Many people can donate blood, but even healthy donors are sometimes temporarily deferred because of low hemoglobin levels. The American Red Cross recommends eligible blood donors eat a well-balanced diet with extra iron-rich foods prior to their donation this fall.
During the fall, iron-rich produce such as broccoli, kale, sweet potatoes, spinach, apricots and chard are in season and therefore more abundant.
Food can have two types of iron, heme and nonheme. The body can absorb up to 30 percent of heme iron, primarily found in meat, but only 2 to 10 percent of nonheme iron. Foods high in vitamin C, such as leafy greens, peppers and citrus fruits, help with iron absorption.
The Red Cross also recommends iron supplements for regular blood donors after consulting with their personal health-care provider or pharmacist. Visit red
crossblood.org/iron, to learn more.
Healthy blood donors help patients in need every day. Make an appointment to roll up a sleeve by calling (800) RED CROSS, or visiting redcrossblood.org.