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New Donor?

Thank you for your interest in becoming an Olgam Life donor!  You are welcome to stop by at any time, no appointment necessary.

Just be sure to bring:

1. Your current, unexpired ID
2. Proof of address within 50 miles of a center (a piece of mail or a bill with your full name and address will do)
3. Your social security card or a tax document with your full name and SSN displayed

The center will help you complete a health questionnaire and conduct a quick physical to determine your eligibility. After each successful donation, you will be paid between $50-$60 in NYC and between $50-$140 in Florida.

We hope to see you soon!

March 9, 2023

What to Do and Not Do Before Donating Plasma

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What to Do and Not Do Before Donating Plasma

Plasma is one of the essential components of whole blood used for a range of human-based therapies. Your whole blood comprises red and white blood cells, plasma, and platelets. Red and white blood cells and platelets make up about 45% of your whole blood, and plasma makes up with remaining 55%.

Plasma takes up the majority of the volume of your whole blood, so even though we only take your plasma and return your blood cells and platelets back to your body via a process called apheresis, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do to make sure you (and your donation recipients) get the most out of your donation.

Olgam Life goes through its recommended do’s and dont’s when preparing to donate plasma.

What food should you eat before donating plasma?

Plasma is made up of

  • 92% water.

  • 7% proteins, including gamma globulin, albumin, and anti-hemophilic factor.

  • 1% vitamins, minerals, fats, salts, and sugars.

Your body can only produce its essential components through what you consume.


Plasma is made up of 7% vital proteins, so it’s important to ensure your diet has enough protein to make these and meet the protein needs of the rest of your body. We advise that donors aim for their recommended daily protein intake at least. If you can maintain a balanced diet with enough protein, you’ll be able to donate and recover quickly. Still, focusing on a protein-rich meal the night and day before you donate is important.

The US Department of Agriculture has a recommended protein intake calculator you can use to determine exactly how much protein you need in your diet.


Before we take your whole blood to extract your plasma, we measure your hematocrit levels. Hematocrit level is the number of red blood cells in your whole blood. It’s important to have enough of these because we’ll be removing a portion of them during the apheresis process, and your body will need to support itself with a lower number of red blood cells for a short time until we add them back to your bloodstream.

Vitamin C

While heme iron comes from animal sources, non-heme iron is found in plant sources. Vitamin C can help increase the absorption of non-heme iron, which is especially important for people who follow a plant-based diet.

We recommend eating a full, healthy meal the afternoon or evening before and a similarly hearty meal on the day of your donation, ideally at least two hours before you arrive.

List of Best Foods to Eat Before Donating Plasma

So which foods are best to help your body make plasma? Here are some ideas.




  • Eggs

  • Lean meats, including beef, lamb, and pork.

  • Poultry, including chicken and turkey.

  • Seafood and fish.

  • Dairy, including cottage cheese, yogurt, and milk.

  • Grains and pulses, including lentils and quinoa.

  • Nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds and peanuts.


  • Liver and red meats, including beef and veal.

  • Nuts and dried fruit such as apricots and peanuts.

  • Beans, including edamame, kidney beans, and chickpeas.

  • Wheat, oats, and fortified cereals.

Vitamin C

  • Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts.

  • Citrus fruits, including oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, and lemon.

  • Berries, including blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries.

  • White potatoes.

What to Eat for Breakfast Before Donating Plasma

Eating a breakfast high in nutrients and low in fat is the best way to prepare on the day of your donation. Opt for high iron and vitamin C foods that will help you replenish hemoglobin. Here are four ideas for great breakfasts to prep for your appointment at the center.

  1. Spinach, Tomato, and Cheese Omelette

Iron-rich spinach, vitamin C-rich tomato, and proteinous cottage cheese and eggs make this a nutritious and filling yet low-fat breakfast.

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 eggs

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 1 medium tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes

  • ¼ cup cottage cheese

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the tomato and saute for a few minutes, then add the spinach and allow it to wilt for a minute.

  2. Whisk the eggs in a bowl together with the cottage cheese.

  3. Pour the egg and cheese mix over the tomato and spinach into the pan. Cook until the eggs are set.

2. Iron-Boost Smoothie Bowl

This smoothie bowl, high in iron with complementary vitamin C to help the body’s iron absorption, is also hydrating and refreshing.

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 1 orange, peeled

  • ½ a banana

  • ¼ cup of chia or flaxseeds

  • ½ cup of water, oat milk, or orange juice

  • Assorted fresh berries, nuts, and seeds to top

  1. Blend the spinach, orange, banana, chia/flax, and liquid until the consistency is smooth.

  2. Pour into a bowl and top with the berries, nuts, and seeds.

  1. Banana and Nut Oatmeal

Low-fat, high-energy oats provide the boost you need on donation day, plus they’re high in protein. Add in fruit and nuts for extra protein, vitamins, and healthy fats.

  • ½ cup oats

  • 1 cup cows milk or non-dairy milk

  • ½ banana, sliced

  • ¼ cup of nuts

  • 1 tbsp of honey

  1. On low heat, cook the oats and liquid for a few minutes, stirring continuously until thickened.

  2. Either stir in the nuts and banana or serve on top of the oatmeal.

  3. Top with honey.

  1. Egg and Greens on Whole Grain Toast

For a hearty breakfast, opt for whole grains, which provide a boost of iron without spiking your blood sugar. Add to that iron-rich spinach, protein-rich egg, and avocado with healthy fats.

  • 2 slices whole grain bread

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 avocado

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice

  1. Fry or poach the eggs to your liking.

  2. Toast the bread and spread it with butter or spread if desired.

  3. Wilt the spinach in a frying pan for 1-2 minutes, and add to the toast.

  4. Mash or slice the avocado and add it on top of the wilted greens. Add the squeeze of lemon.

  5. Top with the cooked eggs.

What Not to Eat Before Donating Plasma

Certain foods will make your donation process more difficult, or you could even be turned away. Here’s what to avoid or eat less of leading up to, and on the day of, your donation.

Food Group


High fat and sodium

Chips, pizza, burgers, milkshakes, ice cream, candy, chocolate.

High fiber foods

Dried fruits, beans, legumes, whole grains,

High Fat and High Sodium Foods

When we test your blood to make sure it’s safe to collect, we need to be able to take accurate measurements. The heightened presence of lipids in the blood cells can result in a cloudy appearance in your plasma, which makes testing it difficult and potentially inaccurate.

In addition, these foods negatively impact your overall health and could lead to more complications, such as high blood pressure, making donation difficult. It’s best to keep them to a minimum.

High-Fiber Foods

Though high-fiber foods aren’t bad for your health, they can reduce the rate at which your body absorbs iron. While you shouldn’t avoid high-fiber foods as part of a balanced diet, you could try to limit your intake of them a few hours around your main meals when you plan to eat iron-rich foods.

What should you drink before donating plasma?

The best thing to drink before donating plasma is water. You can opt for bottled water or water from the tap. You can choose still or sparkling, whatever you prefer.

Another beneficial drink to have is a sports drink. Sports drinks like Powerade are isotonic, meaning they contain electrolytes that help the body absorb water and hydrate more quickly. You can also buy hydration tablets that can be dissolved into water.

If you don’t like the taste of water, you could opt for weak cordial, flavored water, or try adding slices of fruit to your water, such as orange or lemon. Remember to check the sugar content of flavored drinks as sometimes this can be high.

How much water should I drink before donating plasma?

Since plasma is over 90% water, it’s vital you’re well-hydrated in preparation for your appointment. You may be able to donate more plasma and even speed up the process. This also means your body can recover more quickly from the side effects of donating plasma. 

So how much water is enough? Generally, it is recommended to drink water per day. But this number can be affected by factors like exercise, weather conditions, and your own unique bodily needs. Take your recommended daily intake of nine to 13 cups of water every day, especially on the day before your appointment. Plus, The American Red Cross recommends drinking two more cups of water directly before donating.

Use this hydration calculator to determine how much water you need every day.

What drinks should you avoid?

Some drinks have diuretic effects (cause the body to pass more urine) or can cause a raised pulse. Here’s a list of drinks to avoid.

  • Fatty drinks like milk and hot chocolate.

  • Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea.

  • Alcoholic drinks like wine, beer, and spirits.

Are there other ways to prepare for a plasma donation?

  • If you smoke or use tobacco, you should avoid ingesting any nicotine for two hours before your appointment.

  • If you’ve had Covid-19 you may need to wait at least 28 days following a negative test before you can donate.

  • Ensure you have a whole night’s sleep the night before your donation day, so you are well rested.

  • Wear comfy clothes and ensure your sleeves can be pushed up to your shoulders, or you don’t have sleeves at all.

Do you want to change someone’s life with a plasma donation? There are plasma donation centers across the whole United States. We operate seven donation centers across New York and Florida with friendly staff ready to make you feel comfortable and welcome. We also pay you immediately for your donations so you can easily supplement your income while helping those in need.

Check our FAQs to see if we can answer your other questions, or give us a call.

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Written by
Sarah Ford