Health & Nutrition Tips

Eating the right foods and drinking plenty of water is always important to your health. Focusing on good nutrition is even more important before and after you donate plasma. Follow these tips for a safe and successful plasma donation experience and to get your body ready to donate.

Before you donate plasma

  • Drink 6 to 8 cups of water or juice the day before and day of your donation.
  • Eat a protein-rich, iron-rich meal no more than 3 hours before donating.

    Foods high in protein include:

    • Beans
    • Beef
    • Cheese
    • Chicken
    • Eggs
    • Milk
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Shrimp
    • Yogurt

    Iron-rich foods include:

    • Beans
    • Beef
    • Broccoli
    • Breakfast cereals (iron-enriched)
    • Chicken
    • Collards
    • Ham
    • Raisins
    • Turkey
    • Watermelon
  • Don’t eat fatty foods like french fries, potato chips, pizza, or sweets the day you donate. They can affect blood tests and make your plasma milky, which might prevent you from donating.
  • Don’t drink alcohol the night before and day of your donation.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Wear comfortable clothes, with sleeves that can be pushed up to your shoulder.
  • Bring something to pass the time. Take advantage of free wi-fi at all of our donation centers with a smartphone or tablet, or bring music (with headphones, of course), a book, or a magazine.

See what to expect the first time you donate plasma.

After you donate plasma

  • Continue to drink plenty of water.
  • Continue to eat foods rich in protein and iron. For a list of choices, see above or visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.
  • Don’t smoke for 30 minutes.
  • Don’t drink alcohol for 4 hours.
  • Don’t exercise hard or for very long.
  • Wait 2 days to donate plasma again. So if you donated Monday, you can donate again Wednesday.

First-time donor? See what is important about your second visit

Find out how your plasma is used to make life-saving medicines.

Anytime

  • When you become a regular plasma donor, you should eat meals with meat, beans, and other sources of protein, and eat foods high in iron or take iron supplements if recommended by your doctor.
  • If you feel sick, aren’t in good health, or don’t feel well rested, please stay home and get well. You can always donate plasma another day when you feel better.
  • Remember, although donating plasma is low-risk and has minimal or no side effects, you should see a doctor if you don’t feel well before or after you donate.
  • See more tips for plasma donors in our Plasma Donation FAQ.

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