Vitamins are an important part of our daily nutrition. But when it comes to vitamin K, most of us are rather unaware of its importance and the role played by it in our health. Before moving on to the foods that contain vitamin K, let us first analyze this vitamin and the health benefits offered by it.
Importance of Vitamin K:
Vitamin K is basically a fat soluble vitamin in which the “K” is taken from the German word “Koagulation” (Coagulation) which refers to the process of blood clotting. Thus, vitamin K is needed for protein modification and blood clotting. Vitamin K is available in two naturally occurring forms, vitamin K1 and vitamin K2.
- Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinone, is the predominant form of vitamin in the diet being synthesized by plants.
- Vitamin K2, also known as menaquinones, is formed with repeating 5 carbon units in the side chain of a molecule. It comes from plant sources and is formed by the synthesis of intestinal bacteria.
We all are aware of the importance of calcium for bone health. Vitamin K is also important in this regard as it helps prevent osteoporosis by assisting the formation of blood clots and calcium retention. This quality can be attributed to its ability to produce osteocalcin, which helps the bones to hold onto calcium. Vitamin K is often given before surgery to form the clots needed to control bleeding. Women having heavy menstrual flow should consume vitamin K rich diet for relief. Small doses of this vitamin can also help in curing nausea associated with the first trimester of pregnancy. Apart from osteoporosis, adequate intake of vitamin K also protects against cancer and heart disease. Vitamin K supplements form a part of the antibiotic therapy for those who have trouble in absorbing fat.
Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin K:
Your daily requirement of vitamin K depends upon your age. The table given below shows the recommended daily intake of vitamin K for people of different age groups.
|Children 0-6 months||2 micrograms/day|
|Children 7-12 months||2.5 micrograms/day|
|Children 1-3||30 micrograms/day|
|Children 4-8||55 micrograms/day|
|Children 9-13||60 micrograms/day|
|Girls 14-18||75 micrograms/day|
|Women 19 and up||90 micrograms/day|
|Women, pregnant or breastfeeding (19-50) Women, pregnant or breastfeeding(less than 19)||90 micrograms/day 75 micrograms/day|
|Boys 14-18||75 micrograms/day|
|Men 19 and up||120 micrograms/day|
Top 15 Foods Rich in Vitamin K:
Deficiency of vitamin K can increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. Vitamin K deficiency is rare in adults and very common in newborn infants. Pediatricians usually advise vitamin K injections for infants. You can get adequate amounts of vitamin K from your diet. In fact the best way to get the recommended amount of vitamin K is to increase the consumption of vitamin K rich foods. Given below are good sources of vitamin K and can form a part of your diet.
1. Dried and Fresh Herbs:
Herbs are renowned for their medicinal properties as they are packed with nutrients including vitamin K. Dried basil, dried thyme and dried sage are the best in this regard, providing 51 µg or 64% DV in a serving of just one tablespoon. Other herbs that are good sources of vitamin K include fresh parsley (82% DV), dried coriander, dried oregano and dried marjoram as well as fresh basil each providing 10 µg or 13% DV in a tablespoon serving.
2. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables:
Dark green leafy veggies are exceptionally rich in vitamin K as well as calcium. Kale is the richest source providing a whopping 882 µg or 1103% DV in a 100 grams serving. Dandelion greens come second with 100 grams serving, contributing 535% DV of vitamin K. Other leafy greens include collards, broccoli, cress, turnip greens, spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard, radicchio, mustard greens and lettuce each providing 62.5 µg or 78% DV in a cup serving. You can have these delicious and crispy leafy greens in a salad or a recipe of steamed vegetables to boost your vitamin K levels.
3. Brussels Sprouts:
This delicious veggie is packed with nutrition and vitamin K is no exception. A single Brussels sprouts provides you with 33.6 µg or 42% DV of vitamin K while a 100 grams serving provides you with 194 µg or 242% DV of this vitamin. They are also high in selenium which can reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. They are good for your digestive system and possess cholesterol lowering properties. Having Brussels sprout in your diet is a great way to boost your levels of vitamin K as well as other nutrients like vitamins A and C, iron, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, folate, manganese and dietary fiber. So why not have steamed Brussels sprout as a side dish to your meals!
This green vegetable from the cabbage family is one of the most nutrient dense foods known so far. It is also low in calories. Its rich variety of nutrients include vitamin K as well. It provides 141 µg or 176% DV of vitamin K in a 100 grams serving and 52 µg or 65% DV of vitamin K in a single piece. It provides various health benefits like boosting the immune system, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, bone health and prevention of birth defects. You can have steamed broccoli or broccoli soup to reap these amazing health benefits.
5. Spring Onions:
Spring onions or scallions are also a good source of vitamin K, providing 207 µg or 259% DV of vitamin K in a 100 grams serving. They are also abundant in B-complex vitamins like pyridoxine, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine as well as minerals like manganese, calcium, copper and iron. You can incorporate them in your diet in soups or stews or use them in salads and wraps.
This leafy vegetable is incredibly nutritious and is a very good source of vitamin K. It provides 76 µg or 95% DV of vitamin K in a 100 grams serving. It is also a good source of other vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B5 and vitamin B6. You can eat raw cabbage in salads or add pickled cabbage in rolls and fillings along with other vegetables.
Being packed with nutrients, this vegetable is known for its age and disease fighting properties. The best way to reap its benefits is to eat it steamed. A 100 grams serving of asparagus contains 80 µg which is equivalent to 100% DV of vitamin K. It is also rich in other nutrients like folate, fiber, vitamins A, C and E and chromium.
8. Curry, Paprika, and Cayenne Powder:
Chili powder is commonly used in India for flavoring stews, soups and other recipes. But few of us know that it is a good source of vitamin K, providing 106 µg or 132% DV of this vitamin in a 100 grams serving. It also contains high amounts of vitamins E and C. Other spices that are good sources of vitamin K include curry powder and paprika (7% DV each) and cayenne (5% DV) in a tablespoon serving.
Being loaded with nutrients like fiber, iron and zinc, prunes are considered great for your health. They are also good sources of vitamin K with 100 grams serving providing 60 µg or 74% DV of this vitamin and 6 µg or 7% DV in a single prune. These can serve as healthy snacks to fulfil your requirement of vitamin K and other nutrients as well.
10. Pickled Cucumber:
If you are fond of pickles, you have all the more reason to have pickled cucumber. The fact remains however that it is an amazing source of vitamin K. A 100 grams serving of pickled cucumber provides 77 µg or 96% DV of vitamin K. For best results and to get the abundant amount of vitamin K, it is advisable to eat the low sodium variety.
Carrots fall in the category of ultimate health foods. Being rich in antioxidant beta-carotene, they are great for your eyes. They are a good source of vitamin K. A single medium sized carrot contains 8 µg or 10% DV of vitamin K. Carrots are also rich in vitamin A and C, calcium and iron. Being rich in antioxidants, they provide protection against cancer and cardiovascular disease.
12.Sun Dried Tomatoes:
Sun dried tomatoes refer to ripe tomatoes that lose most of their water content by virtue of being dried in the sun for a long time. These tomatoes are a rich source of vitamin K with 100 grams serving providing 43 µg or 54% DV and a single piece of 2 grams providing 1 µg or 1% DV of vitamin K. You can use these tomatoes in several recipes to impart flavor as well as increase your vitamin K levels.
Celery is known for its rich variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is also a good source of vitamin K with 100 grams serving providing 29 µg or 37% DV of this vitamin. It is also rich in folate, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C.
Soybeans are known for their high content of protein. Soybean oil is also an amazing source of vitamin K with 100 grams serving providing 184 µg or 230% DV of vitamin K. So you can consider using this oil for cooking.
Cloves are used in both sweet and savory recipes. Ground cloves are an excellent source of vitamin K with one tablespoon of 7 grams providing 9.9 µg or 12% DV of this vitamin. You can easily make them a part of your diet by using them as an ingredient in your recipes.
You need to probably include vitamin K in your diet to rule out the health issues associated with its deficiency. Also, do not use vitamin K supplements unless your physician prescribes. Try to include all these foods regularly in your diet for enjoying its health benefits to the maximum. Feel free to share your feedback with us if any.