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4 Dietary Sources Of Vitamin K

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 18/10/2018 Sadhana Bharanidharan
a plate of food on a table: Broccoli can provide 110 micrograms of the vitamin in just half a cup, packing most of the RDV. © Ella Olsson/Unsplash Broccoli can provide 110 micrograms of the vitamin in just half a cup, packing most of the RDV.

Vitamin K does not get as much attention as some of the other vitamins, but it does play an important role in our health. The fat-soluble vitamin is essential for the clotting of blood, for one.

Medical literature has linked the nutrient to a positive effect on bone mineral density and a decrease in fracture risk. Experts believe it plays a role along with vitamin D to improve the absorption of calcium in the body i.e. the optimization of bone health.

Deficiencies are considered to be rare among adults, usually only occurring in newborn infants. Anyone who does have a deficiency may have an underlying condition affecting the absorption of the vitamin.

"People who have severe gastrointestinal disorders, such as gallbladder disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac or Crohn’s disease are unable to properly absorb vitamin K, so they are more susceptible to being deficient," said Dr. Sherry Ross, women's health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica.

The recommended daily value (RDV) of the nutrient is 120 micrograms for men and 90 micrograms for women. Here are four major dietary sources of the vitamin.

1. Leafy greens

We can never go wrong with leafy greens, can we? Kale, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, collard greens are some of the options that can provide between 100 to 400 percent of your RDV.

For a big boost in bone health, consider turnip greens (the edible stem and leafy green part of turnips) which are not only an excellent source of vitamin K but also contain one of the highest calcium contents per gram of any fruit or vegetable.

2. Nattō

If you have not heard of this traditional Japanese food, you may be missing out for more reasons than one. By consuming a three-ounce serving of natto, you gain up to 850 micrograms of the vitamin.

"The probiotics in these sticky fermented soybeans assist with digestion, while the vitamin K also plays an essential role in bone health," said registered dietitian Amy Shapiro, founder of Real Nutrition in New York City.

3. Broccoli

"Broccoli strengthens your immune system and removes free radicals and toxins from the body. It also helps maintain healthy skin and keeps your heart healthy," Shapiro said about the vegetable which can provide 110 micrograms of the vitamin in half a cup.

And the benefits do not stop there. The vegetable can also fight infections, regulate insulin, strengthen bones, aid weight loss, and has also been linked to a lowered risk of cancer. 

4. Beef Liver

Three ounces of beef liver contains up to 110 micrograms of the nutrient. In addition, it can also fulfill your needs for vitamin B12 and other B vitamins where deficiency is a lot more likely and impactful. 

While it also packs a protein punch and has the benefit of being a low-calorie, nutrient-dense meat, pregnant women and people suffering from gout are better off avoiding it.

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