Foods high in vitamin K include green, leafy vegetables.

Vitamin K Dietary Sources and Daily Requirements

Good Dietary Sources of Vitamin K

There are many foods that are excellent dietary sources of Vitamin K. Several vegetables are particularly rich sources of vitamin K, and can provide more than your daily requirement in one serving. Many of the foods that are high in vitamin K are also some of the most healthy and nutrient-dense foods, in general.

Bacteria found in your intestines create small quantities of vitamin K, but not enough to meet nutritional needs. Make sure you are getting all of the important health benefits of vitamin K by eating a variety of the following foods that are rich in vitamin K:

Vegetables

  • Some of the best sources of vitamin K are green, leafy vegetables, which contribute about half of a person’s daily consumption of vitamin K, on average. Kale, collard greens, spinach, mustard greens, Swiss chard, and beet greens all provide your entire daily requirement in a single serving.
  • Other green, leafy vegetables that are high in vitamin K include turnip greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, and cabbage.
  • Some other vegetables that can increase your intake of vitamin K are asparagus, avocado, and pumpkin.

Fermented Foods

  • Many fermented foods are also rich in vitamin K due to the nutrient being created by bacteria during the process of fermentation. Fermented soy foods, like natto and miso, are very good sources.
  • Sauerkraut is another fermented food that contains significant amounts of vitamin K.
Fermented soy products are foods high in vitamin K.

Fermented soy foods, like natto and miso, are good sources of vitamin K.

Legumes and Nuts

  • Many legumes are good sources of vitamin K, including soybeans, edamame, green peas, chickpeas, and kidney beans.
  • Most nuts are low in vitamin K. However, pine nuts and cashews are the exceptions.

Meats

  • Meats generally contain less vitamin K than vegetables. However, liver contains a good amount. This includes cow, pork, duck, and chicken liver.
  • Veal and lamb also contain a modest amount.

Dairy

  • Dairy products contain lesser amounts of vitamin K, but consuming them can still contribute to your daily intake. This includes milk and cheese, as well as eggs.

Oils

  • Soybean oil is a good source of vitamin K.
  • Vegetable-based oils, such as olive, canola, and cottonseed oil also contain some vitamin K.

Fruit

  • Fruits are generally a secondary source of vitamin K. However, kiwi, figs, and prunes are all contain moderately-high quantities.
  • Blackberries and blueberries are good berry sources of vitamin K, along with being nutrient-dense, overall.
  • Other fruits that contain smaller amounts of vitamin K include: apples (with peel), cranberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, honeydew, peaches, and pears.

Herbs

  • Herbs are generally not significant sources of vitamins, in general. However, parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K.

Daily Requirement of Vitamin K

The Adequate Intake (AI) is a recommendation of the minimum amount of certain nutrients different people need each day. An AI is established when there isn’t sufficient scientific evidence to establish a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). For vitamin K, the AI is:

  • 2 micrograms per day for infants 0-6 months old.
  • 2.5 micrograms per day for infants 7-12 months old.
  • 30 micrograms per day for children 1-3 years old.
  • 55 micrograms per day children 4-8 years old.
  • 60 micrograms per day for children 9-13 years old.
  • 75 micrograms per day for males and females 14-18 years old.
  • 90 micrograms per day for females older than 18.
  • 120 micrograms per day for males older than 18.

During pregnancy, and while nursing, the AI of biotin for women stays at 90 micrograms per day.

Vitamin K deficiency has a low rate of occurrence in adults due to the fact that so many foods contain the nutrient, and our bodies produce some vitamin K. However, some health conditions and certain medications can disrupt the production and absorption of vitamin K, increasing the risk of deficiency. The prevalence of vitamin K deficiency is much higher in infants.

The Adequate Intake values are established by the National Academy of Sciences.

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Creative commons image credits: U.S. Department of Agriculture | 110303_CNPP_LSC_0070; Gleam | Natto mixed

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