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Eating healthy helps with positive blood donation

March is National Nutrition Month and the American Red Cross reminds blood donors that the benefits of good nutrition extend beyond the numbers on the scale. Eating healthy can help boost iron levels, helping ensure blood donation eligibility and a positive donation experience.

Many iron-rich foods can help maintain a healthy iron level, such as spinach, red meat, fish, poultry, beans, iron-fortified cereals and raisins. To make your blood donation a positive experience, eat a good breakfast or lunch, drink extra water and fluids to replace the volume you will donate and avoid caffeinated beverages.

Following are the blood donation opportunities in Alexandria:

• Monday, March 21 from 1:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 411 Hawthorne.

• Tuesday, March 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at St. Mary's Catholic Church.

• Thursday, March 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Armory, 311 Broadway.

To donate blood, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit to make an appointment or for information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply.

A blood donor card or driver's license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years old, weight at least 110 pounds and are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood.