Vitamin K is a type of vitamin that is soluble in fat. It is well known to its role in blood clotting. Vitamin K is of two types as vitamin K1 and K2. Even vitamin K3 is also available but it is only artificially prepared. Vitamin K1is rich in plants and vitamin K2 is rich in animals and milk products. Vitamin K2 has many divisions in which MK-4 and MK-7 are of much important. As compared to vitamin K1, K2 has more health benefits. An average daily value of vitamin K is 80 mcg.
Vitamin K is essential for producing bone protein, clotting of blood during injury and preventing some forms of cancer. It prevents calcification of blood vessels, thus protects from heart attack. It even acts as antidote for rat poisoning. If vitamin K is deficient, it may cause uncontrollable bleeding, cardiac disease, weakening of bones, decay of teeth and cancer.
Basically vitamin K2 level is based on the intestinal health as this vitamin is mostly produced by beneficial bacteria of our intestine. Yet it has to be supplemented by diet to prevent deficiency disorders. The top 6 foods that are rich in vitamin K are as follows:
- Green leafy vegetables and herbs
They are the richest sources of vitamin K. They yield more than the daily value of vitamin K. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, turnip greens and beet greens gives more of this vitamin. At least half a cup of these vegetables are enough for a person. Herbs such as basil, coriander, parsley and marjoram (either fresh or dried) may boost more than the daily value of vitamin K. Half a cup of any of these herbs are enough for a person.
Consuming one cup of cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spring onions, chicory greens, garden cress, tomatoes, carrots and chicory greens will meet the daily value of vitamin K. Cucumber, cauliflower, lettuce and celery will provide at least half of its daily value. Adding any one of these vegetables daily in the food will meet the daily value.
- Fermented products
Fermented foods are high rich sources of vitamin K2. Especially consuming fermented soy (natto) will provide 100% of daily value and fermented dairy products will boost nearly 10% of daily value of vitamin K.
- Animal foods
The animal foods as chicken, meat, oysters, pork and beef are the richest sources of vitamin K2.
Spices such as pepper power, chili powder, cloves and curry powder will provide nearly 10% of daily value of vitamin K1.
- Dried fruit
Dried foods such as prunes, tomatoes, pears, nuts and figs are excellent sources of vitamin K. All types of fresh berries as blackberries, blueberries, mulberries and raspberries are rich in vitamin K1.
Vitamin K is mostly a forgotten vitamin. The functions of vitamin K and vitamin D are interdependent. Lack of one vitamin may affect other. Therefore an effective supplementation of these 2 vitamins is much needed. Vitamin K rich foods should be taken to remain free from both vitamin K & D deficiency disorders. But there should be caution while consuming vitamin K supplements in case of pregnancy, brain stroke and clotting disorders.
By Chitra Dev