If you're looking to maintain bone health and support healthy blood clotting, vitamin K is an essential nutrient to consider. This fat-soluble vitamin plays a vital role in various bodily functions, and it's important to consume enough of it in your diet. Fortunately, it's easy to boost your intake, as there are plenty of delicious foods that are high in vitamin K! In this article we'll share some of the top food sources and ways you can easily incorporate them into your diet.
Vitamin K2 is a nutrient that plays a vital role in bone health by regulating calcium metabolism. Vitamin K2 is mainly found in animal-based products like grass-fed whey and dairy, as well as in fermented foods.
On the other hand, vitamin K1 is primarily found in leafy green vegetables, and is used to activate blood clotting factors. Additionally, vitamin K2 has a longer half-life in the body than vitamin K1, meaning it stays in the bloodstream for longer periods, allowing it to exert its beneficial effects.
Vitamin K2 is essential for regulating our intake of calcium by ensuring it’s directed to the bones, where it is needed, rather than accumulating in soft tissues and arteries, which can cause harm. By maintaining calcium balance, K2 can help promote cardiovascular health, as well as promoting bone health.
Therefore, it’s essential to consume vitamin K2 directly from food sources or supplements. Vitamin K2 supplements are available alone or combined with other synergistic nutrients, such as calcium in certain multivitamins, or in some prenatal supplements.
The recommendations for vitamin K intake are outlined below:
Adding fruits that are high in vitamin K1 to your diet is an excellent way to boost your intake of this essential nutrient. Vitamin K1 is mostly found in leafy green vegetables, but it's also present in certain fruits. Consuming fruits high in vitamin K1 can help support healthy blood clotting and bone health, among other benefits. Let’s explore the nutritional benefits of some of the best sources of vitamin K1.
Prunes are a nutrient-dense fruit high in several essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K1. In fact, prunes are one of the best fruit sources of vitamin K1, with just one serving providing over 20% of the recommended daily intake. Additionally, prunes are also high in fiber, potassium, and antioxidants, making them a great food for promoting digestive health and protecting against oxidative stress.
Just one cup of blackberries contains approximately 28 mcg of vitamin K1, which is about one-third of the recommended daily intake. Additionally, blackberries are also high in fiber, and antioxidants. They're also low in calories, making them a great food for weight management. Whether you enjoy them fresh, frozen, or in smoothies, salads, or desserts, blackberries are an easy and delicious way to boost your vitamin K1 intake.
Pomegranate is a superfood that's loaded with essential nutrients, including vitamin K1. Just one cup of pomegranate seeds contains approximately 30 mcg of vitamin K1. In addition to vitamin K1, pomegranates are also rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and other beneficial compounds that may help regulate blood pressure and improve heart health.
Kiwi is a sweet and tangy fruit that's not only delicious but also packed with vitamin K1. Just one kiwi contains approximately 28 mcg of vitamin K1. Kiwis are also high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, making them a great food for promoting digestive health and protecting against cellular damage.
Avocado is considered a superfood because of its impressive nutrient profile. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fats. Among its many nutrients, avocado is also a great source of vitamin K1, with just one avocado providing approximately 30 mcg of this essential nutrient. Moreover, avocados are also high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and other beneficial compounds that may help maintain already normal cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
Just one cup of blueberries provides approximately 28 mcg of this essential nutrient. Blueberries are also high in antioxidants, which are powerful compounds that can help protect against cellular damage and oxidative stress. The antioxidants that are in blueberries have been shown to improve brain function and cardiovascular health. Blueberries can be enjoyed fresh, frozen, or in smoothies, muffins, or pancakes.
Along with the extensive fruit sources, we are now going to look at some of the best options for vegetables that are high in vitamin K.
Kale is often considered a nutritional powerhouse, and for good reason. In fact, just 4 ounces of cooked kale provides a whopping 936 mcg of vitamin K1, which is over 1000% of the recommended daily intake!
Collard greens are a leafy green vegetable that's packed with vitamin K1. One cup of cooked collard greens contains approximately 157 mcg of vitamin K1, which is over 150% of the recommended daily intake. Furthermore, collard greens are also high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and other beneficial compounds.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that's well-known for its nutrient-dense profile, and vitamin K1 is no exception. Actually, one cup of cooked spinach contains approximately 145 mcg of vitamin K1. Spinach also contains significant amounts of other nutrients like vitamin A, C, iron, and folate, which are critical for supporting good vision, immunological function, and red blood cell production.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that's packed with essential nutrients. Just one cup of cooked broccoli contains approximately 162 mcg of vitamin K1, which is more than 100% of the recommended daily intake.
Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable and a fantastic source of vitamin K1. Just one cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains approximately 156 mcg of vitamin K1. In addition, brussels sprouts are a rich source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, and other essential nutrients that can boost gut health and enhance immunity.
Due to their low calorie content and high nutritional value, green beans are a fantastic addition to any diet. Half a cup of cooked green beans contains approximately 43 mcg of vitamin K1, which is almost half of the recommended daily intake.
One cup of cooked green peas contains approximately 36 mcg of vitamin K1, which is more than a third of the recommended daily intake. Green peas are not only a great source of vitamin K1 but also a rich source of dietary fiber. One cup of cooked green peas contains approximately 9 grams of fiber. Fiber plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy digestion and promoting satiety. It helps to regulate bowel movements, and can even improve overall gut health by promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Parsley is a nutrient-rich herb that is commonly used as a seasoning in many dishes. It is also a rich source of vitamin K, with just one tablespoon of fresh parsley containing approximately 60 mcg of vitamin K1! Its fresh and aromatic flavor can add a unique and delicious taste to any meal, while also providing important nutrients.
One cup of raw cabbage contains about 68 mcg of vitamin K1. Also, cabbage contains several beneficial flavonoids, including quercetin and kaempferol. These flavonoids can help support healthy blood flow, cellular function, and cognitive health.
Sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage dish that is not only delicious but also packed with several essential nutrients, including vitamin K1. A 100-gram serving of sauerkraut contains approximately 13 mcg of vitamin K1, which is around 11% of the recommended daily intake. In addition, sauerkraut is an excellent source of dietary fiber and probiotics. The probiotics present in sauerkraut help to promote healthy gut bacteria, which can improve digestion and boost the immune system.
Unlike vitamin K1, vitamin K2 is mostly present in fermented foods and animal products. Foods high in vitamin K2 include fermented foods like miso, and natto, as well as fermented cheese and animal products such as eggs and meat. We will dive into the list and break down some of the best food sources of vitamin K2.
Fermented soy is an excellent source of vitamin K2, particularly in the form of natto. Natto is a traditional Japanese dish made by fermenting soybeans with the bacteria Bacillus subtilis. Studies have shown that consuming natto can improve bone health and support cardiovascular functioning. In addition to natto, other fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso also contain vitamin K2, making them a healthy addition to your diet.
Soybeans are another great source of vitamin K2, particularly when they are fermented. As mentioned earlier, fermented soy products like natto, tempeh, and miso contain significant amounts of vitamin K2. However, even non-fermented soybeans can provide a decent amount of this nutrient. Specifically, just half a cup of cooked soybeans contains around 43 mcg of vitamin K2. Soybeans are also a great way to increase your intake of plant-based protein.
While most animal products contain small amounts of vitamin K2, certain types of meat are better sources of this nutrient than others. Chicken breast, for example, is a good source of vitamin K2, with a 100-gram serving providing around 15 mcg. This may not seem like a lot, but it can still contribute to your overall daily intake, especially because vitamin K2 is highly absorbed by the body. Chicken breast is also a great source of lean protein, making it a popular choice for those looking to build or maintain muscle.
Egg yolk is a good source of vitamin K2. Just one large egg yolk contains approximately 15 mcg of vitamin K2. While egg yolks are often avoided due to their high cholesterol content, they do offer numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation. In addition to vitamin K2, egg yolks also contain essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Pork chops are a delicious cut of meat that can provide several nutrients to our body, including vitamin K2. Just 3 ounces of pork chops can contain up to 12 mcg of vitamin K2. Pork chops are also a good source of protein, iron, and zinc, which are essential for maintaining healthy muscles, blood cells, and immune function. It is important to choose lean cuts of pork and to limit the amount of added fats during cooking to ensure a healthy and balanced meal.
Ground beef is a great source of vitamin K2, with just one serving containing a significant amount of this nutrient. In fact, a 100-gram serving of ground beef can provide around 8.6 mcg of vitamin K2. It is crucial to go for high-quality, grass-fed beef, though, as this has been found to have more vitamin K2 than beef that has been raised conventionally. Overall, ground beef can be a valuable addition to a balanced diet because of its rich source of iron, protein, and vitamin B12.
Bacon, a popular breakfast food, may come as a surprise as a source of vitamin K2. However, bacon from pastured-raised pigs can contain up to 30 mcg of vitamin K2 per 100 grams. While it should still be consumed in moderation due to its high saturated fat content, it's good to know that bacon can be a part of a balanced diet that also provides some vitamin K2.
Gouda is a type of Dutch cheese that is known for its creamy texture and delicious flavor. It is also a good source of vitamin K2, as one 50-gram serving of gouda cheese contains approximately 32 mcg of vitamin K2. Gouda is also rich in calcium and protein, making it a great choice for those who want to support their muscular and skeletal system.
Blue cheese is a delicious and tangy cheese that is loved by many. Not only does it add a unique flavor profile to any dish, but it’s also a good source of vitamin K2. Just one ounce of blue cheese contains approximately 75 mcg of vitamin K2. This is great news for cheese lovers who want to make sure they are getting enough of this important nutrient.