Here’s how to get more of “the clotting vitamin” on your plate
Vitamin K is an important nutrient that is necessary for your blood to clot. It has also been shown to help support bone health, and it works to protect against chronic inflammatory diseases like cardiovascular disease and dementia. Vitamin K is fat soluble and comes in two forms: K1 (phylloquinone) and K2 (menaquinone), but where can you get it? Here are 10 food sources of vitamin K.
It’s recommended that adult women get 90 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K each day, while adult men should aim for 120 mcg. Leafy green vegetables like spinach are a good place to start if you’re looking to up your vitamin K intake. One cup of spinach has 145 mcg of vitamin K, making it easy to hit that daily target. Start your day with these Spinach Chickpea Waffles.
Kale is another leafy green vitamin K powerhouse, with just one cup providing 113 mcg of vitamin K. Like other plant sources, kale primarily provides vitamin K in its K1 form. K1 accounts for about 90 percent of all the vitamin K in the average diet. If you’re looking for a little kale inspiration to get your daily K1, try this Grilled Chicken Broccoli Caesar or this Cream of Kale Soup.
Just one cup of Brussels sprouts offers 220 mcg of vitamin K. While this may sound like a lot of vitamin K, it’s good to remember that your body can’t absorb all of it. Vitamin K1 binds tightly to plant chloroplasts, inhibiting some of its bioavailability. Eating your veggies with a bit of fat—such as the olive oil in these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shiitake Mushroom XO Sauce—can help boost your body’s absorption of vitamin K.
While most of the vitamin K in your diet may be K1, you can get K2 from animal sources, such as tuna. Both K1 and K2 play an important role in your body, including healthy blood clotting, but recent research suggests that K2 could provide further health benefits—independent of K1—such as inhibiting cancer cell activity. You can get your K2 in this delicious Grilled Tuna with Orange, Fennel, and Citrus Beer Dressing.
You can also get K2 from fermented foods, like natto—a Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans. A 100 gram serving of natto can provide 108 mcg of K2. Fermented foods are good sources for K2 because this form of vitamin K has mostly bacterial origins. In fact, bacteria that live in your gut help to make some of your own K2. You can learn more about cooking with fermented foods like natto in this alive.com article.
Many types of algae offer more vitamin K1 than terrestrial plants. Spirulina packs a powerful nutritional punch and offers 25.5 mcg of vitamin K for every 100 grams, giving you a great reason to try this Rejuvenating Spirulina Smoothie or this Iced Green Matcha and Spirulina Lemonade.
Packed with nutrients, one hard-boiled egg contains 4 mcg of vitamin K2. Not only are they delicious but eggs offer lots of body benefits, including helping to protect you from cardiovascular disease—thanks, in part, to its K2 content. Research shows that K2 can prevent hard deposits from forming on artery walls, boosting circulation and reducing the risk of heart disease in the process. These Huevos Rancheros Egg Cakes can make a great, heart-healthy breakfast.
With a cup of avocado offering 50 mcg of vitamin K, you have a new reason to reach for this nutrient-dense delight. Not only are these Avocado and Salmon Cocktails delicious but you’ll also get an extra hit of vitamin K from the avocado and salmon combo.
While avocado is the only fruit in this list, it certainly isn’t the only fruit offering up some vitamin K—pomegranate, blueberries, grapes, and apples are just a few other notable fruit sources of this valuable nutrient.
A delicious snack, cashews offer protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. They’re also a tasty way to get your vitamin K, with 100 grams of cashews offering 34 mcg. Add a satisfying crunch to your dinner and get some vitamin K in the process with this Fried Black Rice with Chicken and Cashews. Plus, check out some more health benefits that cashews and other nuts can offer in this alive.com article.
While vitamin K deficiencies are very rare and most American diets contain enough of the vitamin, there are some cases where supplementation may be needed. You’ll find vitamin K in many multivitamins—normally in amounts that are less than 75 percent of the daily recommended intake. Your doctor will be able to advise if a vitamin K supplement is needed.