Vitamin A, B, C and D get all the glory, as if the vitamins exist in the same sort of line-up-in-alphabetical-order, unjust universe of grade school. Life just isn’t fair for those middle children of the alphabet, is it? People never seem to get around to worrying about whether or not they get enough Vitamin K. Well, here’s why it matters and how to get it.
What is Vitamin K?
Often (or, truthfully, not that often) cited as the forgotten vitamin, Vitamin K plays crucial roles in bodily functions such as blood clotting, bone strengthening and brain bolstering. It works well with and is vitally needed by others, specifically calcium and Vitamin D, and it is fat-soluble, which means, in order to get the benefits, it should be consumed alongside some fat. (Thanks for that excuse!) Vitamin K comes in three varieties. K1 resides in green veggies and works hard to keep our blood healthy. K2 is made by bacteria, found in fermented foods, and works with the bones, blood vessels and bodily tissues. K3 is synthetic and should be treated as such: It has been linked to toxicity in infants. K2 is the most powerful form of Vitamin K, and the current goal—still being researched—is to have about 150-200 micrograms a day.
Where is Vitamin K?
There are plenty of plant-based foods that provide Vitamin K. The dark and delicious greens—kale, chard, spinach, and Romaine lettuce, as well as collard, mustard and turnip greens—are often packing some K1. The cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts and broccoli in particular, are also K1 contributors. And, let us not forget the renowned blueberry, titan of healthy eating. Other fruit sources of Vitamin K1 include prunes, grapes and raspberries. As for K2, the wonder version of Vitamin K, it can be found in fermented foods, which come with loads of other health benefits, as well. Natto, a Japanese fermented soy dish, contains the highest levels of all foods (take that meat sources!). However, I’ve never even seen natto, so more common options are sauerkraut, tempeh and kombucha.
5 Vitamin K Recipes from OGP
1. How to Make Kombucha
Kombucha is a funky fermented drink that is now available in stores, but why not make yourself? Then, you can further funk it up with your favorite flavors. Ginger kombucha is fantastic.
2. How to Make Raw Sauerkraut
Like pickles? Sauerkraut is the next step. It works like a charm beside or within sandwiches and makes for a great, flavorful snack in mid-afternoon. And, making your own is easy.
3. Baked Broccoli Burgers
Burgers are fun, and broccoli is rocking with nutritional benefits. Combine them, and that some fun healthy food sitting there beside your homemade raw sauerkraut.
4. Asian Slaw Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing
Vitamin K is in the cabbage and in the miso dressing, so this is a double up. Even better, miso does have some K2. Even better, there’s a ginger kicker. Super healthy salad.
5. All About Tempeh + 7 Tasty Recipes
Tempeh, being fermented, provides a little dose of the K2 we vegan need to be on the hunt for, so it’s worth sampling a few of these recipes. Tempeh is also really delicious.
Oh, K; doh, K. There you have it, so it’s time to go get it.
Image source: Asian Slaw Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing
ironically, the liver is not very efficient at converting K1 to K2. Vitamin K in plant sources is K1, that means vegans or vegetarians aren\’t getting adequate levels of K2.