Low Iron Levels

iron-rich foodsOne of the most common reasons people are turned down from donating, which is called being deferred, is because of low-iron levels in the blood, which is known as anemia. This is especially true for women.

What You Can Do

  • Increase your intake of iron-rich foods, such as meat, green vegetables, seafood and others.
  • Drink orange juice or eat foods high in Vitamin C when eating iron-rich foods. Studies show this increases your body's ability to absorb iron.
  • Discuss taking an iron supplement with your healthcare provider.
  • Consider limiting your intake of tea and coffee before giving blood, as some studies indicate they may block the body's ability to absorb dietary iron.
  • Wait a week or two before trying to give blood again. Many people who eat more foods high in iron can increase their levels enough to be able to donate within a week or two of being deferred.

Foods High in Iron

  • Red meat
  • Dark, leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards)
  • Seafood (shrimp, oysters, clams, scallops, sardines)
  • Dried fruit (prunes, raisins)
  • Iron-enriched cereals and grains (check the labels)
  • Beans, lentils, chick peas and soybeans
  • Eggs
  • Molasses