Vitamin K Nutrition

Spinach is a good source of vitamin K.

Spinach is a good source of vitamin K.

Even though you don’t hear about vitamin K nearly as much as other vitamins, it is still an essential part of a healthy diet. Vitamin K helps to make proteins that your body needs for blood clotting. This fat-soluble vitamin is also essential for building strong bones. Although vitamin K is in a variety of foods, nearly one in four Americans do not get enough of the vitamin in their diet. Green, leafy vegetables are usually the primary source of vitamin K.

Include green vegetables in your diet. Vegetables such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli and leaf lettuce are an excellent source of vitamin K. Raw kale has one of the highest amount of the vitamin, containing 547 micrograms in a 1-cup serving.

Use oils that also contain vitamin K. Soybean oil, olive oil and canola oil all supply vitamin K. Soybean oil has the highest amount with 25 micrograms per serving in a 1-ounce serving size.

Eat raw leafy, green vegetables instead of cooked vegetables. Raw vegetables contain more vitamin K and other essential nutrients than cooked vegetables.

Monitor your vitamin K intake. The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine recommends adult women obtain at least 90 micrograms of vitamin K each day. Because there have been no known cases of toxicity of the natural forms of vitamin K, no tolerable upper level exists.

Watch for signs of vitamin K deficiency. Although many Americans do not consume the recommended dietary amount of vitamin K, deficiency is uncommon in healthy adults. The primary symptom of a deficiency is problems with blood clotting. People with vitamin K deficiency may also bruise or bleed easily and experience nosebleeds, blood in the urine, blood in the stool and heavy menstrual bleeding.

Warning

  • Consult your physician if you are concerned about vitamin K levels. People who are on blood-thinning medications need to carefully restrict their vitamin K intake because it can affect how these medications work.
 

About the Author

Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.

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