Blood donation is a priceless gift, one that most healthy people can give.  But even healthy donors are sometimes temporarily deferred due to low blood iron levels.

While an overall well-balanced diet is generally the safest bet for normal iron levels, the American Red Cross recommends eligible donors build up iron levels by eating iron-rich foods like red meat, fish, poultry, liver, iron-fortified cereals, beans, peas, lentils, breads and dried fruit prior to donating.

In addition, foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, broccoli, tomatoes, kiwi, strawberries, peppers, potatoes and cabbage, help increase iron absorption.  Iron can be replenished with supplement tablets but should be taken only after consulting with a personal health care provider or pharmacist.

A temporary deferral is just that – temporary.  It is well-intended to protect the health of the donor and recipient.  Healthy donors who have been temporarily deferred are urged to try to donate again soon.

Upcoming Blood Donation Opportunity:

The American Red Cross is having a blood drive in Memphis on Tuesday, September 2 from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m.  The blood drive is being held at the First Baptist Church, 910 N. Weaver, from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. in their multi-purpose room.

To schedule an appointment, visit  The sponsor keyword is FBCMemphis.