Though calcium and vitamin D tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to building stronger bones, vitamin K is equally important, albeit less well known. This fat-soluble vitamin plays a vital role in strengthening bones and blood clotting, and can be found in several nutrient-packed plant-based foods, mostly in leafy green vegetables. Here’s a list of the top 7 vitamin K-rich foods to include in your diet on a regular basis, as well as some delicious recipes to tempt your tastebuds and benefit your bones!
This trendy green veggie can be used for more than just green smoothies, and is jam-packed with nutrients that make it worthy of its recent popularity. It can be added to salad, soups, stir-fries, and more, and could even be seasoned, baked, and transformed into some delicious kale chips. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, with half a cup (cooked) containing a whopping 443% of the RDA. Forget cow’s milk–kale is a true bone-building superstar! In addition to being loaded with vitamin K, kale is also rich in iron and calcium, and has numerous antioxidants that may protect against certain types of cancer. It can be consumed raw or cooked, but remember that cooking it for too long can destroy some of the nutrients, so it’s best to lightly steam or blanch it.
2. Swiss Chard
Swiss chard, despite its name, is not Swiss in origin, but actually originated in the Mediterranean region and goes by several other names such as silverbeet and perpetual spinach. It has a milder flavor than kale, as well as a softer texture, and is less bitter in flavor. One cup of chopped Swiss chard contains more than 300% of the RDA of kale, making it an excellent source of this vitamin. It is also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants. Swiss chard, in addition to boosting bone health, may also benefit the cardiovascular system and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure.
For recipe ideas, try out this Mediterranean-Style Rainbow Chard, or make some delicious Mushroom and Swiss chard Pasta with Creamy Rose Sauce.
3. Collard Greens
Collard greens are yet another nutrient-packed leafy green vegetables that can help build and maintain stronger bones. They are frequently used as a staple food in the Southern U.S. states, as well as in countries such as Brazil and Portugal. One cup of collard greens contains a staggering 858% of the RDA of vitamin K, making it a top-notch source of this particular vitamin. They are also a good source of vitamin A and folate, which is one of the B vitamins. Thanks to their fiber content and high levels of vitamin A, collard greens can help improve digestion and promote healthy skin and hair.
Popeye may have had the right idea after all when he gulped down copious amounts of this green veggie–but skip the canned stuff, which is lower in nutrients and has less flavor. Instead, enjoy the leaves either raw or lightly cooked, or perhaps blended into a green smoothie. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, and half a cup (cooked) contains approximately 555% of the RDA–pretty impressive! Spinach is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium, and antioxidants, making it a great choice to add to your grocery list.
Whether steamed, roasted, boiled, or eaten raw, broccoli is a nutrient-loaded vegetable that has plenty to offer in terms of both flavor and healthiness. It is a good source of vitamin K, with just half a cup containing nearly 100% of the RDA. Since vitamin K is fat-soluble, cooking broccoli in olive oil, or even covering it in non-dairy cheese (yum!) can improve how much your body absorbs. Broccoli is also a good source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and folate. It may even help reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health. All the more reason to eat more broccoli!
6. Brussels Sprouts
Despite their not-so-great reputation for being smelly and icky, Brussels sprouts can be both delicious and nutritious when prepared and seasoned properly (e.g. not overcooked!). They look like mini cabbages (they’re in the same family) and can be roasted, steamed, boiled, or even chopped and added to stir-fries and pasta dishes. Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin K, with one cup containing about 240% of the RDA. They are also a good source of vitamins A and C, and contain valuable antioxidants that can boost heart health.
Good for more than just guacamole, avocados are a delicious, nutritious, and versatile fruit that can be added to both sweet and savory dishes. Their creamy texture and heart-healthy fats make them an extremely healthy indulgence. Just half an avocado contains about 17% of the RDA–eat a whole avocado (who can stop at just half?) and you’re nearly halfway to the recommended minimum 90 micrograms per day. Avocados, in addition to their vitamin K content, can promote heart and eye health, and may even help maintain healthy blood pressure levels due to their potassium.
For related articles, read All About Vitamin K and How to Get It From Plant-Based Foods, or check out the Top Plant-Based Sources of Vitamin K.
For more tasty recipes that are rich in vitamin K, don’t forget to download the Food Monster App, which is available for Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based recipes, and subscribers gain access to new ones every day. Check it out–your bones will thank you!
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