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14 Vitamin K-Rich Foods And Spices You Should Eat

Vitamin K-Rich Foods

Ramp up vitamin K intake with greens like kale, spinach, and turnip greens or cruciferous veggies Brussels sprouts, broccoli, or cabbage. Pumpkin, carrot juice, and pomegranate juice make the cut too. For an instant and easy boost, try parsley, coriander, and basil or cloves and curry powder!

Vitamin K deficiency is not common in healthy adults because it is widely available in many foods and synthesized in the gut but infants and the elderly are susceptible. Prolonged antibiotic intake or bowel disorders can cause a deficiency. So can cancers, kidney problems and dialysis, and other serious illnesses that require care in intensive units.1 2

Your blood just can’t do without its dose of vitamin K. That’s right, this lesser known vitamin helps with blood clotting and prevents excessive bleeding when you are injured or are undergoing surgery, for instance. In addition, the vitamin may also play a role in maintaining good bone health in the elderly. Getting enough vitamin K from your diet doesn’t have to be that hard as there are plenty of foods rich in the nutrient. While some are obvious, others like herbs and spices may not have been on your radar. We’ve lined up plenty of ideas on naturally amping up your vitamin K levels through some delicious foods! As you’ll notice, the list is dominated by vegetable and fruit sources of the nutrient. While animal sources do contain some amount of the vitamin, this is not comparable to the levels you’ll find in things like green leafy vegetables. So it’s mainly about going green!

Some obvious signs of a vitamin K deficiency include:3 4

 

  • Bruising easily
  • Bleeding from the gums or the nose
  • Bleeding excessively when you are hurt, been injected, or had surgery done
  • Heavier than normal menstrual periods
  • Bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, with blood in your urine or stool

Adequate Intake For Vitamin K Is 120 mcg For Men, 90 mcg For Women

Data on vitamin K recommended daily intake levels is limited, but the Food and Nutrition Board has established the adequate intake (AI) levels for vitamin K. This is another way to gauge how much of the nutrient you need. Adult men need 120 mcg of vitamin K and women need 90 mcg a day, even when they are pregnant or lactating.5 The updated daily value (DV) for vitamin K, set by the United States Food and Drug Administration, is 120 mcg for all adults and 90 mcg for pregnant/lactating women, going up from the 80 mcg for adults prescribed earlier.6

Here’s what you need to eat for a daily dose of this vital vitamin. As you’ll notice, the list is dominated by vegetable and fruit sources of the nutrient. While animal sources do contain some amount of the vitamin, this is not comparable to the levels you’ll find in things like green leafy vegetables.

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

Half a cup of boiled kale has around 531 mcg of vitamin K.

Stock up on those leafy greens if you’d like to increase your vitamin K intake. Most of them are rich sources of the vitamin and can be used easily in stir-fries, soups, pasta, salads, and more. Just pick those that have a flavor you enjoy.

  • Half a cup of boiled kale has around 531 mcg of vitamin K (442.5% DV).7
  • Half a cup of spinach contains 444.25 mcg of vitamin K (370% DV).8
  • Collard greens have 386.25 mcg of the vitamin per half cup (322% DV).9
  • You could also give beet greens a go – they contain 348.5 mcg of vitamin K (290.4% DV) per half cup.10
  • Swiss chard is another green that you could try. It has 286.4 mcg of the vitamin per half cup (238.7% DV).11
  • Turnip greens have 264.65 mcg of vitamin K per half cup (221% DV).12

2. Cruciferous Vegetables

Half a cup of broccoli has 110 mcg of vitamin K.

  • Half a cup of broccoli: 110 mcg of vitamin K (91.7% DV)
  • Half a cup of Brussels sprouts: 109.4 mcg (91.2% DV)
  • Half a cup of cooked cabbage: 81.5 mcg (67.9% DV)

Another group of vegetables that have a good amount of vitamin K is cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. Half a cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has 109.2% DV4 mcg (91.2% DV), half a cup of broccoli has 110 mcg (91.7% DV), and half a cup of cooked cabbage contains 81.5 mcg (67.9% DV).13 14 15

Saute them lightly in a pan, roast them in the oven, or even chargrill some broccoli or Brussels sprouts – they might be quite the revelation! Sprinkle roasted garlic or bacon bits for added flavor. These vegetables also feature heavily in many light and flavorsome Asian inspired stir-fry recipes so give those a go too! Or make them a staple of a healthy Buddha bowl. Whatever you try, you’ll find these veggies can be quite addictive once you get a hang of the flavors.

3. Scallions

Half a cup of chopped scallions has 103.5 mcg of vitamin K.

Half a cup of chopped scallions: 103.5 mcg of vitamin K (86.3% DV)

Half a cup of chopped scallions contain 103.5 mcg of vitamin K (86.3% DV) and can brighten up a plate instantly.16 Scatter them over a protein meal, toss them through an Asian stir-fry, add them to a steaming hot bowl of Vietnamese style pho or any clear broth or noodle soup. Or celebrate them in a recipe like bacon-wrapped scallions that use the entire scallion, from green tip to white bulb. Char them off and enjoy as a side to a steak or chicken meal, drizzling some miso sauce for an interesting twist.

4. Prunes

Half a cup of prunes has 103.5 mcg of vitamin K.

Half a cup of prunes: 103.5 mcg of vitamin K (86.3% DV)

Whether you like your prunes plain or as a cooking ingredient, the vitamin K they contain will stand you in good stead. Half a cup of prunes has 103.5 mcg of vitamin K or 86.3% DV.17 Make a batch of banana prune muffins, serve them with braised pork in a delicious meaty sweet sauce, top your porridge with them, or end your meal with a comforting chocolate and prune steamed pudding.

5. Celery

Half a cup of celery stalks has 28.35 mcg of vitamin K.

Half a cup of celery stalks: 28.35 mcg of vitamin K (23.6% DV)

Half a cup of celery stalks chopped up have 28.35 mcg of vitamin K (23.6% DV).18 Celery can do more than anoint your Bloody Mary cocktail! Make a Thai style celery salad peppered with crunchy peanuts or indulge in a creamy celery soup to whet your appetite. Celery also sits well alongside seafood like salmon, with a lightly grilled or poached chicken main, or on toast with nut butters.

6. Soybeans And Edamame

Half a cup of soybeans: 43 mcg (35.8 % DV) Half a cup of edamame has 21 mcg.

  • Half a cup of soybeans: 43 mcg (35.8 % DV)
  • Half a cup of edamame: 21 mcg (17.5% DV)

Soybeans both mature and green as edamame are a rich source of vitamin K. While the matured seeds can be roasted off with spices to give you 43 mcg per half cup serving (35.8 % DV), edamame has 21 mcg per half cup (17.5% DV) of prepared beans.19 They’re both equally delicious. You could also add them to a one-pot meal with rice, meat, and veggies, or whip up delicious stews and casseroles with them.

7. Asparagus

Half a cup of asparagus has 45.5 mcg

Half a cup of asparagus: 45.5 mcg (37.9% DV)

Asparagus packs in 45.5 mcg of vitamin K per half cup of cooked chopped vegetable. That’s about 30.4 mcg for every 4 spears you eat. Which means this delicious side to a meal can get you 37.9% DV or 25.3% DV depending on how much you eat.20 Choose to make the mainstay of your meals and you’ll be getting even more vitamin K. Lightly pan fry them or blanch them and drizzle with a lemony buttered sauce, roast them and grate over some cheese, or add them to a pasta with some seafood. Roast them, saute them, or just lightly steam them – whatever you do, they’re bound to turn out delicious!

8. Carrot Juice

Three-quarter cup of carrot juice has 28 mcg.

Three-quarter cup of carrot juice: 28 mcg (23.3% DV)

If you find eating vegetables tedious, how about drinking up your vitamin K in a refreshing juice? This may be a form that’s more palatable than most if you don’t care for vegetables or raw food! A 3/4 cup serving has 28 mcg of vitamin K, which amounts to 23.3% DV.21 Drink it plain or blend it with fresh oranges or apples if you like your juices sweet.

9. Canned Pumpkin

Half a cup of canned pumpkin has 20 mcg.

Half a cup of canned pumpkin: 20 mcg (16.7% DV)

Fancy some pumpkin pie after your main meal? Can’t pass up on a bowl of warming pumpkin soup? You’re in luck because this golden yellow vegetable is another good source of vitamin K. The canned version has more of the vitamin, so this is one time you may want to choose the convenience of the can over the fresh form. There is 20 mcg of vitamin K per half cup of pumpkin – that’s 16.7% DV.22 Fresh boiled pumpkin has just around 1 mcg of the vitamin per half cup of mashed vegetable.23

10. Pomegranate Juice

Three-quarter cup of pomegranate juice has 19 mcg.

Three-quarter cup of pomegranate juice: 19 mcg (15.8% DV)

Another juice you could turn to for your vitamin K intake is pomegranate juice. It has 19 mcg (15.8% DV) per three-quarter cup serving.24 Add it into a glaze for meats and poultry, stir it into exotic middle eastern dips like Muhammara to sweeten gently, or just pour yourself a tall glass of the ruby red liquid and enjoy!

11. Blueberries

Half a cup of blueberries has 14 mcg.

Half a cup of blueberries: 14 mcg (11.7% DV)

Blueberries may not have as much vitamin K as vegetables like spinach or even dried plums or prunes but they do contain a good 14 mcg or 11.7% DV per half cup.25 They’re so easy to use too! Just sprinkle them over your muesli or porridge or toss them into a simple cake or cookies to make them so much more delicious. You could even whip up a range of lovely fresh desserts like cheesecake, pancakes, or homemade jams and jellies with the berries.

12. Chicken

3 oz serving of chicken has 13 mcg

3 oz serving of chicken: 13 mcg (10.8% DV). While other animal proteins fish or beef do contain some vitamin K, the quantities are lower than in greens and other vegetarian sources.

Enjoy your chicken? There is 13 mcg of vitamin K per 3 oz serving, which is 10.8% DV.26 Chicken is a mild tasting protein that can work in an Indian curry and kebab meal or as Korean style fried chicken, just as well as it does with a mild creamy sauce and vegetables or an Italian style chicken parmigiana.

13. Herbs

Fresh parsley, ¼ cup has 246 mcg of vitamin K.

  • Fresh parsley, ¼ cup: 246 mcg of vitamin K (205% DV)
  • Fresh coriander, ¼ cup: 12.4 mcg of vitamin K (10.3% DV)
  • Fresh basil, ¼ cup: 24.9 mcg of vitamin K (20.7% DV)
  • Dried basil, 1 tbsp: 36 mcg of vitamin K (30% DV)

In addition to green leafy vegetables, there’s another kind of green that can add to your vitamin K intake – herbs. If you enjoy the verdant green that parsley brings to the dish, tuck in! There’s 246 mcg of vitamin K (a whopping 205% DV) in every quarter cup.27 For a herby flavor, use as a cooking ingredient, in a green salsa or sauce, or as a garnish. A quarter cup of cilantro/coriander leaves has 12.4 mcg (10.3% DV) of the vitamin.28

If you cook Italian food a lot or enjoy the scent of basil in your food, basil can be a wonderful way to up your vitamin K intake. Dried basil has 36 mcg of vitamin K (10% DV) in a tablespoon29 Swap those for fresh basil leaves and you’ll get around 24.9 mcg of vitamin K (20.7% DV) for every quarter cup you add to your meal.30 Other herbs like sage, thyme, marjoram, and oregano are good choices too.

14. Spices

Rounding off this list is a sprinkling of spices that can contribute to your vitamin K intake. Even though you may not have large amounts of them, the use of these spices in small quantities over the course of the day can add up.

  • A tablespoon of ground cloves has 9.2 mcg of vitamin K (7.7% DV)31
  • Curry powder contains 6.3 mcg of vitamin K (5.3% DV) in every tablespoon.32
  • A tablespoon of paprika gives you 5.5 mcg of the clotting vitamin, amounting to 4.6% DV.33
  • Cayenne pepper has 4.3 mcg (3.6% DV) in a spoonful.34

As you can see, vitamin K doesn’t have to be that elusive. From large servings of green leafy vegetables in salads or soups or as sides to a tiny sprinkling of spices and herbs to round off a recipe, there are plenty of delicious ways to add vitamin K to your diet. So, tuck in and enjoy your new improved vitamin K rich diet with these ideas!

References   [ + ]

1, 3. Vitamin K. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
2, 4. Vitamin K Deficiency. American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
5, 14, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26. Vitamin K. Office of Dietary Supplements.
6. Labeling Daily Values. National Institutes of Health.
7. Kale, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
8. Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
9. Collards, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
10. Beet greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
11. Chard, swiss, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
12. Turnip greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
13. Brussels sprouts, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
15. Cabbage, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
16. Onions, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb), raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
17. Plums, dried (prunes), uncooked. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
18. Celery, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
20. Asparagus, cooked, boiled, drained. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
22. Vitamin K.Office of Dietary Supplements.
23. Pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained, with salt. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
27. Parsley, fresh. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
28. Coriander (cilantro) leaves, raw. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
29. Spices, basil, dried. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
30. Basil, fresh. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
31. Spices, cloves, ground. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
32. Spices, curry powder. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
33. Spices, paprika. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.
34. Spices, pepper, red or cayenne. United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.