Vitamin K is an important nutrient for our overall wellbeing. It plays a crucial role in wound healing and bone health. Vitamin K is popularly known as the “blood-clotting vitamin”. In fact, the letter “K” originates from the word “koagulation” in German.
The vitamin helps the body in the process of blood clotting. Despite being so important, it is isn’t as popular as other nutrients. When it comes to a well-balanced diet, vitamin K isn’t talked about that often.
There’s always a loud emphasis on vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin B. Nonetheless, you need vitamin K to sustain healthy bodily functions. Luckily, you won’t have to go above and beyond to acquire this vitamin.
It is easily found in your normal everyday diet – that is if you’re an overall healthy eater. On the other hand, there’s another source of vitamin K that you should know – your own body. The bacteria present in the gastrointestinal tract produces vitamin K that has a ton of health benefits.
For a start, this vitamin improves bone metabolism and regulates blood calcium levels. Both of these functions are crucial to ensure bone health later on in your life. Similarly, vitamin K is also critical for the creation of prothrombin. This is a key protein that facilitates blood clotting and heart health.
With that said, let’s understand the two most important forms of vitamin K.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is a family of various fat-soluble vitamins. They work together to keep the body healthy and strong. It is normally found in two main forms:
Also known as “phylloquinone”, this vitamin naturally occurs in dark green leafy vegetables. You can easily get it from foods like kale, spinach, and broccoli. Notably, vitamin K-1 is treated as the main dietary source of vitamin K. It makes up for nearly 80% of all the vitamin K that humans normally consume.
The second member of the vitamin K family is “menaquinone” or vitamin K-2. It is mostly found in fermented foods like natto and kimchi. Moreover, you can acquire small quantities of vitamin K from organ meats as well. Foods like beef liver are wonderful sources of vitamin K.
Furthermore, vitamin K-2 is also produced by our gut bacteria. This makes it clear why fermented foods are important for healthy gut flora.
Healthiest Foods with Vitamin K
With that said, let’s move on to the best foods with vitamin K. Incorporating them into your daily diet will improve your bone health, metabolism, and heart health.
As a nutrient-dense food, kale is a rich source of vitamin K. Its dark green color is a testament to the many vitamins and antioxidants present in its leaves. A half-cup of kale can meet 443% of the daily recommended intake.
Furthermore, kale is also a decent source of alpha-linolenic acid, vitamin A, and vitamin C. All of these nutrients combined make for a nourishing diet. This healthy green vegetable can certainly be enjoyed in many ways.
You can cook it down and add it to curries, pasta, soups, and salads. On the other hand, you can also eat it raw by adding a handful to your breakfast smoothie.
2. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are packed with disease-fighting and energy-boosting nutrients. One of them is vitamin K, which can suffice for almost 346% of the daily recommended intake. Additionally, they are a delicious source of other minerals like magnesium and calcium. As a result, they work together with vitamin K to improve bone health and overall well-being.
You can add half a cup to your salads, casseroles, or a delicious coconut milk broth. However, make sure to chop them roughly. Chopping them finely may result in a loss of nutrients. In order to retain the taste and nutrients, mustard greens should be cooked delicately.
3. Raw Spinach
Another nutrient-dense and delicious leafy vegetable is spinach. Known for being a terrific source of iron, spinach is also rich in vitamin K. With this in mind, the key is to consume it raw. One cup of spinach can deliver almost 121% of the daily value.
Spinach is a multipurpose vegetable. It can help reduce blood pressure levels and improve eye health. As a regular food in your diet, spinach can also alleviate oxidative stress. Eating it raw can definitely help your body absorb all the vitamin K it needs.
However, some people don’t like the earthy taste of spinach. In this case, blend the spinach into a smoothie or cook it in an omelet.
Natto is a delectable fermented food commonly eaten in Japan. It is made from fermented soybeans, which enhances its beneficial plant compounds. Notably, one ounce of natto contains 261% of the daily value for vitamin K.
With this in mind, you only need a spoonful to enjoy all its nourishing benefits. Natto contains both vitamin K-1 and K-2, which makes it a nutrient-rich source. Since it’s fermented, it can also strengthen the natural gut flora. Hence, you should eat at least two servings of natto daily.
Broccoli may not be your favorite vegetable but it will be, once you know how nutritious it is. It is one of the best sources of vitamin K and C. With high amounts of potassium and fiber, broccoli is a staple food for a well-balanced diet.
Surprisingly, only half a cup of cooked broccoli offers 92% of vitamin K’s daily value. Moreover, it contains all the fundamental nutrients for bone health and wound healing. With such high amounts of vitamin K, it should certainly be eaten every day!
6. Beef Liver
If you’re not a fan of leafy greens, you can get your vitamin K from beef liver. Organ meats offer concentrated sources of vitamin K and A. For instance, just one slice can give you 72% of the daily recommended intake.
Beef liver is especially rich in vitamin K-2. This makes it a wonderful food for promoting kidney health as well as calcium metabolism. Eating beef liver even twice a week can play a huge part in lowering down chronic inflammation.
Chicken is one of the healthiest protein-rich foods to eat daily. Every 3 ounces of cooked chicken can give you 43% of vitamin K. Eating chicken can regulate your body’s amino acid levels. If they get too high, they can result in acute heart diseases.
The vitamin and protein content of chicken makes it a great addition to a weight loss diet. It’s filling, dense in nutrients, and boosts heart health.
Prunes are deliciously tart dried fruits that offer a significant amount of vitamin K. Every 5 pieces offer 24% of the daily value. You can easily add them to a salad full of leafy greens for a vitamin-K power salad!
You can also add prunes to your breakfast oatmeal or enjoy them in a nut mix. Prunes are extremely beneficial for bones and muscles. As high-fiber foods, eating even a handful can greatly boost digestion.
Avocado may only offer 18% of vitamin K’s daily value. Nonetheless, it’s a delicious fruit that can be eaten in multiple servings. You can slice one over your morning toast, enjoy it in salads, or stir-fry it with chicken. Avocados are rich and creamy while offering a wonderful way to boost your vitamin K levels.
According to the USDA, each serving of avocado can give you 42 mcg of vitamin K. So, go ahead, load up on this delicious fruit!
Who doesn’t love kiwis? They are tangy, sweet, and complement fruit salads. Each fruit can give you 23% or 28 mcg of vitamin K. In addition to this, kiwis also contain traces of phosphorous and calcium. All these nutrients promote bone health and prevent osteoporosis.
11. Pork Chops
Pork chops are every meat lover’s favorite. They are flavorful and a powerhouse of nutrients. Above all, they’re full of vitamin K. Every 3 ounces of pork chops comprise 49% of the daily value. Even if you’re having pork chops twice a week, they can cover you for essential vitamins and minerals.
It should be noted here that vitamin K is needed to maximize the benefits of vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D can result in bone loss. By consuming vitamin K-rich foods like porch chops, your body can regain its bone health and readily absorb vitamin D.
12. Soybean Oil
Soybean oil is a great alternative to canola. It’s a great source of heart-healthy fats and essential nutrients like vitamin K. Just one tablespoon comprises 20% of the daily value. You can use soybean to cook stir-fry dishes, Chinese food, and flavorful soups.
In addition to this, soybean oil is markedly high in omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming it regularly can make your skin look more radiant and youthful!
13. Goose Liver Paste
Goose liver paste is a unique food that’s packed with vitamin K. Just three ounces can give you 7% of the daily value for vitamin K – along with vitamin A and B12. Goose liver paste may be fattening; however, it’s full of monounsaturated fats that can reduce inflammation.
A decent source of vitamin K, every 3 ounces of Bacon contains 7% of the daily value. You can enjoy crisp bacon as is or throw it in a classic BLT sandwich!
While these are only a few nourishing foods with vitamin K, there are certainly the best. Packed with nourishing vitamins and minerals, incorporate them into your daily diet. With time, you’ll definitely feel healthier, stronger, and happier.