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!