Iron-rich Cookbook 2021

Dear Reader,

Maintaining a good Haemoglobin (Hb) level is very important for your health as well as for donating blood. We test your Hb level every time before you donate blood. In order to donate blood, men’s Hb level need to be 13.5g/dl and females’ 12.5g/dl. Often blood donors get deferred because of a low Hb level.

As part of our continued effort to create awareness about healthy iron-rich foods that could boost your iron (Hb) levels, we feature an iron-rich recipe in our quarterly donor newsletter, Blood Buzz. We recently featured an article about ‘Maintaining Haemoglobin (Iron) Levels the Natural Way’, please feel free to read it again.

We are proud to have compiled a cookbook, containing all of the yummiest recipes featured in past editions of the Blood Buzz.  We have also included some of our staff’s own recipes for you to enjoy. Please use them, let us know what you think and feel free to share them with your loved ones.

A special word of thanks to Irma Gevers for her regular recipe contributions and a special thanks to Lize-Mari Badenhorst, Dr Caroline Hilton, Shereen Gomez, Vasti le Roux, Christoff van Wyk and Ishaam September for their contributions.

Enjoy cooking and getting iron-spired!

Yours in blood donation

Marike Gevers

Maintaining Haemoglobin (Iron) Levels the Natural Way

by Craig Hicks

We often speak about the many important reasons to donate blood, but there are times when people aren’t able to even if they wanted to. Unfortunately, having a low haemoglobin (iron) level is one of the most common reasons for being deferred from donating. In order to donate, females should have a haemoglobin level of 12.5g/d and males 13.5 g/d. But look on the bright side, there are ways to boost and maintain a healthy haemoglobin level. While iron supplements are an option, the best way to increase your iron levels is through your diet. There are two aspects to this – the first is to increase the intake of iron-rich foods and the second is to increase your intake of vitamin C which is essential for promoting the absorption of iron in your body. Let’s take a look at some of the best iron-rich foods.

Organ meat – Foods such as liver and kidneys are both high in iron as well as vitamin C and are a great option for boosting your haemoglobin levels. Regular meat – While the darker meats such as beef have higher iron content than the lighter meats such as chicken and pork, you can still get a decent supply of iron from all of them.

Legumes like lentils, soybeans and kidney beans are great sources of iron as are the dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and swiss chard. Another way to boost your iron levels is by eating fortified and iron-enriched breakfast cereals. Remember to check the labels to confirm the iron content. Other plant-based
sources included fortified whole-grain bread, couscous and quinoa. We wouldn’t want anything to get in the way of the remarkable act of donating blood so remember to keep your haemoglobin levels up so that you can continue saving lives!

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