Discover the 6 benefits of foods with Vitamin K
Leafy greens and vegetables like broccoli and cabbage are loaded with vitamin K, an important nutrient that has been associated with better insulin sensitivity, lower cancer risk, and better heart health.
Not only that, but the benefits of vitamin K foods can also promote proper blood clotting and keep your bones strong. Oh yes, they also help keep vitamin K deficiency at bay.
However, vitamin K is not only found in vegetables. It can also be found in certain types of fruit, meat, dairy, and fermented foods, and is even produced within your own body by bacteria in your small intestine.
Getting enough of this vitamin is essential for health, and a deficiency can result in a long list of health problems. Read on to find out what you need to know about vitamin K and how you can make sure you’re getting enough in your diet.
Some evidence has found that vitamin K might help kill cancer cells and may even reduce cancer risk.
Interestingly, taking vitamin K1 is associated with a 75 percent reduction in cancer incidence. A higher intake of vitamin K2 is thought to be associated with a lower risk of cancer.
In addition, many foods rich in vitamin K are also part of the list of top antioxidant foods. Vitamin K foods like green leafy vegetables are packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage and lower cancer risk, making vitamin K foods some of the best foods against cancer.
Getting enough vitamin K in your diet is key to maintaining healthy bones. It is involved in bone metabolism and increases the amount of specific protein that is required to maintain calcium in the bones.
Several studies have found that increasing vitamin K intake can help reduce the risk of bone fractures; vitamin K1 supplementation cuts fracture risk in half.
On the other hand, a low intake of foods with vitamin K is associated with a reduction in bone mineral density in women.
For this reason, many women at risk for osteoporosis often supplement with vitamin K. Other natural treatments for osteoporosis include weight training several times a week, daily sun exposure, and eating plenty of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Perhaps the best known function of vitamin K is its role in promoting the formation of blood clots.
Blood clotting is an important process that helps stop excess bleeding as a result of injury. One of the first warning signs of a vitamin K deficiency is bleeding from the gums or nose along with easy bruising.
For this reason, those taking blood thinners such as Coumadin are recommended to moderate their intake of vitamin K; this works against vitamin K to help slow blood clotting.
Dramatic increases or decreases in vitamin K intake can interfere with and decrease the effects of these medications.
In addition to ensuring healthy blood clotting, eating plenty of foods rich in vitamin K can also improve your heart health in other ways.
Various investigations into the benefits of foods with vitamin K have shown, for example, that vitamin K1 slowed the progression of coronary artery calcification in older adults.
In addition, the beneficial effects of vitamin K1 on vascular calcification, a condition in which calcium deposits build up in the arteries and cause blood vessels to lose elasticity, have been confirmed.
Coronary calcification is believed to be a strong predictor of coronary artery disease; Increasing your intake of foods with vitamin K can help prevent its progression to keep your heart healthy and strong.
Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting sugar from the bloodstream to the tissues where it can be used for energy.
When you have a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, your body tries to produce more and more insulin to keep up.
Unfortunately, maintaining high levels of insulin can lead to a condition called insulin resistance, which decreases its effectiveness and results in high blood sugar.
Increasing your intake of vitamin K can help with insulin sensitivity to help maintain normal blood sugar levels. Vitamin K supplements help reduce the progression of insulin resistance in older men.
In addition to including plenty of foods with vitamin K in your diet, increasing your physical activity, keeping your carbohydrate intake in check, and eating plenty of foods rich in protein and fiber can also help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent resistance to insulin.
Vitamin K plays an important role in the nervous system and is also believed to support healthy brain function.
It is involved in the metabolism of sphingolipids, a class of compounds found in brain cell membranes that control cognitive and motor behavior.
It also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps protect the brain against oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. Oxidative stress can damage your cells and can even lead to the development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Although vitamin K supplements are considered safe for most people, those who are pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid vitamin K supplements that provide a higher amount of vitamin K than the recommended daily amount.
Also, if you have a history of stroke, cardiac arrest, or blood clotting problems, talk to your doctor before taking vitamin K.
If you take blood thinners, you should not take a vitamin K supplement and you should moderate your vitamin K intake.
Vitamin K and Coumadin can interact, causing a decrease in the effectiveness of your medications.
Check with your doctor or nutritionist if you have any concerns or need to discuss foods with vitamin K to avoid taking Coumadin.
Side effects of vitamin K are rare but may include decreased appetite, paleness, muscle stiffness, or shortness of breath. Stop use and talk to your doctor right away if you experience any of these side effects.
Finally, keep in mind that too much vitamin K can also be harmful. For best results, stick to food sources of vitamin K and use supplements only as directed to avoid adverse side effects.
This essential vitamin is found primarily in green vegetables, fruits, fermented foods, and animal products, making it easy to meet your needs through a healthy, balanced diet. Here are some of the best vitamin K foods:
•Leafy green vegetables, such as kale – ½ cup: 444 micrograms (more than 100 percent DV)
•Natto (fermented soybeans) – 2 ounces: 500 micrograms (more than 100 percent DV)
•Spring onions (scallion) – ½ cup: 103 micrograms (more than 100 percent DV)
•Brussels sprouts – ½ cup: 78 micrograms (98 percent DV)
•Cabbage – ½ cup: 82 micrograms (more than 100 percent DV)
•Broccoli – ½ cup: 46 micrograms (58 percent DV)
•Dairy (fermented) – ½ cup: 10 micrograms (10 percent DV)
•Prunes – ½ cup: 52 micrograms (65 percent DV)
•Cucumbers – 1 medium: 49 micrograms (61 percent DV)
•Dried basil – 1 tablespoon: 36 micrograms (45 percent DV)
Vitamin K is an important vitamin that plays a central role in many aspects of health.
There are two main types of vitamin K: vitamin K1 is commonly found in plant and vegetable foods, while vitamin K2 is found in animal products and fermented foods such as meat, dairy, and natto.
Including a serving of food with vitamin K at each meal can help you easily meet your needs. Supplements are also available to increase intake if needed as well.
Vitamin K has been shown to improve bone strength, promote heart health, increase insulin sensitivity, fight cancer, increase brain function, and ensure healthy blood clotting.
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