There are many reasons you may have blood work done, including tests ordered by your doctor and donations to a blood drive. Within a few hours, most people are ready to resume normal daily activities. However, the right food after a blood draw can speed up the process and prevent an adverse reaction.
Continue reading to learn about what to eat after a blood draw, the timeline for your recovery, and the things you should avoid on the day of your test. And click here to book an appointment for that test.
How to Prepare for a Blood Test?
Blood tests can be very stressful for some people, not only due to the test itself but also the procedure combining three of the most common phobias – needles, blood, and doctors. Preparing for a test can be just as crucial to its success as what you do afterwards.
Remember to drink water before your test to increase your blood volume, destress, and make fainting less likely to occur. The health professional administering the test will also be able to find a vein more easily if you are properly hydrated.
Talk with your doctor about fasting requirements for your blood test. Many tests, including lipid and glucose panels, require fasting beforehand. Also, ask them about the medication you take (including OTC medications like aspirin). Make sure you continue with all your medications unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
In the case of a blood donation, fasting is not required. It is therefore recommended to eat a hearty meal before the test, something that contains a good portion of protein and carbs so that you don’t feel woozy after your blood is drawn.
What Are the Side Effects of Having Blood Drawn?
The side effects of having your blood drawn are usually minimal. Some people experience bruising and bleeding at the extraction site, lightheadedness, and soreness in the affected arm. Most side effects disappear within a few hours to a day after giving blood.
A hematoma or “blood bruise” is possible. Talk with your doctor if you develop one that doesn’t go away after a few days.
What to Eat After a Blood Draw?
Regardless of whether you had blood drawn for a test or for a donation, it’s important to eat afterward. Testing often requires fasting, which means you will be very hungry, and blood donations often take a lot out of you, so it’s important to replenish your body throughout the day.
The best foods to eat are those that are rich in iron, including fortified cereals and leafy vegetables like spinach. Meat that includes iron includes fish, eggs, and poultry. Vitamin C improves your body’s ability to absorb iron, so citrus or bell peppers also make good complimentary snacks.
Protein and carbs also play an important role in helping you stay energetic and preventing you from fainting. Cheese and crackers, peanut butter, nuts like walnuts, cashews, almonds, or peanuts, or a healthy sandwich are all good options.
Additionally, vitamin B12 aids your body in regenerating red blood cells and nerve cells, meaning foods containing it make great snacks after you have your blood drawn. These include eggs, cottage cheese, mushrooms, and sardines.
Finally, remember to keep hydrating with clean water throughout the day after you have your blood drawn.
What Activities Should I Avoid After Having Blood Drawn?
After you have your blood drawn, especially if you donated to a blood bank, you should take it easy for at least a few hours. Cardio exercise and heavy manual labor are not advised, as your heart rate should not be elevated after having your blood drawn.
Doing so can cause more adverse effects like lightheadedness, which can make lifting heavy objects dangerous. You should also avoid alcohol for 24 hours so that your body can recover its fluids.
Having your blood drawn is common. While serious side effects are rare, most people experience some amount of discomfort, fainting feeling, or fatigue after having blood drawn, especially if it was a blood donation.
Eating after having your blood drawn is important, but it’s equally important to choose the right foods. Prioritize water content, iron, vitamin B12, and protein in your snacks that day. Ask your doctor about preparing for your blood test, whether you need to fast beforehand, and anything else you need to know.
Speedy Sticks is a mobile concierge phlebotomy service that provides at-home blood draws and on-site diagnostic/health screenings for businesses and individuals. One of these tests is a blood test which can be performed by one of our specialists. Book an appointment today.
*This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace consulting with a healthcare professional. Please consult with your primary care physician or healthcare provider before engaging in any services offered by Speedy Sticks.
**These are approximations, and experts disagree on some values. Consult your healthcare provider for recommendations suitable for you. It is also important to ensure the levels are given in the same measurements, such as mg/dL, etc.