Most of the iron-rich foods we consistently hear about are ones that would fall into lunch and/or dinner menu options. Red meat and green leafy vegetables, for example, are high in iron and great for your blood, but aside from steaks and salads it can be difficult to work them into your morning meal. We are commonly asked how to eat a proper breakfast on the day of blood donation, but the answer is what you eat on that specific morning has very little effect on the iron levels in your blood. As soon as you sign up to donate, you should start to become more aware of which foods will help boost your iron levels and in turn which foods may be harmful for your blood. Eating iron-rich foods over time with help to raise the levels in your blood.
First and foremost, eggs are one of the best foods you can eat for iron; they are easy to make and can be served a variety of ways. Scrambled, omelette-style or sunny side-up, eggs for breakfast are our pick as the best way to begin your day. If you want to take your iron-rich breakfast to the next level, consider throwing in spinach when making eggs. Dark, leafy vegetables are chock-full of iron and can add quite a boost to your iron when coupled with a hearty omelette. Wash it down with a big glass of orange juice or pair it with a side of fruit for an extra kick of vitamin C. This will help your body absorb the iron.
If eggs and vegetables aren’t your style, consider iron-fortified cereals. As you scan the cereal aisle, keep in mind the cereals highest in iron are based in wheat, rice, corn or oats.
The list of top iron-rich cereals includes but is not limited to:
General Mills Total Raisin Bran
General Mills Total Corn Flakes
Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
Lastly, be aware of some of the food and drink options that can harmfully effect your blood donation. Fatty foods are a no-go in the weeks leading up to donation day. This includes donuts, bacon, gravy, etc. They affect the fat and lipid content in your blood which could lead to it being rejected for donation. Tea might come as a surprise. The tannins in tea prohibit your blood for absorbing all of the iron it needs from the foods you are consuming. You don’t want to work against yourself!
If you have any questions about which foods are right for increasing the iron levels in your blood, give us a call at 1-800-DONATE-4 or schedule your appointment online today!