Even though vitamin K is not usually mentioned as a dietary requirement, you need it for so many healthy body functions. The USDA recommends that adults get 90 mcg of vitamin k daily, keep reading to discover the health benefits and 10 best food sources of vitamin K.
Primarily vitamin K helps with Blood clotting and preserving strong bones. Aside from this, it heals wounds, preserves your blood vessels, prevents heart disease, lowers blood sugar levels, prevents bruising, reduces cancer risk and improves brain function. Here you will learn remarkable health benefits along with food sources of vitamin K.
Health Benefits of Vitamin K
Vitamin K has many health benefits both inside and outside of the body which can lead to a better aging result.
1. Reduce Wrinkles and Preserve Skin Elasticity Using Vitamin K
The vitamin K can help maintain your skin elasticity which helps prevent wrinkles so you have youthful skin longer.
There is a hereditary skin condition called pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). It’s caused by a high concentration of calcium and phosphote. This disorder results in severe skin wrinkling due to a calcification of elastic fibers. But Vitamin K may help because of a specific protein that it activates.
As mentioned above, Vitamin K can significantly improve blood circulation. This is the reason cosmetic companies use Vitamin K in their moisturizers, skin creams, lotions and face masks.
Using a Vitamin K based product can help reduce wrinkles , enhancing the color of the skin and normalizing the water-fat balance at the same time. So, if you’re looking to get plumper, younger looking skin, Vitamin K could be the answer you are looking for.
2. Improve Blotchy Skin Dark Circles Under the Eyes
Vitamin K can penetrate the skin to reach the damaged capillaries causing discoloration. It works to improve the blood clotting process and stop any seepage causing blotchy, discolored skin. This helps the skin to repair itself to its natural color.
You should see an impressive improvement in your skin (both wrinkles or blotchiness) by using Vitamin K based skin care products. Of course this is along with eating good food sources of Vitamin K and only using supplements when needed.
More on how to remove dark circles under your eyes here.
3. Brain and Neurological Support
There is a large concentration of Vitamin K (mainly K2) in your brain. If your diet includes foods with higher Vitamin K, it can support brain function.
There is also a powerful, natural antioxidant in your body called Glutathione (GSH). This enzyme acts as an anti-inflammatory and anti-toxin. It is believed that some neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons’s Disease and Lou Gehrigs’s Disease are related to low GSH levels.
Vitamin K foods will help brain cells to be healthier and more protected from neurological diseases. Studies have shown that Vitamin K (both Vitamin K1 and K2) help prevent injury to brain cells caused by free radicals.
4. Better Bone Health
Vitamin K plays an important role in bone health and metabolism.
Vitamin K helps activate a protein called Matrix Gla Protein which supports cartilage and bone. Vitamin K is also needed to activate a protein called osteocalcin. This protein circulates in the blood and binds calcium ions together with the matrix of the bone.
Osteoporosis is a metabolic bone disease due to low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. It causes bones to become brittle and more likely to break.
In the human body, there it is unlikely that any bone is more than 10 years old. Old bone is continually being soaked up and new bone is being built. Your body uses Vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and protein to do this. If you have a low Vitamin K2 intake, the lack of proteins needed to support cartilage and bone health lead to osteoporosis later on in life.
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin K?
Your vitamin K intake is incredibly important. If you’re not sure you have a Vitamin K deficiency look out for these symptoms.
- Gum bleeding
- Easy bruising
- Problems with blood clotting
- Heavy menstruation for women
- Gastrointestinal tract bleeding
15 Food Sources of Vitamin K
If you maintain a well-balanced diet of leafy greens and animal meats and products, a vitamin K deficiency is uncommon.
Helps with primarily with blood clotting. It’s found in plant foods like:
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as; basil, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, Mustard greens, turnip greens, spinach etc.
2. Spring onions
Spring onions are also called green onions. If possible eat them raw because cooking them depletes their mineral content. They are delicious as topping on soups or salads.
Spring onions are also an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron and manganese.
3. Brussel Sprouts
You either love Brussel sprouts or find them disgusting. But whatever your fancy, they are good for you! They have more vitamin C than other greens and they are loaded with Vitamin K with 39.5 micrograms per ounce.
If you don’t love them, try fermenting or pickling them. Or eat them with lots of olive oil, which will add good fats to your diet.
5. Green Beans
Green beans have about 43 mcg of vitamin K making them an excellent food source of vitamin K. If you make them part of your diet they can also reduce your chances of diabetes and obesity.
Besides being a good food source of vitamin K, cabbage has other beneficial nutrients like Vitamin A, iron, and fiber.
Besides being an source of fiber, protein and other essential minerals, broccoli is a excellent source of Vitamin K. You can discover more benefits of broccoli here.
Broccoli is a good source of:
- iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, and magnesium
- vitamins A, C, E, K and a good array of B vitamins including folic acid
Your brain cells and membranes are composed of high levels of fat. Besides being a food source of Vitamin K, they deliver Vitamin C, copper, fiber and potassium.
Though often referred to as a vegetable, the avocado is a fruit, technically a berry. The healthy monounsaturated fats found in avocados boosts heart health, and mashed or pureed avocado can replace butter in many recipes.
Kiwi fruit originally grew in China. They are high in Vitamin C and also rich in Vitamin K, antioxidants and fiber.
Blueberries are constantly referred to as one of the healthiest foods in the world because they contain one of the highest antioxidant densities of all vegetables, fruits or spices. Besides being high in Vitamin K, they can help regulate a healthy boood sugar level, promote a healthy immune system, deliver healthy cardiovascular benefits and improve mental function
It can take some time to get to the fruit of a pomegranate, but it’s worth it! It has been valued as a superfood since ancient times. In addition to Vitamin K, pomegranates are a good source of fiber, B vitamins, Vitamin C, and potassium.
12. Meats of Grass-fed Animals
Although the content of Vitamin K varies from animal to animal, the meat of grass-fed animals, especially their organs are excellent sources of Vitamin K2.
K2 is the nutrient that helps to regulate calcium in the body that helps to strengthen bones and maintain cardiovascular health.
You can get Vitamin K2 from meats, dairy and fermented foods. It is also produced by good bacteria found in your gut microbiome. Meats from grass-fed animals are an excellent source of Vitamin K2.
These next food sources are high in Vitamin K2.
13. Egg Yokes
14. Butter from Grass-fed Cows
15. Hard Cheeses
How long the cheese was fermented and where it was made determines the amount of Vitamin K available. Gouda made in the United States is low compared to Gouda made in the Neterlands which is higher in Vitamin K2. You would need to eat 6-8 ounces of hard cheeses daily to give you an optimal dose of Vitamin K.
Some Diets Lack Vitamin K
More and more people adopting a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle and Vitamin K can be lacking in their diets.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian you may be worrying about how to get the correct amount of Vitamin K2.
Well, Vitamin K1 is found in plant-based foods, so this will be easy for you to consume this form of Vitamin K in your diet. But, Vitamin K2 is found in animal meat and products. So, if you are vegetarian and eat cheese and eggs, these are a great source of Vitamin K2. If you are a Vegan, however, you may want to supplement.
If you eat a diet of processed foods and refined sugar you may not receiving the correct, ‘healthy’ number of vitamins and minerals you need. Processed foods lack Vitamin K. So swap these foods for healthier, greener foods to help increase your daily Vitamin K intake.
Supplementing with Vitamin K
If you feel you’re not getting adequate Vitamin K in your diet you may want to supplement.
There are a few things to bear in mind when picking out your Vitamin K supplement. First, always speak to a doctor or health-care professional if you feel there’s a possibility of having a vitamin deficiency.
Speaking to a medical professional is the most effective and efficient way to pick out the best supplement for your needs. This way they will be able to discuss symptoms you may be experiencing with you in detail.