Vitamin K is an important nutrient necessary for the synthesis of various proteins that work as mediators in coagulation and anti-coagulation of blood. Vitamin K deficiency in an individual increases the risk of hemorrhage (bleeding). Another important function of the vitamin is activating a protein named osteocalcin, which is responsible for building and strengthening bones.
This vitamin is available in the form of diet supplements; however, it is usually not necessary to take these supplements as one can easily fulfill the vitamin K requirements of the body by eating foods rich in this vitamin. These foods also provide the body with other vitamins and minerals which help the vitamin K to function properly. Various leafy green vegetables are considered to be the best source for this vitamin while it is also found in different other vegetables, herbs and fruits.
List of Food Sources Rich in Vitamin K
Fifteen foods with high vitamin K contents are mentioned below:
This dark leafy green vegetable is one of the richest sources of this vitamin. One cup of well-cooked Kale has 1062.10 mcg Vitamin K. One should make sure to cook this vegetable properly to enjoy its great flavor and to obtain the optimum nutritious benefits. It is advisable to steam the kale for at least 5 minutes before consumption. Cutting the leaves into halves and slicing the stems in small pieces can ensure quick and proper cooking.
The bright green spinach leaves are counted among the healthiest and most popular leafy vegetables in the world. Spinach is another food with high vitamin K content. One cup of these boiled leaves has 888.48 mcg of this vitamin. It is recommended not to boil the leaves for more than 1 minute for minimizing the loss of flavor and nutrients.
This is a variety of cruciferous vegetable having the third-highest vitamin K content. Around 836.00 mcg of this vitamin is present in 1 cup of steamed collard greens. Like various other cruciferous vegetables, it is consumed after cooking properly. However, it is important not to overcook the greens; otherwise, they emit the pungent sulfur smell characteristic for all overcooked cruciferous vegetables.
4. Swiss Chard
Another nutritious green vegetable rich in various vitamins and minerals is Swiss chard. One cup of this cooked vegetable contains 572.77 mcg vitamin K. It is recommended to boil the Swiss chard before consumption to reduce the high concentration of oxalic acid in it. Slicing the leaves and stems before boiling them for 3 minutes allows even cooking.
Turnip greens are another variety of cruciferous vegetable with rich vitamin K content. One cup of cooked turnip greens has 529.34 mcg of this vitamin. This vegetable should be steamed for no more than 5 minutes to preserve its flavor and nutritious value as well as to avoid overcooking. It is commonly used for preparing various foods and for enhancing the taste of different dishes.
6. Mustard Greens
It is one of the most popular types of cruciferous vegetables with one cup of cooked mustard greens containing 419.30 mcg vitamin K. It is recommended to sauté this vegetable rather than steaming or boiling as it helps to prevent the leaves and stems from getting watery and soft. Sautéing also retains the flavor and nutritional value of the vegetable.
Brussels sprouts offer a wide range of health benefits with its high nutritional value. It can be consumed raw with one cup of the sprouts containing 155.76 mcg vitamin K. Steaming the Brussels sprouts significantly improves some of its health benefits. They should be steamed for no more than 5 minutes as overcooked Brussels sprouts lose their nutritious value and tend to emit an unpleasant sulfur smell.
Herbs are well-known for their various medicinal properties and high nutritional value. Parsley is one of the most popular herbs around the world with high nutritious value and many health benefits. Two tablespoons of this herb has 124.64 mcg vitamin K content. It is popularly used for enhancing the flavor and taste of different foods in various cuisines.
This healthy and tasty green leafy vegetable is often eaten raw in salads. It is another rich source of vitamin K with 2 cups of these leaves containing 96.35 mcg of this vitamin. Romaine lettuce is often used for garnishing various dishes and is added to sandwiches for enhancing their taste and nutritious value.
Broccoli is one of the most well-known and highly nutritious green vegetables available throughout the world. The vitamin K content in one cup raw broccoli is around 92.46 mcg. It is consumed after steaming properly for no longer than 5 minutes as overcooking broccoli destroys both its flavor and nutritional value.
This is a fleshy green vegetable rich in a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. One cup of raw asparagus has 55.74 mcg of vitamin K. This succulent and tender vegetable is often added to salads and omelets while they are also used for enhancing the taste of various pasta as well as chicken dishes.
Cabbage is another excellent source for numerous essential nutrients. The vitamin K content in 1 cup of raw cabbage is 53.20 mcg. The recommended process of cooking cabbage is sautéing it for a few minutes after slicing the vegetable into small slices. The more traditional methods of boiling and steaming used for cooking vegetables tend to ruin the taste and nutritious value of cabbage.
Basil is another nutritious herb which is consumed both in fresh and dried form. It is another good source of vitamin K with two teaspoonfuls of this herb containing 48.01 mcg of the vitamin. One of the most popular uses of basil is for making a type of sauce called pesto. This herb is widely used as a main ingredient for preparing different dishes in cuisines all over the world.
Thyme is an easily available herb with a strong aroma and many health benefits. Fresh and dried thyme is used in various bean, vegetable and egg dishes to add to their flavor. Two teaspoonfuls of this herb have 48.01 mcg vitamin K which makes it one of the most vitamin K-rich herbs. It is also added to various pasta dishes, soups and fish.
Leeks are varieties of allium vegetables having a unique combination of many sulfur-containing nutrients and flavonoids. These are also rich in vitamin K with 1 cup of raw leeks containing 41.83 mcg of this vitamin. Leeks are added to salads, omelets and vegetables while this vegetable can also be eaten after sautéing them with lemon juice and herbs.
Other Vitamin K Rich Foods
There are many other fruits, vegetable and spices that are high in this vitamin. Following is list of some more foods that have rich vitamin K contents:
|Black pepper||Cloves||Cayenne Pepper|
Nuts and Seeds
|Green beans||Green peas||Soybeans|
Foods like bread crumbs (dried, grated and seasoned), pie crust (cookie type) and miso (a paste made using fermented soybeans, rice malt or barley to be used in sauces and soups) are also counted among good vitamin K sources.