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Vitamin K is as essential as all the other more commonly understood vitamins. Vitamin K plays a role in helping to regulate blood calcium levels, plays an important role in blood clotting, and is linked to bone and heart health. Though it is thought that vitamin K deficiency is rare, a lack of vitamin K could result in excessive bleeding, problems with bone density, and heart issues.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin K is at least 90 micrograms (mcg) a day for women and at least 120 mcg a day for men. This can usually be achieved by a healthy and balanced diet.
There are two types of vitamin K—vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Of the two, vitamin K1 is easier to find as it is present in more foods. Lots of leafy greens and other green veggies contain an abundance of K1. K2, on the other hand, is most commonly found in animal products. However, this is not the end of vitamin K2 for vegans! Some plant-based sources of K2 include natto (fermented soybeans), sauerkraut, tempeh, and kombucha.
Vitamin K is fat-soluble, meaning that eating some foods rich in healthy fats alongside vitamin K-rich foods helps with the absorption of the vitamin.
Let’s take a look at some awesome foods that you can eat to ensure you are getting enough vitamin K.
100g of cooked kale provides 418.5 mcg of vitamin K with one cup of raw kale providing 176 mcg. Kale is a great food for vitamin K and is versatile, too. You can eat it in soups and stir-fries or even add it to smoothies and green juices. Try making this Kale Walnut Pesto Pasta for a quick weekday dinner, or whizz up a Tropi-Kale Smoothie for a bright and healthy breakfast drink.
Source: Dr. Eric Berg DC/Youtube
Famous for its richness in iron, spinach isn’t shy of vitamin K, either. One cup of raw spinach provides you with 145 mcg, which is 121% of the daily recommended intake (DV); it is even higher in cooked spinach. Spinach is easy to slip into meals and cooks down well. You can use it raw to liven up salads, and it goes well in vegan quiches. How about baking up a batch of Spinach Muffins or get dipping into this Spinach and Garlic White Bean Dip.
3. Collard Greens
This southern staple is an amazing source of vitamin K. Just half a cup of cooked collards provides you with 386 mcg (322% DV). These greens are also packed with other vital vitamins and minerals, too, making them a must-have at some point. They can be used in much the same way you would use kale or mustard greens. They have a milder taste than kale and are especially sweet in the cooler months. Try cooking up some collards for breakfast with this recipe for Tofu Scramble and Collard Greens or make yourself a healthful lunch with these Blanched Collard Wraps.
Source: Earth Monkey/Youtube
4. Swiss Chard
One cup of cooked Swiss chard provides you with 477% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin K and is abundant in a host of other vitamins and minerals. Baby Swiss chard adds a bit of color to otherwise green salads and has a distinctly earthy flavor that comes out when they are steamed or cooked down with some garlic and salt. Make yourself this refreshing Rainbow Juice for a megavitamin boost, or grab a quick lunch with this Swiss Chard and White Bean Grilled Sammie.
5. Mustard Greens
Half a cup of cooked mustard greens provides you with 415 mcg (346% DV) of vitamin K. This is a unique green that comes with its distinct flavor. Mustard greens have that same peppery/horseradish flavor that we know from mustard the condiment. It is, however, a lot milder. Mustard greens can be eaten raw, but choose younger, more tender, leaves to add a little flavor to bland salads. You could also serve up a big bowl of Shiitake, Tofu, and Mustard Greens Soup for a warming supper.
We are moving away from the leafy veggies for a minute to give a nod to the mighty broccoli. One cup of cooked broccoli provides you with 220mcg of vitamin K. Broccoli is such a vibrant vegetable that adds color and texture to dishes. Cauliflower gets all the credit for making veggie rice, but broccoli can be transformed, too, as in this recipe for a Fried ‘Riced’ Broccoli Bowl. Broccoli is at its best when served simply as it is in this recipe for a Quick High-Protein Vegetable Stir-Fry.
Consult a medical professional before supplementing your diet with vitamin K or increasing your intake of it in any way. Those on blood-thinning medicines should be especially cautious.
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