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What can I do to increase hemoglobin/hematocrit levels before donation?

If a donor’s low hemoglobin/hematocrit is due to low iron, he or she can replenish iron levels by eating more high-iron foods or taking supplements. Foods rich in iron include red meat, fish, poultry, and liver. Other good sources are iron fortified cereals, beans, raisins, and prunes. Eating food rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, broccoli, and tomatoes, helps with the absorption of the iron that you eat. Iron is often included in multivitamin tablets. If a donor has not been feeling well, has a family history of anemia, or has remaining questions or concerns after speaking with the health historian, the donor should see his or her personal physician. Also, if the hemoglobin/hematocrit of a donor has been low on several occasions, the Red Cross recommends the donor should discuss the result with his or her personal physician.

Continue Learning about Blood Basics

Blood Basics

Blood Basics

Our blood is a living tissue with a variety of critical functions: It delivers oxygen and nutrients to our organs, fights infections and creates blood clots, preventing us from bleeding excessively when a blood vessel is damaged. ...

The liquid part of our blood, called plasma, is key for maintaining blood pressure and supplying critical proteins for blood clotting, immunity and maintaining the correct pH balance in our body -- critical to cell function. Plasma also carries the solid part of our blood -- white blood cells, which work to destroy viruses and bacteria; red blood cells, which carry oxygen through the body; and platelets, which help clotting. Learn more about blood basics with expert advice from Sharecare.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.