicker, and it also helps your body replenish the fluids you lose. Drinking an extra 16 ounces of liquid – preferably water, but certainly something non-alcoholic or non-caffeinated – is a good idea before donating.
Something salty. Trust us on this one. A moderate amount of salt makes your veins expand, so your donation can go more quickly from start to finish. Sports drinks contain enough salt to help, and so do pretzels.
Something with lots of iron in it. No, you don’t have to chew an anvil to give blood. But iron is a key part of hemoglobin, a molecule within red blood cells that moves oxygen to the body and picks up waste materials once it’s delivered the oxygen. Most of the body’s iron is in the hemoglobin, so you lose some when you donate. And your hemoglobin also has to be at a certain level for you to be allowed to give blood at all. Iron-rich foods include most meats, beans and leafy green vegetables.
Something with lots of letters. Most doctors recommend you take a multivitamin every day, but it’s even more important if you’re a regular blood donor. Besides helping maintain iron levels, a daily multivitamin also helps replace other nutrients that wind up in your donation. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from plant-based sources, too.
Giving blood can be a lot easier than you think!