There’s no doubt that you are familiar with how essential vitamins are to your health. You’re probably very well aware of some of the most important ones, too, such as the B vitamins, vitamin C, D and E. You are also probably pretty familiar with what these important vitamins do for your health (vitamin C strengthens the immune system, for example,) and you may even be making sure that you are either getting them through your diet or supplements.
Did you know, though, that there is a super important vitamin that you may not be familiar with?
– Vitamin K. It is just as essential as all the other vitamins, and it does so many incredible things for the body; however, many people aren’t aware of how important vitamin K is, and aren’t getting enough of it.
Vitamin K is a term used to describe a collection of fat-soluble compounds; in other words, there is more than one type of this vitamin (just like the B vitamins.) The two different K vitamins include:
– K1, also known as phylloquinone, which occurs naturally in plants, particularly green veggies. This vitamin goes right to the liver and helps maintain healthy blood clotting.
– K2, or menaquinons, is produced by bacteria that line the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. This vitamin keeps the walls of the blood vessels strong, as well as the bones tissues. It is found in egg yolks, organ meats and different types of dairies.
In all, the K vitamins do several important things for the body. They help to regulate blood clotting, transport calcium through the body, strengthen the bones, and help to prevent the calcification of the arteries. In other words, vitamin K can help to prevent heart attacks, reduce bone loss, ensure your blood clots properly when you sustain an injury, and can lower the risk of bone fractures.
Given the important jobs that vitamin K does, you definitely want to make sure that you are getting enough of it. What’s the easiest way to do that? Make sure you are eating a diet that is rich in K vitamins. The amount of vitamin K you need on a daily basis depends on your age and your gender; the recommended daily intake for adult males is 120 micrograms, and for adult women, the recommended daily intake is 90 micrograms.
If you’re looking to up your vitamin K intake, here’s a look at 19 foods that you are going to want to add to your diet.
Though it’s often used as a garnish, you should really consider serving kale as a part of a main dish or as a side dish. One cup of kale serves up nearly 550 micrograms of vitamin K, which is more than 100 percent of the recommended daily intake for both men and women – and its low in calories, too. You can chop up raw kale and add it to a salad, mix it into a hearty soup, or steam it and top it with salt and pepper for a healthy side dish.
These small, sweet berries are a nutritional powerhouse. One cup of blueberries will give you 28.56 mcg of vitamin K, which is about 36 percent of the recommended daily intake. In addition, you’ll get other valuable nutrients, such as fiber, potassium, iron, copper and zinc. There are so many ways you can add blueberries to your diet: eat them as-is for a tasty snack; mix them into yogurt; top a bowl of cereal with them, or mix them into a salad.
This green veggie offers tons of flavor and is a good source of vitamin K, too; 1 medium stalk serves up nearly 12 mcg, and only has about 6 calories. It’s also full of other valuable nutrients, such as calcium, potassium, folic acid and antioxidants, so you will enjoy tons of benefits to your health when you add celery to your diet. Spread some peanut butter or cream cheese onto celery for a nutritious, low-calories snack. Chop it up and add it to tuna fish, add it to soup, or mix it in with a casserole.
4. Sun Dried Tomatoes
A cup of sun dried tomatoes will give you nearly 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K; or about 23 mcg. There’s also a great source of other vitamins, including A and C, as well as lycopene, calcium and iron. You can add sun dried tomatoes to your diet in so many ways: use them as a sandwich topper; toss them into a salad; add them to a sauce or a pasta dish, or use them as a flavorful topping for pizza.
A cup of chopped cabbage dishes up more than 75 mcg of vitamin K, or 95 percent of the recommended daily intake. It’s also full of other valuable nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, fiber and potassium. This veggie has the power to combat high cholesterol, ease the effects of arthritis, treat stomach ulcers, and even resolve constipation. Chop up some cabbage and mix it into a salad, use it to make coleslaw, mix it into a stew, or steam it and serve it alongside your favorite main dish.
When you eat ½ cup of sliced okra, you’ll get nearly 35 mcg of vitamin K, which is nearly 45 percent of the recommended daily intake. This veggie is also a great source of other important nutrients, including vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and folic acid. You can steam okra and eat it alone, or you can mix it in with other ingredients; it’s a great accompaniment to tomatoes, rice, corn and even shrimp.
Offering up nearly 29 mcg of vitamin K in just one cup, you will get about 36 percent of the recommended daily intake when you add blackberries to your diet. Vitamin K isn’t all you’ll get when you eat blackberries; this fruit also contains vitamin C, vitamin K, copper and magnesium. These succulent, tasty berries are a tasty treat to enjoy as a snack any time of the day. You can also mix them in with yogurt, put them on top of a bowl of cereal or stir them into a smoothie.
There’s a reason why Popeye made sure that he ate spinach every day; it’s because this green, leafy veggie is loaded with valuable nutrients. It’s an awesome source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, and antioxidants. It’s also a great source of vitamin K. One cup of spinach will add about 145 mcg of vitamin K to your diet, which is about 181 percent of the recommended daily intake. It’s also low in calories; one cup has about 7 calories. Chop up raw spinach and add it to a salad, steam it and serve as a side dish, use it as a topping for pizza, or cook it into a pasta sauce.
9. Brussels Sprouts
This is another veggie that is packed with valuable nutrients. A cup of Brussels sprouts will add about 34 mcg to your diet, which is around 42 percent of the recommended daily intake. In addition to vitamin K, this veggie is a great source of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, iron and folate. You can eat Brussels sprouts steam or boiled and mix them with some Dijon dressing or butter for a healthy and tasty side dish, shred them up and put them in a salad, and they’re even surprisingly good on top of pizza.
Green veggies are known to be an excellent source of vitamin K, and broccoli is no exception. Serving up around 110 mcg of vitamin K in just ½ cup, you’ll get more than the recommended daily intake when you eat this veggie. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, zinc and calcium. Raw broccoli dipped in Ranch dressing is a tasty snack. Steamed broccoli tastes delicious on its own, or you can mix in some garlic to add a little flavor. Add it to a salad, put it on pizza… there are so many ways to add broccoli to your diet.