Plasma donation is a simple procedure, but the results have the potential to save lives. Blood plasma contains three important proteins, including albumins, globulins and fibrinogen, that help treat clotting disorders and immune deficiency disorders. According to donatingplasma.org, plasma proteins also help treat patients who have been burned, have undergone organ transplant or are undergoing dialysis.
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Plasma Donation Process
Plasma donation is similar to giving blood. Through a process called plasmapheresis, an IV is placed in your arm, and blood is pumped out into a machine that removes the plasma from the rest of your blood. Red blood cells and platelets are then returned to your bloodstream.
Plasma Donation Protein Level
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, in order to be eligible to donate plasma, blood protein levels must be within 6.0 to 9.0 grams per deciliter. You can help avoid a low-protein blood test by including high-protein foods in your daily diet. Harvard Health Publishing states that the Recommended Dietary Allowance, or RDA, for protein intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For a 150-pound person, this equals 54 grams of protein. However, up to twice the RDA might be beneficial for people who live active lifestyles.
Animal Sources of Protein
Red meat is an excellent food source to increase protein level in blood. Eighty percent lean ground beef offers 19 grams of protein in a 4-ounce serving, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). However, red meat can often be high in saturated fat, which has been shown to contribute to cardiovascular disease. When eating red meat, choose leaner cuts such as sirloin or filet mignon, or trim visible fat before consuming. You can also use 93 percent lean ground beef as a healthier option.
Pork is also a good source of protein, providing 26 grams in a 3.5-ounce serving. Poultry and fish are also high-protein foods. Four ounces of chicken breast packs 26 grams of protein. Tuna fish provides 16 grams of protein in a 2.5-ounce serving.
Eggs and Dairy
One large egg provides 6 grams of protein, according to the USDA. Dairy products are another good source of protein. For example, a 1/2-cup serving of cottage cheese contains 11 grams of protein. If you're concerned about the amount of fat in your diet, choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products as foods to eat before donating plasma.
Read more: The Best Low-Fat Cheeses
Even if you don't eat meat or animal products, you can still boost your protein intake prior to plasma donation by consuming plant products. For example, one cup of soybeans provides 22 grams of protein according to the USDA. Other plant-based protein sources include edamame, tofu, beans, nuts, seeds, potatoes and dark leafy greens.
Other Protein Products
If you need a convenient on-the-go option to up your protein, consider protein bars or prepackaged protein shakes. You can also make your own shakes with protein powder. Whey and casein protein powders are derived from milk products. If you have a dairy sensitivity, consider pea or soy protein sources.
- American Red Cross: Plasma Donation
- Straight Health: Top 5 Ways to Increase Your Protein Intake
- USDA Nutrient Database: Egg, Whole, Cooked, Fried
- USDA Nutrient Database: Soybeans, Green, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- USDA Nutrient Database: Cheese, Cottage, Creamed, Large or Small Curd
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Plasmapheresis
- Donatingplasma.org: Why?
- USDA Branded Food Products Database: Albacore Tuna with Omega-3
- Harvard Health Publishing: How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day?
- HealthLine: Pork 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Effects
- USDA Nutrient Database: Ground Beef Calculator
- Medical News Today: Top 15 Sources of Plant-Based Protein