Our health greatly depends on vitamin K as this nutrient plays important roles in numerous physiological processes. Among other things, it contributes to blood clotting, and it is involved in bone metabolism. Considering its health benefits, it’s of great importance to consume a sufficient amount of vitamin K foods on a daily basis. Here you can find a list of rich sources of this vitamin that you should add to your eating plan. It’s good to know that a truly healthy diet needs to include various foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
What Is Vitamin K?
The term vitamin K covers several fat-soluble compounds, which include vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (a group of menaquinones). Vitamin K1 is present in various foods, while our body is able to produce vitamin K2. However, experts are uncertain about the quantity of vitamin K that is produced in our gut as they don’t know much about its absorption and transport.
Vitamin K Benefits
The synthesis of the proteins responsible for blood clotting depends on vitamin K. Therefore, one of the most important roles of this vitamin is its contribution to blood clotting, which prevents us from bleeding excessively. However, the blood of some people clots too easily, so they need to take certain medications, including warfarin or Coumadin, which is its brand name. Those people should know that vitamin K can counteract this medicine, reducing its effectiveness.
Vitamin K is also added to cosmetic products used for preventing spider veins. In addition, vitamin K cream can treat bruises and reduce dark circles under the eyes.
Since some proteins present in bones depend on vitamin K, this nutrient is involved in the maintenance of bone health. According to a study dealing with the relationship between vitamin K and bone loss, this vitamin can strengthen our bones, reducing the risk of bone fractures.
A vitamin K-dependant protein is responsible for preventing vascular calcification, which can lead to coronary heart disease. However, more studies should be conducted to explain the role of vitamin K in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Vitamin K Sources
Vitamin K is present in a number of foods, so you can easily include it in your diet. Various vegetables, especially green leafy veggies, and fruits are great sources of vitamin K1. On the other hand, vitamin K2 is found in meat, dairy products, and eggs. If you are taking warfarin or a similar anticoagulant, your intake of vitamin K should be constant. Therefore, it’s good to know that there is a wide range of foods with a low content of this vitamin, which won’t interfere with your therapy. Some of the foods low in vitamin K are sweet corn, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, bananas, pineapple, apples, and peaches.
However, if you are looking to increase your intake of vitamin K, here are the foods you should consider adding to your regular diet.
Natto is a traditional Japanese dish that is made from soybeans fermented with Bacillus subtilis. It is extremely rich in vitamin K. In just three ounces of this food, you get 1062% of your daily value (DV) of this nutrient. In addition, it is high in a number of minerals, including manganese, iron, copper, and magnesium.
Even when not fermented, soybeans belong to foods rich in vitamin K. Half a cup of roasted soybeans serves 54% of the recommended daily need of this vitamin. Moreover, they are a great source of B vitamins, such as thiamin, riboflavin, and folate. They also provide a wide range of minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.
Green leafy veggies are among the richest sources of this vitamin. If you eat a cup of raw kale, you will cover 141% of your DV of this essential nutrient. What’s more, this veggie has a high content of vitamin A and vitamin C.
In addition to kale, vitamin K is also abundant in other green leafy vegetables, such as collards or collard greens. Half a cup of boiled collards will provide you with 662% of your daily needs of this vitamin. Moreover, this type of vegetable is high in vitamin A and vitamin C.
Turnip greens are another amazing source of vitamin K. Half a cup of boiled turnip greens has 532% of your DV of this nutrient. Furthermore, this veggie is a great source of other vitamins and minerals. It is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, manganese, and calcium.
One cup of raw spinach contains 181% of your daily value of vitamin K. Besides belonging to foods high in vitamin K, this green leafy veggie is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and manganese, so it is a great addition to your eating plan.
Although iceberg lettuce is not as rich in vitamin K as spinach, it is a good source of this vitamin. One cup of raw iceberg lettuce serves 18% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K. This veggie is not considered a highly nutritious food, but it provides small amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
Parsley is usually added to various dishes in order to improve their taste. However, it also offers a number of health benefits thanks to its nutrient content. Providing 574% of your DV of vitamin K, parsley is definitely one of the vitamin K rich foods. It is also rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. In addition, it is a good source of iron.
Like other green leafy vegetables, mustard greens are also rich in vitamin K. With one cup of boiled mustard greens, you will cover 524% of your daily needs of this vitamin. Moreover, it provides a considerable amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate.
There is a wide range of vitamin K rich fruits, and one of them is a kiwi. In one cup of this fruit, you will get 89% of the recommended daily value of this vitamin. Furthermore, kiwi fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, so you can eat them to boost your immune system.
Avocados are highly nutritious as they contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. One cup of avocado cubes has 39% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K. In addition, this type of fruit is a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, vitamin B5, and potassium.
Blueberries are also good sources of vitamin K. Half a cup of these berries can provide you with 18% of your DV of this vitamin. They have powerful antioxidant properties thanks to a high content of vitamin C. Furthermore, they contain a considerable amount of manganese.
Pomegranate juice is a rich source of vitamin K. If you drink one cup of this fruit juice, you will get 32% of your daily value of this important nutrient. Moreover, it will provide you with folate and several minerals, including potassium and manganese.
Grapes offer a number of health benefits thanks to their high antioxidant content. They are a great source of vitamin K as half a cup of this fruit has 14% of the recommended daily value of this vitamin. In addition, they are rich in vitamin C and copper.
Prunes are packed with vitamins and minerals. With only one cup of prunes, you will cover 129% of your DV of vitamin K. Besides belonging to foods with vitamin K, they are rich in vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6. When it comes to minerals, they provide a fair amount of potassium, manganese, and copper.
Blackberries are a rich source of vitamin K. If you eat one cup of these berries, you will cover 36% of your daily needs of this vitamin. In addition, they have a high content of vitamin C. Blackberries also contain various minerals, including copper and manganese.
Pumpkin offers a variety of health benefits as it contains a number of vitamins and minerals. Half a cup of canned pumpkin has 25% of your DV of vitamin K. Moreover, it is an amazing source of vitamin A. It is also rich in various minerals, such as iron and manganese.
Chicken breast is one of the foods high in vitamin K2. A three-ounce serving of this type of meat provides you with 17% of your daily value of this vitamin. Furthermore, chicken breast is particularly rich in niacin and vitamin B6. It is also a great source of selenium and phosphorus.
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Beef is another type of meat that contains vitamin K2. Three ounces of broiled beef serve 8% of the recommended daily value of this nutrient. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, beef is rich in B vitamins, including niacin and vitamin B12. It’s also a great source of minerals, especially zinc.
Eggs are not particularly rich in vitamin K, but they provide a small amount of this vitamin. One large hard-boiled egg can cover 5% of your DV of vitamin K. Moreover, eggs contain almost all the other vitamins and minerals, so you should definitely include them in your diet.
Hopefully, this vitamin K foods list will help you create your eating plan that will cover your daily needs of this essential vitamin.
Recommended Daily Intake
The Dietary Reference Intakes, which were established by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), provide the Adequate Intakes (AI) for vitamin K as well as the recommended daily values for other important nutrients. The AIs for this vitamin differ depending on age and sex. It’s recommended that you meet your needs for this nutrient primarily by consuming vitamin K food. Adequate Intakes for vitamin K are presented below:
- From birth to 6 months – 2 mcg
- From 7 to 12 months – 2.5 mcg
- From 1 to 3 years – 30 mcg
- From 4 to 8 years – 55 mcg
- From 9 to 13 years – 60 mcg
- From 14 to 18 years – 75 mcg
- 19+ years – 120 mcg (male) and 90 mcg (female)
Vitamin K Deficiency
Healthy adults who follow a varied diet are rarely deficient in vitamin K. A deficiency in this nutrient is characteristic of people suffering from malabsorption disorders or those who take medicines interfering with this vitamin. Also, newborn babies are at risk of developing a deficiency in vitamin K since they don’t receive much of this vitamin through the placenta. In addition, breast milk is low in vitamin K.
The symptoms of vitamin K inadequacy are excessive bleeding and hemorrhage. Since vitamin K contributes to keeping our bones strong and healthy, a lack of this vitamin may lead to osteoporosis, a disease characterized by weak bones that are prone to fractures.
Who Should Take a Vitamin K Supplement?
Newborn babies are at risk of being deficient in vitamin K due to the poor transport of this nutrient through the placenta. This risk is increased in infants who are exclusively breastfed as breast milk is a poor source of this vitamin. As low levels of vitamin K can cause vitamin K deficiency bleeding (VKDB), it is recommended that newborns are given 0.5 to 1 mg of vitamin K1 at birth.
Another group likely to develop a deficiency in vitamin K includes people with malabsorption disorders. Those with cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and other gastrointestinal disorders may have problems with vitamin K absorption. Therefore, they sometimes need to take vitamin K tablets.
Vitamin K Side Effects
Since there is no evidence that high doses of vitamin K cause adverse effects, the FNB didn’t provide Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for this vitamin. However, it’s important to mention that vitamin K can interact with some medications. For example, it can decrease the efficacy of warfarin (Coumadin), a commonly used anticoagulant. Although there is no specific list of vitamin K foods to avoid while on Coumadin, people taking this medicine shouldn’t change their intake of this vitamin as a sudden increase or decrease in vitamin K intake may change the effect of warfarin.
Playing a crucial role in the synthesis of certain proteins, vitamin K has a number of health benefits. In addition to contributing to proper blood clotting, this nutrient is key to maintaining bones healthy and preventing osteoporosis. Having these important vitamin K functions in mind, try to create a healthy eating plan which includes a variety of foods rich in this nutrient. Unless you have some problems with the absorption of vitamin K, there is no need to take vitamin supplements. The good news is that too much vitamin K is not harmful to your health, but be careful with the intake of this vitamin if you are taking certain medicines, such as warfarin.
What does vitamin K do to your body?
Vitamin K is responsible for the synthesis of the proteins which regulate blood clotting. Therefore, this vitamin helps in preventing excessive bleeding. Furthermore, vitamin K contributes to our bone health, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Since it also plays an important role in preventing vascular calcification, this vitamin may reduce the risk of heart disease. However, more studies are needed to prove this claim.
What are the side effects of too much vitamin K?
A high intake of vitamin K doesn’t normally cause any adverse effects. Therefore, the Food and Nutrition Board didn’t establish Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for this nutrient. Anyway, it is always advised not to exceed the recommended amount of this vitamin. Also, you shouldn’t take vitamin supplements without consulting with your physician. Another important thing that is worth mentioning is that there is a possible interaction between vitamin K and certain medicines.
What foods raise your INR levels?
Some people with certain medical conditions need to be tested on how fast their blood clots. This test is called a prothrombin time test because prothrombin is a protein responsible for blood clotting. For people taking anticoagulants, like warfarin, the results of this test are expressed as the international normalized ratio (INR). A low INR level means that the patient is at risk of blood clots, while a high INR level means that the patient is at risk of bleeding. You may raise your INR level by drinking large amounts of cranberry juice. Also, you should limit your consumption of mangos as they also can increase the INR level.
What fruits are high in vitamin K?
A variety of fruits are rich in vitamin K. Kiwi fruits are especially high in this nutrient as only one cup of this fruit provides 89% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K. Avocados also have a high content of this vitamin. Other fruits rich in this important nutrient include various berries, such as blueberries and blackberries, pomegranate, and grapes.
Is cabbage high in vitamin K?
Cabbage is one of the richest sources of this vitamin. One cup of chopped cabbage will provide you with 85% of the recommended daily value of this vitamin. In addition, this veggie has a high content of vitamin C.
Are bananas high in vitamin K?
Bananas have a very low content of vitamin K. In one cup of mashed bananas, there is only 1% of your daily value of vitamin K. That’s why they are recommended to people who take warfarin (Coumadin) or a similar anticoagulant. Since vitamin K contributes to blood clotting, it has the opposite effect of this medicine. This doesn’t mean that those taking warfarin shouldn’t eat vitamin K foods, but they shouldn’t vary their intake of this vitamin as this can affect the effectiveness of warfarin.