Vitamin K is an important vitamin that tends to be forgotten even though several popular foods have it.
There are three vitamin K’s: K1 which natural occurs in plants; K2, produced by bacteria and lines a person’s gastrointestinal tract; and finally K3, which is a synthetic form of vitamin K.
Making sure you’re getting the correct amount of vitamin K can be challenging.
For those who want to take the guesswork out of getting the proper amount you can take supplements or vitamins to meet your vitamin K needs.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, estimated average requirements (EAR) have not yet been developed for vitamin K.
What are some of the better foods packed with Vitamin K?
Some foods have more vitamin K than others. Some foods that are very high in vitamin K are the following:
- Kale – ½ cup serving has 660% Recommended Daily/Dietary Allowance (RDA)
- Turnip greens – ½ cup serving has 530% RDA
- Swiss chard – ½ cup serving has 360% RDA
- Parsley – ¼ cup serving has 300% RDA
- Spinach – ½ cup serving has 560% RDA
- Collards – ½ cup serving has 520% RDA
- Mustard greens – ½ cup serving has 260% RDA
Some foods have moderate levels of vitamin K and can be very beneficial as well:
- Brussels sprouts – ½ cup serving has 190% RDA
- Green leaf lettuce – 1 cup serving has 125% RDA
- Broccoli – 1 cup serving has 110% RDA
- Endive lettuce – 1 cup serving has 70% RDA
- Romaine lettuce – 1 cup serving has 70% RDA
Other vegetables that are often mistaken for higher sources of vitamin K are iceberg lettuce, asparagus, soybean oil and red cabbage. The foods listed above actually have a higher source of vitamin K per serving.
What are the benefits of Vitamin K?
One of the great things about vitamin K is that it’s a fat soluble vitamin. Because of this it’s crucial to several body functions.
An interesting fact about vitamin K is that it is named for the German word koagulation. Vitamin K is necessary for proper coagulation, which is a blood clot formation.
Another benefit of vitamin K its preventive attributes especially with heart disease and arterial plaque. Vitamin K can help to prevent the body’s arteries from hardening.
Hardened arteries contribute to heart disease and failure. By preventing this vitamin K in turn prevents serious illnesses. Some studies even show that vitamin K stops the calcification of arteries and tissues.
Studies have shown that vitamin K2 increases the production of the protein osteocalcin. Osteocalcin is a protein the bone tissues need in order to use calcium. Osteocalcin is also dependent on vitamin K.
A type of liver cancer called hepatocellular carcinoma has been shown to trigger a defense by vitamin K1. Vitamin K2 also has been shown in studies to help treat lung cancer and leukemia.
Coenzyme Q10 and vitamin are known for their anti-aging properties, but most don’t know that vitamin K actually has the same properties. Actually, vitamin K has proven to have more potent antioxidant and anti-aging benefits than both vitamin E and coenzyme Q10.
What happens when your body is deficient in K Vitamins?
While deficiency of vitamin K is not common in adults, it poses greater risks to newborns. With deficiencies in vitamin K there can be long term effects on the density of bones and also abnormal bleeding.
Infants and newborns have a certain risk for vitamin K deficiency. The first weeks of life are important and with a deficiency in vitamin K abnormal and life-threatening bleeding can occur.
There are several reasons for this: placenta’s limited ability to transport vitamin K during development of the fetus, lack of vitamin K in the intestinal wall at birth, immature liver and improper absorption problems.
In adults vitamin K deficiencies usually present themselves in abnormal bleeding. Much of the time this is associated with blood thinning drugs.
Easy bruising, nosebleeds, blood in urine and bleeding gums are signs of deficiency in adults. Some more serious symptoms are intracranial bleeding in or around the brain and gastrointestinal bleeding. Making sure you have the proper amount of vitamin K in your diet is therefore very important.
It’s important to take great care of your body not only with your diet, but with an exercise regimen as well. To find the best workout to help you achieve your fitness goals check out our library of workout plans now!