How Do I Get More Vitamin K into My Diet?

What is vitamin K, and why does it matter for good health? How do I get more vitamin K into my diet? How much do I need? Sharon answers your top questions.

What’s so special about Vitamin K? Well, this critical micronutrient plays an integral role in your health and body function. Meeting your vitamin K needs is important for good bone health, heart health, and blood clotting. The most common sources of vitamin K are found in dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and some whole grains. These foods, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, rice, and pasta, are easy to incorporate into your diet, especially if you’re striving to eat more plant-based foods. They make a great addition to grain bowls, salads, pastas, sandwiches, and more. Today, I’m answering your top questions on the importance of vitamin K.

How Do I Get More Vitamin K into My Diet?

Edamame Brown Rice Salad with Chard

Question: What are some of the biggest health advantages to consuming foods that are rich in vitamin K? Who needs vitamin K most?

Sharon’s Answer: Vitamin K plays an important role in numerous body functions, including blood coagulation, heart health, and bone health. Adequate intake also may help reduce risk of certain cancers, and improve insulin sensitivity. Those that have a risk for these conditions may benefit the most. Also, people who have conditions, such as digestive issues, may not absorb enough in their diets. However, it’s important for everyone to aim to get sufficient vitamin K in their diets for optimal health. Studies show that 8 to 31 percent of healthy adults have a deficiency in vitamin K. However, a clinically significant case of vitamin K deficiency is pretty rare in the US. Bacteria in the colon can make some vitamin K, too.

Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Hemp Seeds

Question: What are some of the best ways for people to get more vitamin K in their diet?

Sharon’s Answer: Men need 120 mcg of vitamin K daily, while the recommended intake for women is 90 mcg. Top sources of vitamin K are found in a lot of healthy foods we should be eating more of: green leafy vegetables, like spinach, turnip or mustard greens, chard, lettuce; cruciferous veggies such as brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage. Smaller amounts are from grains, fish, liver, meat, and eggs.

Question: Are there any possible drawbacks to getting too much vitamin K?

Sharon’s Answer: If you are on warfarin, vitamin K can interact with the medication; it’s important to get a stable source of vitamin K in your diet, so that you don’t have a risk of bleeding (if you consume less) or of blood clots (if you consume more).

Balsamic Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Farro

Question: Some people may not like the foods that are rich in vitamin K. What tips would you offer to them for getting more vitamin K into their diet?

Sharon’s Answer: Try finding ways to fit more leafy greens into your diet. Of course, a daily salad is a great idea, but you can also sneak those greens into smoothies, pasta dishes, or casseroles. Try roasting cruciferous veggies, such as brussels sprouts or broccoli to make them taste even better.

Try these recipes that contain good sources of vitamin K:

Kale Tofu Power Bowl with Turmeric Hemp Crunch
Edamame Brown Rice Salad with Chard
Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower with Hemp Seeds
Balsamic Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts with Farro

 

Check out the other nutrition questions I’m answering at The Plant-Powered Dietitian:

Should I Avoid Juice?
Can I Be Deficient in Vitamin A?
How Do I Get Men to Eat Plants?
How to Grill Vegetables in a Grill Basket?

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