Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble compounds that play a key role in blood clot formation and in the prevention of excessive bleeding. It acts as a co-factor in the synthesis of clotting factors II, VII, IX and X. In addition, it is used to reverse the effects of blood thinning medications when too much is given or is used to treat bleeding that may be caused by certain medications such as salicylates and antibiotics. Also, Vitamin K helps in the prevention of heart disease and is a crucial part of other bodily processes. Vitamin K2 specifically, is taken by mouth as a treatment for osteoporosis and bone loss that is caused by steroids. It is also used to lower cholesterol levels in individuals undergoing dialysis. Thus, it is very important to consume foods that are high in Vitamin K on a daily basis.
The three types of Vitamin K are: a) Also called Phylloquinone, Vitamin K1 can be found naturally in plants, especially green vegetables. It goes directly to your liver and aids in maintenance of healthy blood clotting; b) Also called Menaquinone, Vitamin K2 is produced from the bacteria lining the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin K2 then goes straight to the blood vessel walls, bones, and tissues other than the liver. Although there has not been an exact dosing established yet, it is generally recommended that adults should consume anywhere from 45 mcg to 185 mcg daily; c) Also called Menadione, Vitamin K3 is a synthetic form and is not generally recommended due to reports of toxicity occurring within infants.
Below are the top 10 food sources that have the highest levels in Vitamin K with their corresponding specified portion.
1 cup = 1062.10 mcg 1180% DRI/DV
Kale or borecole is a vegetable that is considered to be closer to wild cabbage. It has been regarded as one of the healthiest foods in the world and is popular for its high concentrations of Vitamin K. Additional vitamins that can be found at high concentrations in Kale include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Manganese, and many others.
1 cup = 888.48 mcg 987% DRI/DV
Spinach belongs to the chenopod family, along with beets, chard and quinoa. It has also been known to have anti-inflammatory properties, and can help protect you from oxidative-stress related problems, cardiovascular problems, bone problems, and cancer. Spinach has significantly high levels of Vitamin K and other essential compounds including Manganese, Folate, Vitamin K, Magnesium, and many others.
3. Mustard Greens
1 cup = 829.78 mcg 922% DRI/DV
Along with Mustard Greens’ high Vitamin K levels, it also contains a high percentage of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and copper. Moreover, there has been a strong connection with mustard greens and the prevention of cancer. This is attributed to the special nutrients they provide to our bodies’ detox, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory systems.
4. Collard Greens
1 cup = 772.54 mcg 858% DRI/DV
Aside from being an excellent source of Vitamin K, Collard greens contain significantly high levels of Vitamin A, manganese, Vitamin C, and other essential compounds. Like Mustard greens, Collard greens also play an important role in cancer prevention by acting on the body’s detox, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory systems.
5. Beet Greens
1 cup = 696.96 mcg 774% DRI/DV
Beet greens are an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. They are also an excellent source for Lutein, a carotenoid that is important for eye heath.
6. Swiss Chard
1 cup = 572.77 mcg 636% DRI/DV
Swiss Chard is not only one of the most famous vegetables in the Mediterranean, but it is also one of the most nutritious vegetables. It belongs to the chenopod family along with Spinach, beets, and quinoa. It is an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and many other essential compounds.
7. Turnip Greens
1 cup = 529.34 mcg 588% DRI/DV
Like all the other vegetables, Turnip Greens are a great source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and many other essential compounds. It also plays a role in cancer prevention by acting on the body’s detox, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory systems.
1 cup = 498.56 mcg 554% DRI/DV
Aside from being an excellent source of Vitamin K, Parsley has been found to inhibit tumor formation in the lungs and can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens.
1 cup = 220.12 mcg 245% DRI/DV
Broccoli is known to be an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Chromium, and many other essential compounds. It influences the development of cancer and its relationship to the three metabolic problems: chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, and inadequate detoxification.
10. Brussels Sprouts
1 cup = 218.87 mcg 243% DRI/DV
Brussels Sprouts are known for their high levels of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and folate. It has also been shown to play a role in cancer prevention by acting on the body’s detox, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory systems.
What If I Don’t Get Enough Vitamin K?
Although a Vitamin K deficiency is rare, prolonged use of antibiotics can disrupt Vitamin K synthesis or can impair fat absorption. A deficiency in Vitamin K may result in the following:
- Decreased Calcium in bones and Increased risk of getting Osteoporosis
This is because a Vitamin K deficiency is thought to cause impaired activation of bone matrix protein osteocalcin, and reduction of osteoblast function, thus resulting in impaired bone formation.
- Bleeding and bruises
In general, vitamins and minerals are important components of our diet. They aid in keeping our bodies functioning and in helping prevent various kinds of deficiencies or illnesses. Vitamin K in particular, should not be disregarded in our diet and we should make it a practice to eat foods that are rich in it.
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