Learn How You Can Be a Healthy Blood Donor

Every time you donate blood or platelets, you’re helping people with cancer, trauma patients, premature babies and organ transplants; just to name a few. The American Red Cross relies on the generosity of donors like you, to help provide hope and life to those patients in need.

To help them regain their health, the Red Cross relies on healthy donors. Before donating blood, donors complete a private and confidential health history interview and receive a mini-physical to make sure they’re healthy enough to donate.

We recommend that you maintain a nutritious, well-balanced diet with foods rich in iron and high in vitamin C. These healthy tips will also help keep you a healthy blood donor:

Before Your Donation

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep the night before your appointment

  • Eat a healthy breakfast or lunch – or both, if you’re donating later in the day

  • Choose to eat lean proteins (lean meat, cheese and yogurt) or complex carbohydrates (bread, cereal and fruit) and avoid fatty foods

  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids to make sure you’re hydrated

  • Make sure you’re feeling well

After Your Donation

  • Drink an extra 32 ounces of non-alcoholic fluids over the next 24 hours

  • Avoid doing any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise for the rest of the day

Part of maintaining good, overall health as a blood donor is healthy iron levels. We encourage some donors, specifically young and frequent donors, to speak with their health-care provider about adding a multivitamin with iron or iron supplement to help maintain healthy iron levels.