Lately, I’ve really been in a general disarray about what I am eating and what I shouldbe eating. You see, I found myself chilling out with my friends the other night, collectively watching the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, and we all found ourselves contemplating our diet choices in the film’s afterglow.
Did you know that in news headlines recently salsa has overtaken ketchup as the number-one condiment in America? How about the fact that Americans consume a whopping thirty-one percent more packaged food than fresh food? One of the most shocking statistics has to be the fact that the American Heart Association (AHA) has determined between 60-70% of the United States population is overweight or obese. How does all of this information affect blood donors, though?
Making Healthy Eating Choices When Donating Blood
I’m an adventurer at the core of my heart and soul. I love cycling on a one-hundred mile bike ride. I live for hiking on a 15-mile trek through foliage-filled valleys and hills on any given weekend. I generally enjoy living a very active lifestyle, and that is something I’m proud of. Sadly enough, I also find myself thinking that my physical activity will be my savior from my gluttonous and greasy diet, when in reality I need to be eating more fresh and unprocessed foods.
When a person donates blood, a common complaint is the fact they feel rather tired or “out of it” and can fall victim to a sudden nap or even fainting. This feeling can last from 12-24 but is only temporary. The biggest reason this happens to blood donors is the fact that when you are donating blood your body is burning 600-750 calories depending on your weight and height. When you think about it, have you ever burned 600 calories while working out? You definitely break a sweat, so it is no wonder people have the tendency to feel tired after donating blood if they do not eat anything.
Here are some healthy (and not to mention great-tasting) food choices for when it come to arming yourself with the calories you need:
- Grilled chicken with fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- Fresh salad with your favorite raw vegetables (no dressing)
- Strawberry, peach, and pineapple juice smoothie (no added sugar or sweeteners required)
- Organic/cage-free scrambled eggs and toast
- Baked sweet potatoes (no sour cream, but butter is OK)
- Roast beef with sweet potatoes, carrots, and low-sodium or no-sodium noodles
- Fresh kale
- Fresh watermelon slices
- Dark chocolate and chocolate milk
- Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts)
Those are just a few choices you have as a blood donor. It is also very important to not neglect your hydration levels every day not just when donating blood. Water obviously helps you to more easily absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat. The same can be said about vitamin C, which helps iron from plants be absorbed by the human body much more effectively.
Why It Matters
Donating blood is something only healthy folks can do. If I had a dollar for every time a prospective blood donor told me they wish they could donate but cannot due to medical reasons, I would be able to afford a year’s worth of organic groceries. Health is wealth. When you have your health, you have everything.
What other foods would you recommend consuming prior to donating blood?